WOU in the news: Chamber director ready to jump in

MONMOUTH/INDEPENDENCE — Ryan Kingsella has a passion for helping his community in positive ways.

“There’s no cooler feeling than knowing that I’ve really helped a business succeed,” he said.

Kingsella, 28, started his job as director of the Monmouth Independence Chamber of Commerce and Visitor’s Center on Sunday, though the work didn’t really start until Tuesday.

“I can’t wait to meet all the business owners in town,” he said. “I already have relationships with a lot of them just working with Genesis Marketing.”

Genesis is a company Kingsella started while attending Western Oregon University.

A mix-up with his financial aid meant he had to find other ways to make ends meet.

Marketing has always come easy to Kingsella.

“I used to be the manager of marketing and leasing for a triple A apartment community in the South,” he said. “My dad has always been in advertising, so I kind of grew up in the industry. I think I knew the word ‘demographic’ before I was 12.”

Now, he hopes to take his passion for helping small business and expand his focus to the communities through the chamber.

“I think that’s why I fell in love with this town, because I know Rick at Rick’s Coffee, and I know Ray, my barber, and I love the personal connection that all these small businesses offer, so helping them succeed and grow — it’s going to be a lot of fun,” Kingsella said.

He said he loves the focus of the chamber and its board of directors: membership engagement and benefits.

“It’s the first time I’ve taken a project or worked for a company whose mission is truly to help,” Kingsella said. “Every company says that, but it’s a tag line on, ‘we need to make profit.’”

Many of the chamber programs that former director Jean Love put into place will remain, Kingsella said, but that’s not to say he doesn’t have some ideas.

Increasing membership and engagement, as well as tourism are top on his list.

“For me, the best way (to increase membership) is to go out and meet business owners and talk to them, hear their stories face-to-face and figure out what their needs are,” Kingsella said.

Kingsella has a degree from Western Oregon in early childhood education and sociology.

He comes from a military background, having served in the Air Force, and founded WOU’s Veteran’s Center, as well as started the Student Veterans of America chapter at WOU.

With his new job, he will pass management of his marketing company to his wife, Allison.

Published by Polk County Itemizer-Observer
By Emily Mentzer

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