OXFORD — The Granville County Chamber of Commerce is ramping up efforts to find a new executive director following the retirement of Ginnie Currin in December.

Chamber President Cecilia Wheeler said that everything has been running smoothly since Currin’s departure but she is looking forward to finding a permanent replacement for the executive director position within the next few weeks.

“We currently have an interim director in Vanessa Jones,” Wheeler said. “She is holding that position while we conduct the search, which has just been reposted on Indeed and our chamber website and it will run through May 31.”

Wheeler knew that it would be difficult to replace someone who brought the experience and knowledge Currin possessed during her 23-year stint as the executive director, adding that everyone wanted to take their time in finding the ideal successor.

Another factor that has contributed to the delay in searching for an executive director has been the COVID-19 pandemic itself, as Wheeler said that whoever inherits the role will have to approach the job much differently than Currin because of the social changes.

Once the chamber properly reviews applications, a search committee consisting of board members will interview candidates for the job. Wheeler is confident that this process will allow the chamber to select the best person possible for the executive director position.

“We want someone that’s very energetic, business-oriented and has chamber experience,” Wheeler said. “They need to understand the value of membership and actively market the chamber and its member businesses.”

Wheeler affirmed that building and maintaining relationships within the chamber and in Granville County are the most important aspects of the executive director position, especially during a time when people need support due to financial struggles brought on by the pandemic.

“We’re a nonprofit and we are very dependent on membership and fundraising,” Wheeler said. “That’s how we are able to provide services for our members, which are very critical. We want to find someone committed to that.”

If everything goes according to plan, Wheeler said that the Chamber intends to announce the new executive director by July 1.