Julie Coleman, 33, a Penn Yan native, has been named as the Interim Director of the Yates County Chamber of Commerce. Her first day on the job at the Visitor’s Center was Monday, May 15, and to say she is enthusiastic about the chance to prove herself in her hometown is an understatement.

“Marketing and tourism are my passions,” she says, explaining how thrilled she was to be chosen among the three finalists from the 14 applicants. She says she was at a crossroads in her career path when several friends urged her to apply for the job.

She says that following in the footsteps of the late Michael Linehan will be a challenge. “He was here 24 years. He was the embodiment of the Yates County Chamber of Commerce. I want to continue with his vision and keep moving with new trends, looking to expand services.”

After Linehan’s sudden death in February, the chamber’s board of directors decided to hire an Interim Director to manage the organization while the board took a measured approach to determine the future of the organization. Coleman will be responsible for leading the day-to-day operations and helping set the course for the future.

Her immediate goals are to fully understand the organization and to create a stable platform over the next six months. She has her eyes on landing that job herself, saying, “I’m in it to win it!”

“We have an excellent team here, and the board is extraordinary,” she said, explaining how anxious she is to get to know members of the chamber, and develop business-to-business networks, “so everybody can reap the benefits.”

Coleman says her favorite part of the job will be  getting to meet new people, and she looks forward to getting out to different parts of the county to introduce herself to businesses and chamber members.

Being able to promote her hometown is helping her see the community in a new way. “When you live someplace, you sometimes take it for granted. But when you look at it through the eyes of a visitor you are reminded how special it is,” she says.

Coleman’s most recent position was as director of communications and marketing for the City of Geneva, a position she left in November. Before that she was a writer for the Finger Lakes Times and owned a website developing business.

A graduate of Penn Yan Academy, she earned her Bachelor’s Degree in history and adolescent education at Nazareth College in 2005 at age 19. For eight years she operated her own home schooling business before taking a position as an educator with the Council on Alcoholism. It wasn’t until she began working in marketing that she realized the passion she feels for tourism promotions.

Coleman welcomes Chamber and community members to contact her at the Visitor’s Center on State Route 14A south of Penn Yan.