Lehigh Acres and Fort Myers banking executive Cindy Dodd has taken over as the new chairman of the board of directors of the Greater Lehigh Acres Chamber of Commerce, according to an announcement this week by Chamber President Gary Bright. She replaces Joe Pearson of Get Fit With Joe on Lee Blvd.
Dodd is assistant vice president and manager of both the Lehigh Acres Reliance Bank at 2499 Lee Blvd. and another branch in Fort Myers. She has been in the banking business for 25 years.
Dodd was the vice chairman of the chamber board and with the resignation of Pearson, she will serve as chairman of the 15-member board until January when the chamber elects new officers and board of directors.
"I hope to be considered to remain as chairman," she said. "But the way we do it at the chamber is to elect those who serve," Dodd said.
Originally from St. Louis, she began her banking career there for Reliance Bank. She is a single mother with a 15-year-old son and they live in Lehigh.
"I chose to come to Lehigh because of the 'small town' feeling there is here," Dodd said. Her son is in the 10th grade.
Dodd has been active in the chamber here for five years and has been an officer on the board for most of that time. She has served on various committees including the Education, Ambassadors', and Special Events Committee. As a member of the Special Events committee, she will be helping to plan the chamber gala that will be held in January of 2013 where the new board and officers will be sworn in. She is also a member of the Fort Myers Chamber of Commerce, but is more active in Lehigh's chamber, she said.
Dodd said that in the remaining months that she is chairman of the board, it is her hope and plan to work with others to increase the number of members of the chamber. Currently, Dodd said there are 300 members and she would like to get the numbers back up to close to what they were before the Great Recession that began in 2008.
Dodd attends nearly every monthly chamber luncheon which is held in the big meeting room at the Microtel Inn & Suites on Business Way.
"I am very honored to be asked to be the chairman for the remaining months," she said.
Dodd opened the Lee Blvd. site of Reliance Bank, which is next to Wendy's restaurant six years ago, and at that time became a member of the chamber to give back to the community, she said.
Pearson, the former chairman of the board of directors said in his letter of resignation that he was leaving with regret as of Aug. 21.
Pearson cited his business responsibilities and challenge in committing the proper amount of time as chairman as his reasons to step down. He will continue to serve on the board as a director fulfilling his term which ends on December 31, said President and Chamber CEO Gary Bright.
"The board wishes to thank Joe for his leadership over the past year and a half. We will continue to welcome his input on chamber matters as he continues to serve on the board," Dodd said.
The Greater Lehigh Acres Chamber of Commerce Board is made up of 15 people representing member businesses that support the chamber and its mission.
"The 300 local and area businesses that are members help to create a successful business climate in the greater Lehigh Acres area, Bright said.
The Greater Lehigh Acres Chamber of Commerce is located at 25 Homestead Rd. in the Lehigh Towne Center on the corner of Alabama and Homestead roads. Many of its members serve on committees to benefit both the public and business community of Lehigh Acres.
Once a month on the last Tuesday, the chamber holds a luncheon that is open to members and their guests and others in the community. There is always a speaker who puts on a program of interest for the business leaders of Lehigh. And each month, a chamber business hosts an After Hours gathering with food and drinks as a social affair.
"The chamber does a lot of good things in Lehigh. I would love to see many more businesses now join our organization. I think it would be of benefit to them and the networking is one of the good reasons to come to our luncheons where we get to know one another," Dodd said.