Stephanie Eggert, the new executive director of Rushford Peterson Valley Chamber of Commerce, followed the chamber’s motto years ago by “taking root” in the Rushford-Peterson area. She and her husband live near Hart; their boys attended Rushford-Peterson School.
Eggert has had 10 years of experience working for non-profit organizations. She worked at MNVA for three and a half years; when MNVA was realigned, she left and worked for the Girl Scouts for three years. During that time she learned a lot about technology and report writing.
In 2010 she earned a degree in Human Resources management; she then went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in 2013 in Communications and Technology. At her mom’s urging, Eggert went on to earn her masters getting an MBA in 2015. This background helped her as she applied and got hired for the Caledonia Library Director position which she has filled for the past four years.
Stephanie intends to remain as Caledonia Library Director as she moves into her new position with the RP Valley Chamber of Commerce. Her job at the library finds her working 28 to 35 hours a week with three days a week in person and the rest of her time virtually.
The Chamber position is also a part-time position. Both positions are extremely flexible. Eggert commented that a lot of the paperwork, grant work, and community involvement is similar.
Stephanie shared that former director Jen Hengel left some big shoes to fill, but she has been amazing to help as Eggert learns the ropes of her new job. She commented, “The chamber couldn’t have been more fortunate than to have Jen handing over the reins!” Jen has turned over her carefully maintained digital files, contacts, etc. to Eggert.
Eggert is most enthused about getting involved in the community and meeting the business owners she doesn’t yet know. She estimates that she already knows about 90% of the business people in town; she worked at one time as a clerk at Rushford Hardware and as a waitress at Mill Street.
A priority of Eggert’s will be to get the community to know the businesses better. She plans on creating focuses on different businesses to share on social media. She also wants to continue the school and business connections that Hengel started so successfully.
Stephanie would like to look at more grant opportunities for the community as well as stay on top of the tourism grant for which Hengel had applied.
Eggert sees her biggest challenge is to get her mind around all the different groups in the community as well as the budget, making deadlines for advertising, and tracking how the grant dollars are being used.
Since Eggert came on board, she has been contacted by a businessman from White Bear Lake who was interested in obtaining a business with a brick front. She plans on promoting the empty buildings in the community as much as possible.
Tawnonda Burks of Rochester Area Economic Development, Inc. (RAEDI) contacted Stephanie to offer to help and support minorities in starting and maintaining businesses.
When asked what she sees as strengths of the RP community, Eggert enthusiastically responded, “The beauty, the people, and the variety!” She noted that the area had a little bit of everything – a new school, a grocery store, hardware store, two banks, and restaurants. She pointed out the community collaboration and the friendly people.
Eggert plans on attending the meetings with other area Chamber of Commerce directors. She sees the relationship with the other directors as an alliance for each other, noting all the towns are very connected.
Stephanie has a mantra she’s been following since she started working at the Caledonia Library called the “Five Cs Model of Executive Presence.” The Five Cs are: confidence, craft, composure, character, and connection. Stephanie feels the connection is the most important part of the model.
To connect with Eggert, you can email her: email@example.com or call her office phone at (507) 864-7560 or call or text her cell phone at (507) 961-8479. Her office is located at 401 South Elm Street in the Depot; she will be out in the community often, but all voicemails will be answered in 24 hours or sooner.
In her final comments, Stephanie shared, “I like working for non-profits – it’s about what you can do for the community – not just revenue.”
Eggert enthused, “I’ll put on a bunny costume or sit in a dunk tank. I have totes full of costumes; I want to bring some fun stuff in. Kids are a big part of the community!”
Good luck in your new position, Stephanie! We’re looking forward to having you as the RP Valley Chamber of Commerce Executive Director!