WINTER HAVEN CHAMBER BOARD OF DIRECTORS ANNOUNCES DEPARTURE OF PRESIDENT & CEO KATIE WORTHINGTON DECKER
The Board of Directors of the Greater Winter Haven Chamber of Commerce announces the departure of their President and CEO, Katie Worthington Decker, effective January 14, 2022. The Board is supportive of Katie as she embarks on the next stage of her career as the Senior Vice President of the Lakeland Economic Development Council.
Katie engaged with the Chamber first as a volunteer in 2007 and during that time she served as the founding chairwoman of the Winter Haven Young Professionals Group, now Endeavor Winter Haven, Chair of the Winter Haven Chamber Foundation Inc. and an ex-officio member of the Board of Directors. After a national search, Katie was selected as the President and CEO of the Winter Haven Chamber in January 2014.
“Our organization has accomplished so much over the last eight years, as we have built our Chamber into one of the finest and healthiest in the State of Florida. Katie’s leadership and enthusiasm have been a key part of this, but our Chamber team and Board of Directors are equally passionate about our mission to advance commerce and community in Winter Haven. Our success as a Chamber is also a direct result of our members, and their dedication to reinvesting in this community,” said Board Chair Jennifer Fasking.
During her tenure as President and CEO, Katie has led collaborative initiatives with the Board, Chamber team and membership to foster long-term financial stability of the organization and its affiliate 501(c)(3) foundation. She has also strengthened the Chamber’s engagement in advocacy and public affairs to magnify the needs of the Winter Haven business community across the state. Both of these efforts contributed to the elevation of the Winter Haven Chamber from 4-Star to the highest level of a 5-Star Accredited Chamber by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in 2018. With the support of the Board of Directors and numerous donors, Katie managed a capital campaign to preserve, transform and modernize the Gene Leedy designed Chamber building, of which phase 1 and 2 were completed prior to the pandemic. During 2020, Katie was recognized across the county for her leadership of and communication to the business community to connect them to resources they needed during the most difficult period of the pandemic crisis. Through her leadership and the unwavering support of the Winter Haven business community, the Chamber organization has emerged from the pandemic in an extremely healthy position. Katie has been highly effective at fostering new partnerships and relationships for the Chamber across the State and Polk County region.
Katie shared the following, “It has been the greatest honor to serve this organization as both a volunteer and an employee. I was determined to get involved and be a small part of creating an even better Winter Haven, building upon the investments and dedication of so many in the community. The mentors and friends I’ve gained through this organization have provided invaluable support, guidance and opportunities as I have grown in this career.”
The Board of Directors will release details within the coming week on the process to find the next President and CEO of the Chamber.