Kelly Donaldson, 42, of Cullowhee, N.C., has been named the new assistant director of the Jackson County Chamber of Commerce and Visitor’s Center, effective immediately.
Donaldson’s addition is part of a restructuring plan by the Jackson County Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Center board of directors to plot a fresh new path for future growth in the area.
“Kelly will bring a new skill set and level of professionalism that our merchants, citizens and visitors will adore,” said Jackson County Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Center Executive Director Julie Spiro. “We’re excited about the potential for growth within our chamber and community. Kelly will provide an invigorating level of staff support, event planning, growth of commerce, and visitor and community service to the chamber.”
Donaldson served seven years as editor at the Crossroads Chronicle in Cashiers; and seven years as a sports editor in Gainesville, Ga., Morganton, N.C., and Brevard, N.C. He has experience in marketing, public relations, photography, fundraising and graphic design.
He is a 1995 graduate of Western Carolina University earning a B.A. in English, with a concentration in journalism and a minor in radio and TV broadcasting. He performed his internship in public relations and marketing.
Donaldson grew up in Canton, and graduated from Pisgah High School in 1990.
Active in the community, Donaldson has been a member of the board of directors for the Cashiers Area Chamber of Commerce, (2010-12); the Greater Cashiers Area Merchants Association (GCAMA) (2012-present); the Fishes and Loaves Food Pantry (2012- present); the Cashiers Preservation Foundation (2011-12); and several others including Relay for Life and Make-A-Wish.
Over the last few years, Donaldson has become deeply involved in event planning, such as co-directing the Cashiers Mountain Music Festival (2011-12); GCAMA events such as Groovin’ on the Green (2012-13), the Leaf Festival (2013), Blues, Brew and BBQ Festival (2013-14), and July 4 festivities for the last five years. In 2014, he helped co-organize the Sweet Grass Music Festival in Charleston, S.C.
Donaldson has also assisted the Jackson County Chamber of Commerce with events such as Concerts on the Creek and the 2014 Winter Concert featuring Mountain Faith and the Darren Nicholson Band.
“We, as a board, decided to make an aggressive and proactive move to increase our value and presence in the community,” said Chamber Board President Thom Brooks. “We are proud to have one of the best chamber executive directors in the state in Julie Spiro. Kelly will give her the assistance and support she needs to fully execute the goals of the chamber, our citizens and our visitors. This is a move to propel ourselves into the future with a level of stability and vision unlike anything we’ve planned before.”
Spiro has been the executive director of the Jackson County Chamber of Commerce since 1999. Spiro is a native of Jackson County, earning a B.S from Western Carolina University, with a concentration in communications and marketing.
Norma Clayton, Linda Worley, Vickie Fraizer, and Pat Newman will remain as parttime staff members for the chamber.
“I have known several chamber directors over the years, and I sincerely think Julie is among the finest I’ve encountered,” said Donaldson about the opportunity. “It’s going to be a privilege and a valuable learning experience to work alongside her. I think everyone involved in this endeavor is dedicated to bringing brighter days ahead for Jackson County. I’m excited and honored by this opportunity.”
For more information, call the chamber at (828)586-2155.