In 2014, Sherry Taylor relocated to the Cincinnati region from Illinois, where she had served as Executive Director for the Carbondale Chamber of Commerce. After her move, she discovered that what was then known as the “Northeast Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce” was seeking new leadership. She was eager to get back into chamber work and soon became the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Mason Deerfield Chamber of Commerce.
“I saw the potential to rebuild the organization through the incredible people I met right out of the gates who were serving on the Board. That gave me much hope and energy for the opportunities ahead,” Sherry recalls.
Sherry had a great deal of work to do when she began working for the Chamber.
“I would summarize it as that we had no relationship with government entities, we had a sharply declining membership and we had financial difficulties,” Sherry elaborates.
With dedicated focus, she began a complete overhaul of the Chamber which included a sweeping rebrand, new website and increased connection to the community.
“A Chamber is successful when it convenes leaders and influencers to champion stronger communities,” Sherry explains, “Our members are a shining example of that.”
In addition to rebranding the organization as the Mason Deerfield Chamber, or MADE Chamber for short, Sherry helped implement a women’s leadership program and revitalized connections events. This includes the recent efforts to bring back Community Unity Days in partnership with local businesses. She also helped to create the MADE CDC, a nonprofit focused on making the region a better place.
“I believe one of my greatest gifts is having the ability to coordinate multi-disciplinary groups to focus on a common goal,” Sherry mentions in reference to bringing the Chamber, local government and businesses together while serving in her position.
Sherry helped successfully steer the Chamber through tumultuous events, including recently the COVID-19 pandemic. We spoke with Sherry about her lessons learned while leading MADE Chamber.
Be brave enough to struggle with something new. You owe it to yourself to be the best self-learner you can be.
Defining and managing the new office environment that works for us and our members has been a challenge. We have continually evolved, going from an organization that had some employees in the office up to 95% of the time, to an organization that was 100% remote. Now we are an organization that is providing workplace flexibility that meets employees where they are on this journey, coupled with meeting the needs of our members and our organization. We are challenging ourselves to continue to learn, evolve and get comfortable being uncomfortable.
Listen more, speak less. Aim to be the one in the room who says the least, but still says the most.
I have always appreciated and valued the quiet ones in the room. The ones who listen and wait to speak until all others have spoken. They tend to have a nugget of wisdom that grounds everyone in the room.
Never make assumptions, they are the termites of relationships.
Good communication can solve almost any problem in our work. When assumptions are made, good communication is taking a back seat to progress. It’s important to ask and clarify in order to be able to move forward.
Inspiration can come from the most unexpected places, even when there is friction.
My inspiration comes from the members who always do more.The business leaders who know it’s always about going above and beyond to support others.The virtuous cycle that comes from leaning in and showing up makes things better for everyone.
While it may seem like it in the moment, it’s never a good idea to eat the entire bag of Haribo gummy bears.
I have a lot of friends who bring me gummy bears for celebrations, but also in times of stress. They all know that eating the whole bag is the only way I go, but I probably shouldn’t.
Mason Deerfield Chamber
316 West Main Street, Mason
“A Chamber is successful when it convenes leaders and influencers to champion stronger communities.”