BANDON - Longtime Bandon Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Julie Miller has announced her intention to resign, effective Feb. 28.
Miller, who has been involved with the Bandon Chamber for 20 years, 18 as its director, said in a letter to the Chamber President Angela Cardas and its Board of Directors that it has been a "privilege and honor" to serve as executive director for the past 18 years.
"It's not easy to leave a job I have loved for so many years and which has brought so much personal and professional growth and satisfaction and offered multiple opportunities to contribute to the growth and livability of this community," Miller wrote.
"Eighteen years for a Chamber director is a long time. The average term is five years," Miller said later in a phone call while on her way to Las Vegas to represent the Bandon Chamber, which was up for the Western United States award for website design. The Chamber's new website has already won two state awards.
"I'm really, really proud of what I've done, because I've built that organization," Miller said. "But I'm looking forward to another challenge."
Miller is not leaving the position for another job.
"I just feel the timing is right," she said. "I had a bucket list of things to get done so I could leave the position with a sound foundation and I've done that. We have a new website, a good strong board of directors and are sound financially. I wanted to get through the 2017 political season and the 2017 Cranberry Festival, which I think was our best. I did the things I wanted to do and now is a good time to leave."
She added that it will be difficult to transition, especially because she doesn't plan to leave Bandon. She and her husband David Miller Jr. have one daughter, who attends junior high here.
"I have to find something that is a challenge to me, but I've worked since I was 14 years old, so I'm also looking forward to some time off," she said. "I'm excited about it."
Before working for the Chamber, Miller owned a successful small business in Bandon. Her regional experience includes board membership with the Southern Oregon Visitors Association, active participation with Travel Oregon, and past chairwoman of the Oregon State Chamber of Commerce. She has a bachelor's degree in communication from Maryville University, St. Louis, and is a graduate of the Western Association of Chamber Executives Academy. In 2013, she was honored with the Oregon State Chamber, William R. Hass, Chamber Executive of the Year award.
When Miller began working at the Chamber, there were only a few volunteers at the Visitor Center. Now there are 23, and the Visitor Center is open seven days a week. Miller said it's the people she's met and worked with who have provided the most rewards.
"I love Bandon, I think it's one of the best destinations on the coast to promote," said said. "And the people I've worked with have for the most part been wonderful. We all have the same goals, to make Bandon a better place for its citizens and visitors. And in the end, this is still my community and I want the Chamber to thrive and the community to thrive."
Miller told the board of directors, headed by Chamber President Angela Cardas, that the Bandon Chamber has achieved great things in the past 20 years. Her letter appears below:
Dear President Cardas and the Bandon Chamber Board of Directors,
It has been a privilege, honor and pleasure to serve as the Executive Director of the Bandon Chamber of Commerce for the past 18 years but as with all good things, there comes a time to end; I hereby tender my resignation, effective February 28th, 2018. It is not easy to leave a job I have loved for so many years and which has brought so much personal and professional growth and satisfaction and offered multiple opportunities to contribute to the growth and livability of this community.
What we have accomplished over the last several years in Bandon has fundamentally improved the way businesses and visitors are served in our community and region. As is often the case, it’s the people who have made these experiences exceptional. Together we have broken through artificial barriers, abandoned territorialism and ignored ego to focus on the work that needs to be done. Not only has it been gratifying and enjoyable, most importantly it has resulted in better services for our business community and visitors.
In addition, we have also been a leader in the formation of a regional partnership that has resulted in raising the profile of our region in a way that has never been done before. We are blazing a path that will be used as a model for the rest of the state. This partnership has created the first Scenic Bikeway in the Southern part of Oregon, developed a Farm Trail, Outdoor recreation map and asset building mechanisms that will serve as a model for other rural Oregon comminutes. And recently two new tourism jobs have been created for the Southern Oregon Coast.
I’m proud of the achievements of the Bandon Chamber of Commerce. Working cooperatively with our dedicated Board of Directors, we have been able to elevate Bandon to a sought after and recognizable destination.
It has been a distinct privilege to serve the Board. I’m grateful for the trust and confidence you have had in my ability to smartly, competently and faithfully lead this organization. Thank you for the honor of serving as the Bandon Chamber of Commerce Executive Director.
Julie Miller, Executive Director, Bandon Chamber