DARIEN, Conn. -- Carol Wilder-Tamme is stepping down as president of the Darien Chamber of Commerce on May 15.
Wilder-Tamme, who has been serving the community in the position since 2004, recalled her first after-hours mixer that was attended by only 12 people in her retirement letter.
The chamber president plans on writing nutrition and wellness articles for her Nutrition Fresh Online business as well as doing part-time social media and SEO work.
Wilder-Tamme's full letter is below:
After 10 years as President of the Darien Chamber of Commerce, I plan to retire on May 15, 2014.
I’d like to give my sincere thanks to the many board members who have volunteered their time and energies to the Chamber, the Darien business community and the many smart, fun and interesting business professionals I’ve had the privilege to work with over the past decade.
I am stepping into the next chapter of my life to spend more time on writing nutrition and wellness articles for my Nutrition Fresh Online business, and also do some part-time work with Social Media and SEO.
From St Louis, to Phoenix, Jakarta, Singapore, back to Phoenix, Chicago then Darien….. I've been in debt, grown market share, been rejected, succeeded, satisfied customers, helped people, hired, fired, dreamed, learned, started and ended.
I’ve been a registered dietitian at a County Hospital where prisoners sometimes took doctors hostage, the first female Director of Food Service and Nutrition at a 1000-bed hospital, done marketing to international businesses, presented lectures in Sumatra (where one wakes up to the sound of screaming monkeys and later in the day can enjoy a run on an elephant trail), coached kids swim teams, sold magazines over the phone, taught nutrition classes in Spanish and grew an appreciation for travel and people of varied cultures.
The first week I joined the Chamber, I attend a Business After Hours with only 12 people in attendance. I did not fault them for such a tepid welcome, it just made me realize the volume of work that loomed ahead.
So much has changed in the Chamber and the business world since then. In 2004, I had one board member who still did not have email and I had to fax or phone him with reminders of upcoming meetings. When I needed to add or change a member on the website, I had to drive to the library and it would take 45 minutes to add a member because the website had no single database. Now I update the website from my desk, write three blogs, and reach out to businesses on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook.
Back in early 2000, people phoned or visited the office frequently and asked for brochures, maps, had questions concerning schools, churches and other re-location concerns. Now, the communication I receive when people are re-locating is an email via our website that says, “Thanks so much for all your links to schools, etc., could you please mail me a hard copy map of Darien?”
The Chamber made it through the tough times in late 2008, the continued slow economy and it has continued to evolve to keep pace with the way people do business now. The Chamber has an updated website, a mobile website app and has given rise to The Darien Chamber Charitable Foundation, Inc., the new 501c 3 that funds scholarships and the Darien Holiday lights.
In this world of instant communications, knowledge is universally available but rapidly obsolete —the ability to learn to adapt and connect with others is critical. Businesses still grow through people making connections with people, and the Chamber facilitates that in a major way. I wish the Darien Chamber of Commerce every continued success and stand ready to help make the leadership transition as smooth as possible
Retirement is both dusk and dawn … the end of one career and the beginning of a new one.