There’s been a new face at the Executive Director’s desk of the Hernando Main Street Chamber of Commerce.
As of Monday, Sibonie Swatzyna began her new position in promoting the business community and the DeSoto County seat in general as the new Chamber Executive Director. It’s appropriate she started this week, since it was National Small Business Week.
Swatzyna arrives after former Executive Director Jessie Dement took on a new position with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital/ALSAC in Memphis.
For the past seven years, Swatzyna has been the Executive Director of the Home Builders Association of North Mississippi, a trade organization is support of area home builders.
But now, she gets to work with the entire business interests of Hernando.
“When this position opened, it became another opportunity to build and be challenged with different things to do,” Swatzyna said. “With the Home Builders, you’re just working with a distinct industry, but here you get to work with all kinds of businesses; retail, nonprofit, people just starting their businesses. It’s just exciting.”
Swatzyna and her husband Roger have rooted themselves in the Hernando community and in DeSoto County. Sibonie is a native of Horn Lake, Roger is an officer with the police department in Hernando and they have lived in Hernando since marriage.
They also a pet rabbit, which Sibonie calls “Thumpman,” who she counts as part of the family.
Prior to her start with the Home Builders Association, Swatzyna worked with the Southaven Chamber of Commerce for five years handling administrative duties there. But she believes her overall experience will help in her mission to now promote business in Hernando.
“We try to find ways to help businesses connect, because that’s really what a Chamber is all about, helping them grow their business, which in turn, helps us because we get new members,” Swatzyna said.
The advantage Hernando has, she feels, is that the city remains an attractive, growing place to live and do business, but holds onto its small, intimate atmosphere.
“I like that it is growing, but I like that it still has a small-town feel,” Swatzyna said. “We want people to move here so we can continue to grow and continue to be a family-oriented, pleasant place to live.”
Aven Brower remains as Member Services Coordinator. Brower handled the operations of the Chamber in the interim between Dement’s departure and the hiring of Swatzyna.
Together, they will do what for them is easy to do: support Hernando’s business concerns and tell the world what a great place the city is, or as Swatzyna said, “The main thing is to promote our members and promote our city.”
Bob Bakken is Managing Editor for the DeSoto Times-Tribune.