May Balsama will be missed as chamber’s executive director

May Balsama will soon be stepping down as executive director of the Souhegan Valley Chamber of Commerce, a post she has held for eight productive years. To say that she will be missed is an understatement.

She took the chamber, and particularly its annual Expo, to new heights. Now she will be the first to insist that she didn’t do it alone, that she had enormous help from chamber boards of directors and volunteers, and that is certainly true.

But even with great boards and great volunteers, it still takes that one person, that one leader, to get things moving and to keep them moving. After all, directors and volunteers are part-time help at best.

As the full-time face of the chamber, the majority of the tasks, the responsibilities, fell to Balsama.

She performed those tasks and met those responsibilities well.

She is right, though, about the importance of the board of directors and the volunteers because it is they who will help her successor succeed.

Whoever takes Balsama’s place will have much to learn and many people to meet. Even if the new director is local, and we assume that will be the board of directors’ aim, he or she still won’t have the contacts made and the good will built up by Balsama. That takes time and that is where the board and the volunteers will be of enormous help.

And Balsama, too, will be of great help to the new person. While she will be pursuing a new career in real estate, she is not the sort of abandon her former post. If her successor needs help and advice, Balsama will provide it.

And, in her new career, she will be a chamber member so will continue to help the organization grow and thrive.

Hers will not be easy shoes to fill and whoever takes her place will always be judged by the standards Balsama set. That’s the way of things when someone new comes in.

It won’t be easy but we know that the chamber board, members and volunteers will do everything they can to help.