New Berlin Chamber Leader Named; Decatur Grad Assumes Director Post

New Berlin

BERLIN — New Berlin Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Joya Canfield is a Worcester County local who hopes to guide the chamber to stronger relationships with the town and the merchants.
“It’s great to be able to connect with Berlin like I was able to connect with Ocean Pines growing up,” said Canfield.
While the chamber has a popular reputation with town businesses, stability in the director position has been a struggle of late. Canfield plans on stemming that and giving the chamber some needed stability.
“So bringing a director from the chamber back into it, it can really be funneled through one person who is dealing with the board members, and making the decisions or the one person who is going to the town,” Canfield said.
The chamber has had a lot of success in the past, which Canfield hopes to build upon. The recent shuffling of leadership has tapped the brakes a little and slowed momentum, but not to the point where it’s a problem, she added.
“Looking forward I would just like to see the chamber grow. It’s been a little stagnant,” said Canfield. “It’s had its ups and downs and I’d like to get it back to the place where it once was and then surpass that.”
Work will start from the ground up, with Canfield committed to having a personal interaction with members and potential members. With the support of Mike Day, Berlin’s director of Economic and Community Development, and Megan Houston, the town’s new Main Street Coordinator, Canfield has been introducing herself around town in an attempt to give everyone involved with the chamber a face to put with the name and title.
“With this position I love that I can get out in the community, just going out and meeting the different business owners and going around introducing myself,” she said.
It’s time consuming but much more effective than sending out a mass email. In her month so far on the job, Canfield has covered about half of downtown. Once all of that area is taken care of, Canfield will expand her rounds to include the outlying businesses that aren’t always included when people picture Berlin.
“I think that people do have the misconception that to be either a member of the chamber or even the Main Street Program … you have to be on Main Street,” she said. “You don’t.”
Canfield is coming into the position without any prior experience in a chamber leadership position but with a healthy amount of time spent in related fields.
“It’s not my major. I don’t know if there is a chamber major,” she said. “But I’ve always organized, coordinated, drawn people together, taken leadership roles and I’ve been very outgoing, just wanting to see people communicate. And, from growing up here, I want to see this town succeed,” she said.
Canfield has worked for the Ocean Pines Association, on the Ocean City Beach Patrol, including time spent as a coordinator for the junior Beach Patrol, and as an ambassador for her college for four years.
Coinciding with the drive to increase membership and chamber involvement with the town, Canfield said that she is also looking forward to the planned renovation of the Berlin Visitor’s Center.
“We want to get this building open and have a flow of people in here and really represent the town at its best as a Visitor’s Center as a Chamber of Commerce,” she said.
Renovations are expected to begin shortly after the New Year and will include more space for town merchandize and local artwork.

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