Highlands Ranch chamber names president

LaRew to lead local business organization

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The Chamber of Commerce of Highlands Ranch has announced that Andrea LaRew will begin serving as its new president, effective Oct. 15.

LaRew has been involved with nonprofit organizations for 23 years, including a 2½-year period from 2010-2012 when she served as the director of marketing and programs at The West Chamber of Commerce in Jefferson County.

“Her reputation within the chamber community and nonprofit community is absolutely stellar,” said Highlands Ranch chamber chair-elect Dave Simonson. “She’s a very impressive person from top to bottom. She understands the commitment she is making and is not looking at the position as a job, but instead a career in which she can help the growth and development of the chamber.”

Selected from a pool of 20 applicants and out of three finalists, LaRew replaces LaRae Marsik, who resigned Aug. 31 after spending one year at the helm.

Marsik was responsible for helping grow membership by 21 percent, launching an online employment center, developing a mobile app, implementing the organization’s first business technology forum, and creating a business education team.

LaRew, who holds a degree in psychology from Metro State University, hopes to take that momentum and run with it and said that she intends to seek out new partnerships and strategic alliances for the chamber once she settles in.  

“A chamber needs to be dynamic and innovative, and new programming and new events are part of that,” she said. “I think initially what is more important, however, is for me to get to know the membership and the community and understand what their long-term needs are as well as how I can add value to being a member.

“I think this chamber is really primed for growth. It’s a community that has a lot of thriving businesses, and I think the membership and board are very committed and passionate about their community and the chamber.”

LaRew, who spent 17 years working with YMCAs in Kearney, Neb., Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and Denver, serving as either a senior program director or executive director at each, said that running a nonprofit as a business is crucial to obtaining success.

“I think that a lot of skills I’ve gained working in nonprofit are transferable from one place to the other, it’s just what you are delivering that may be a little different, especially with a membership nonprofit,” she said. “We exist because of the members and for the members. Being able to really connect with the membership is critical.

“I am thrilled for the opportunity. I think that small business, and business in general, is what drives the quality of life where we live and determines whether that community is successful.”

There will be an opportunity for the public to welcome LaRew to her new role from 3-7 p.m. Oct. 16 at the chamber office, 300 W. Plaza Dr., Suite 225, in Highlands Ranch. Attendees are asked to RSVP through the chamber’s www.meetup.com page.