Olivia Thompson, a junior education major (middle school math emphasis) at St. Catharine College, was recently named executive director of the Springfield-Washington County Chamber of Commerce. Thompson is also a recently inducted member of Alpha Chi, a national honor society, and a graduate of Washington County High School.
How did you find out about the position?
I actually started working here last summer through a program at Lincoln Trail and I fell in love with this job. Coincidentally, the executive director at that time was offered another job that fall and the board then offered me the position.
What piqued your interest in the job?
I loved everything this job stood for. The Chamber’s mission is to support our local businesses through events that allow newcomers to experience what Washington County has to offer. They have held many events such as a golf scramble, putt-putt on Main Street, the Harvest Festival, and the annual Awards ceremony, which will be coming up in January. All were great opportunities to advertise for each business and they were able to be involved with the community and the people who support these businesses. So really I feel like a part-time planner of events, which can be a lot of fun with the support of the community, which we have here in Washington County.
What has the job been like so far?
It has involved a lot of planning, networking and of course the office work. It has been a great opportunity for me because of the people I continue to meet and the new resources they have to offer to Washington County. Even being in the office so often I make sure to greet each person with a smile and hope to make their stay here welcome by giving them brochures and places to enjoy. As soon as I started I began planning and organizing one event and when that was concluded began working on another event. My goal is to keep Washington County in a constant spotlight through activities that bring a small community of people together for one common goal…showcasing Washington County.
This is an excellent opportunity for a student. How do you think it will add to the education you’re getting at St. Catharine College?
This opportunity I was given has taught me how important it is to be involved, which has helped me to become more active at St. Catharine through both my schoolwork and other organizations. It makes it slightly easier to speak your voice and work together with your peers when you have already done so in front of a board. With my major I have seen how central math is in everyone’s life. I know that one day I won’t only be teaching children to be smart in math but to grow up to become independent leaders and citizens in our community and because of this experience I now have resources to help my future students be involved in a small town community.
Anything that I missed that you want to add?
Because of the position I was given it has strengthened my ability to work with others from a small hometown group of individuals to rather larger offices and towns in an effort to link the two together to achieve one. Therefore, after my career as an executive director comes to an end, I will continue to be involved with our community and the Chamber whether it is through volunteer work or as a board member.
Founded in the Dominican tradition in 1931 and sponsored by the Dominican Sisters of Peace, St. Catharine College, a Catholic Dominican college inspired by its founders, welcomes all to the challenging pursuit of truth, preparing them to become critical thinkers, ethical leaders and engaged citizens.