SAFFORD – The Graham County Chamber of Commerce would like to announce changes in the full-time staff. Micah Windsor, who has served as Executive Director of the Chamber since January, finished her tenure on Friday, April 26. During her time as Executive Director, Micah created a partnership with Local First Arizona and brought together community stakeholders to define three main objectives for the Chamber: Tourism, Community Engagement, and Institutional Relationships. She initiated work on the Chamber’s rebranding process, including building a new website and designing a new logo. Micah’s work at the Chamber will be felt for many years, as she has helped bring the Chamber into the digital age, and she was the catalyst of growth for this now 93 year old institution.
On April 17, the Chamber Board of Directors offered Assistant Director Vance Bryce the position of Interim Executive Director, which he accepted. Vance is a former Thatcher High School Student Body President, and he served on the Thatcher High School Site Council from 2006-2008. He attended Brigham Young University, where he studied American Studies and minored in English. From 2016 to 2018, Vance worked as a Congressional Aide to U.S. Representative Mike Thompson (CA-05) in Washington, DC. He brings experience in government relations, community leadership, and event planning to his new position as Interim Executive Director. “I love The Gila Valley, and I am excited to be in a position to help our small businesses and community organizations to be successful. I am grateful to outgoing Executive Director Micah Windsor for creating a culture of continuous improvement and open doors at the Chamber, and I am going to miss her very much. She hit the ground running, and we are going to just keep picking up speed.”
The Chamber of Commerce plans to effectively market our community’s signature tourist attractions, including Mount Graham, Aravaipa Canyon Wilderness, Gila Box Riparian National Conservation Area, and Hot Well Dunes, as well as revitalize Arizona’s Salsa Trail. We are currently looking for SalsaFest Planning Committee Members to help plan our annual festival, which takes place on September 27 and 28 this year. Additionally, the Chamber is surveying community members to create events that will attract visitors to the communities of both Thatcher and Pima, as well as rolling out a comprehensive community calendar with email updates for Chamber members and daily schedules on our Facebook page @GrahamChamber.
The Chamber also hired a new Executive Assistant, Brianna “Bri” DeRusha Morris, owner of Creative Flow Studios in downtown Safford. Her business has added a splash of color to the downtown strip and her community member massage clients and yoga students have been her “greatest support” along with her family. Bri is a Gila Valley Idol Winner and has been a community member of Graham County since 2003. Beginning her time here in Thatcher as a senior at Thatcher High School, she went on to create many long standing relationships with the faculty and staff there and following high school, moved up to Eastern Arizona College. “Getting my educational start at EAC was life changing. However, I felt the pull of the ocean and completed my trade school education in Massage Therapy at Remington College in Honolulu, Hawaii in 2006.” After traveling from Hawaii, to South Korea, and Bali, Indonesia to explore the world she returned to The Gila Valley in 2010 and returned to EAC to finish her Associates degree. Bri subsequently received her Bachelor’s Degree in Business and Marketing Management from Western Governors University. We are excited to have those strong skills along with her entrepreneurial spirit to incorporate into the culture of our beautiful community. “I am grateful to have this opportunity now to fulfill my civic duty for my community and I look forward to meeting even more friendly faces and working together at embellishing our already unique community.”
Board Chairman Laura Tolman said of the staff changes, “The Board of Directors extends their gratitude to Micah for the work she performed and the improvements she made to the Chamber’s partnerships, processes and branding during her tenure. I have had the opportunity to work with Vance in his role as Assistant Director, and am very pleased to bring him on board as Interim Executive Director. Vance and Bri are both energetic and hard-working with a palpable love of our community. I am excited to work with them to continue to bring about positive changes in how the Chamber can best serve our members and our community.”