SANBORN—One thing led to another when Sally Smith saw an advertisement for the open position of Sanborn Chamber of Commerce director more than four years ago while she worked at Associated Milk Producers Inc.
“My human resources director regularly attended monthly meetings, so after I saw it advertised a few times, I started asking her questions,” said Smith, who has served as chamber director since February 2017.
The 33-year-old Primghar plans to vacate the post after giving her final reports to the chamber in August.
As director, Smith was the go-to contact person for chamber businesses and board members when it came to chamber events, announcements and other developments. She was also in charge of updating the organization’s social media and website and organizing and promoting annual events such as the city’s Railroad Days celebration.
Before she became involved with the chamber, Smith said she had no idea of all the effort that’s needed to make the citywide celebration a success.
“Planning starts already in March, and by the end of May, early June, the entire weekend celebration has to be organized to get flyers printed and out to the public before the celebration, which is always the fourth weekend of July,” she said.
“A lot goes into it, and I am thankful for everyone who is part of making Railroad Days successful.”
The most recent iteration of Railroad Days took place July 19-25 and featured staple events and activities such as 5Ks, Fun Runs, inflatables, free swimming, a vendor fair, a community parade and the popular Commercial Chaos for Cure. The latter involves tractor and truck pulls, a light show, jake brake contest, poker run and fireworks, with all proceeds from the paid events going toward the June E. Nylen Cancer Center in Sioux City.
Smith’s fondest memories associated with being chamber director involve meeting new people in the O’Brien County community and being able to flex her creativity with event promotion.
“I’ve created many relationships that, if it hadn’t been for the chamber, who knows if those would have had a chance to form? That applies to chamber board members current and former, business owners and vendor fair participants,” she said.
“I loved that I could be creative when it came to creating flyers for our multiple yearly events too.”
Smith began working full time in the loan department at Sanborn Savings Bank about the same time she became chamber director in 2017. She noted her increasingly busy schedule in recent years — between work and attending her two children’s school activities — as the reasons she chose to step down from leading the chamber.
“My evening hours are getting sparse, which is the only time I have to put toward my chamber roles. There have been a lot of late nights or early mornings completing tasks. There have been a handful of times where I had to turn down a trip to the park or swimming pool because ‘Mom has chamber work to do,’” she said.
The Sanborn chamber board is accepting applications from people interested in becoming the next director for the organization. Smith encouraged the person who succeeds her in the role to keep an open mind and take tasks one step at a time.
Those wishing to apply for the open post should e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.