After 14 years as the face of the Thomson-McDuffie County Chamber of Commerce, Carolyn Gilbert is preparing to step down from her position as executive director.
Few details were available about the decision or the transition.
Frankie Galbreath, a member of the chamber's board of directors, told The McDuffie Mirror that Mrs. Gilbert helped develop the chamber and that her influence will be missed.
"This chamber is what it is because of Carolyn," said Mrs. Galbreath, the owner of A Southern Thing on Railroad Street. "Carolyn built this chamber."
Mike Carrington, the executive director of Forward McDuffie, telephoned reporters on Jan. 12 with a news release. The statement said Mrs. Gilbert would no longer be employed with the Chamber of Commerce, as of Jan. 31.
"Carolyn has given 14 years of dedicated service to the chamber, but as part of its new direction, the Chamber will seek a successor executive director," the news release stated. "The Chamber Board asks its membership to be present at its 39th banquet on Tuesday, Jan. 25, to help thank Carolyn for her years of service to the community."
Mrs. Gilbert declined to discuss her departure with reporters.
In an e-mail sent to chamber officials Jan. 12, she said she will miss the friendships she made while with the chamber.
"I moved here not knowing a soul and have made some lifelong friends, because of my association with the Chamber," she wrote. "I have enjoyed working with everyone and wish all of you the best."
Thomson-McDuffie County Chamber of Commerce President Bobby Hildreth would not expand on the statement released by Mr. Carrington.
Mrs. Galbreath, one of 15 members of the board of directors, said, "Carolyn has really made my time on the chamber as well as my being on the board of directors very memorable."
She said she has been a member of the chamber since 2006 and is in her third year on the board of directors.
"I think it's unfortunate that they will be going forward without Carolyn, but they will move forward," she said.