After more than four years leading the Kilgore Chamber of Commerce, President Cindy Morris submitted her resignation earlier this month – effective Feb. 15, she'll be taking on a similar position in Oklahoma.
It's a change that, in particular, brings the veteran chamber executive closer to her family. In her remaining weeks, she'll continue working on ongoing projects as the local business development kicks-off its search for a new chief.
“I have thoroughly enjoyed my tenure in Kilgore,” Morris said in a press release Tuesday morning. “It has been an honor to work with our board of directors and chamber members to create an effective business organization.
“However, I am very homesick and I am missing out on my grandchildren’s escapades. My family is my life and without them I am just not complete. It continues to get harder to be so far away from them. I need to go closer to home and be a part of their lives.”
Morris has accepted the top post at the Tahlequah Oklahoma Chamber of Commerce, about 57 miles from her children.
Kilgore Chamber of Commerce Board Chairman James Murphy praised Morris' dedication.
“It is that sense of family that attracted Cindy to assimilate to the City of Kilgore and its citizens so quickly and why her Kilgore family is so sad to see her leave,” he said. “Cindy knew the challenges she faced when she took over at the Kilgore Chamber and did not waver, but instead hit the ground running.”
Morris took the reins at the chamber in October 2013, focused on bolstering the organization's role in Kilgore's business community.
In particular, Morris put energy toward enhancing the group's financial stability, advancing the local business community and being an advocate in government while strengthening the chamber and its visitors bureau. Other goals included expanding tourism activities, bolstering communication, adding more benefits for chamber members and ensuring transparency within the organization.
“Change is never easy,” Murphy said, “but she brought many years of experience to Kilgore and the Chamber which legitimized and prepared the organization to move forward.
“We wish Cindy the best as she moves on to her next chapter with hope her next endeavor is everything she envisions.”
The organization's board will meet soon to further develop plans for its executive search committee (headed by Murphy) and for operating the chamber in the interim.
“It has been a privilege working with so many dedicated business people who care deeply about the community and the Chamber organization. When I arrived in Kilgore in 2013, a commitment was made by board members and staff to grow this Chamber and operate as a stronger business organization,” Morris said. Working together, she added, they've succeeded: “I have made lifetime friendships here and have enjoyed being a part of Kilgore. My hope for Kilgore is for everyone to continue to work as partners and make greater things happen.”