Shawn Conrad said she noticed quite a bit of parallels between her old job and her new job.

Shawn Conrad said she noticed quite a bit of parallels between her old job and her new job.

"As soon as I read the job requirements over, I said that's it," she said. "That's the perfect fit. I knew right away."

Conrad, 58, officially began as the new executive director of the Grove City Area Chamber of Commerce Sept. 30, filling the vacancy left by the previous director Bill Diehl, who retired earlier this year.

Previously, Conrad, a 13-year resident of Grove City, worked as director of Prison Fellowship Ministries covering Indiana and Kentucky but primarily Ohio.

In that job, Conrad said she worked with governors and other state officials, faith-based initiatives, social services, churches and other organizations, fostering relationships with and among numerous different groups to facilitate the programs of Prison Fellowship Ministries.

"My strengths rely on relationship building, personnel management and project management," she said.

Now, Conrad said she sees her job with the chamber as one that nurtures the chamber's relationships with the city, residents and businesses.

"All in an effort to create an environment that is conducive to business growing and developing," she said, "to continue the great work that's been done."

Allen Houk, president of the chamber of commerce's board of directors, said a search committee which included himself and three other board members received 75 applications for the position to consider.

In addition to incorporating input from chamber staff, Houk said the committee considered three important criteria during its search: the ability to work in a team environment, being able to work in a community minded environment and the ability to be the face of the chamber.

"Shawn exhibited qualities in all three of those categories," Houk said. "We expect our executive director not to sit in the office. We expect them to get out in the community and meet with members and more importantly, nonmembers."

Conrad is married to Robert, who is a sales manager for a manufacturer in Lebanon and a pastor.

She was originally from San Diego, and he was from just outside New York. Conrad's family ended up moving to New Jersey her junior year of high school.

"I was working as a bank teller, and Rob kept coming through to cash his checks," she said. "Thirty-six years later, here we are."

They have two grown children, Robbie and Jill, and three granddaughters.