Pataskala resident Jude Hampshire is no stranger to Reynoldsburg-area events, but she had to hit the ground running as the new executive director of the Reynoldsburg Area Chamber of Commerce.
The chamber's 2014 Community and Business Expo is coming up April 1, so Hampshire spent her first few weeks in office contacting and securing some of the 60 business vendors expected to be at the event.
"It helps that I have attended all the past business expo events and worked at them, also," she said. "We are hoping we can get a lot of people out to check out our local businesses."
The 2014 Community and Business Expo is scheduled from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 1, at Reynoldsburg High School Summit Campus, at the Performing Arts Center, 8579 Summit Road.
The Expo is free and is designed to bring community members and local business owners and representatives together for product demonstration and networking, Hampshire said.
"We hope by having the event at a larger venue this year, and at a school building, to attract a lot of people to come out and meet our businesses owners," she said.
Hampshire, 43, also is an adult Boy Scout leader, a member of the chamber and a parent volunteer with the Licking Heights High School Marching Band. She has been handling the 30-hour-per-week job with the Reynoldsburg chamber since the end of February.
She and her husband have three sons who are actively involved in the Boy Scouts, in Reynoldsburg and Pataskala. They attend church at St. Pius X Catholic Church in Reynoldsburg.
The family has lived in Pataskala for the past 15 years.
"I'm also a member of the Reynoldsburg-Pickerington Rotary Club and almost everything I do is in Reynoldsburg," Hampshire said. "I grocery shop and bank and go to church in Reynoldsburg.
"I have come to love this city and have a lot of friends and I know a lot of business owners here," she said.
Mary Hudson, a member of the chamber board of directors, called Hampshire, "a dark-haired Greta Stake."
Stake left Feb. 27 for New Orleans, after heading the chamber and working to beef up membership for two years.
"Jude was chosen from about eight resumes," Hudson said. "She is a fellow Rotarian and we have all worked with her before at various things. She has been involved with scouting for a long time and her three sons have been wonderful volunteers at some of our events."
Hudson said Hampshire's "forthright" personality and knowledge of the community were key points in her favor.
"Jude knows a lot of people and is very comfortable with cold-calling business owners and others," Hudson said. "She is also one of those people that can meet anyone and immediately make them comfortable. We are so excited to have her."
Hudson said the position includes a probationary period of six months, to allow both Hampshire and chamber members to see if her selection is a good fit.
Hampshire said she loves her new job.
"I love talking to anyone and everyone," she said. "I just started approaching businesses to see what we can do for them and I feel like our growth is unlimited right now.
"We can go just about anywhere to succeed as a chamber and I am loving this process," she said.