Provo resident Kathleen Leavitt recently accepted the position of CEO and President of the Spanish Fork/Salem Area Chamber of Commerce.
The chamber officially opened the job in November 2021, but Leavitt didn’t apply for the job until early March. At the time, Leavitt was surprised that the position had not yet been filled. She said she believed it was meant for her. Leavitt’s official start date was April 18.
“It’s kind of a fun story,” Leavitt said. “I had never aspired to do this kind of work before. I have always been in the hospitality and customer service industry. I’ve been a bartender, trainer and manager before, which has taught me a lot about people and what they do and don’t like.
Three years ago she started working for Lion’s Pride Insurance in Spanish Fork. Her position was originally for customer service, but she had the opportunity to gradually evolve into a marketing and networking representative for the insurance company.
“I never really thought about what I wanted to do before because no one had really asked me until then,” Leavitt said. “I always did what I was told. Getting the freedom to do what I wanted for the first time in my life was amazing. I started moving into marketing and networking for the agency. It really started to flourish for the business, and I realized how much I loved it and how good I was at it.
Leavitt began to connect with the chamber as a participating member through the insurance company. It was at a chamber meeting she attended that she first heard chamber board members announce details about the CEO job.
“They were saying they really wanted the CEO to have a big presence in the community,” she said. “This person needed to be active in the community and meet new businesses. They were looking for someone who was very proactive in finding new ways to engage local businesses.
“As they were reading the job description, I heard a small voice in my heart saying, ‘You should apply for this job.’ At the time, I didn’t think about it because I loved my current job.
Two months after hearing about the chamber’s position, Leavitt was faced with a choice to make. Lion’s Insurance needed her to shift gears and return to her customer service role or find another opportunity elsewhere, according to Leavitt.
“It was what the company needed, but I sat there and was shocked,” she said. “I didn’t see it coming, but I knew I had a choice to make. The thought of going back to customer service freaked me out, and I knew in my soul that I didn’t want to do that, so I left. Later that evening, I wondered if the chamber had already found someone for the position of CEO.
Her short stay in this position allowed her to meet people and companies with whom she will work. The working days were filled with numerous meetings, workshops and community engagements.
Leavitt said she’s excited to make a difference in the community and has a few ideas for things she’d like to improve on the room. Its main objective will be to change the public’s perspective on being a member of a chamber.
“I want to make the chamber members more admirable,” she said. “I don’t want anyone to become a chamber member because they’re supposed to. I want to increase the value of the members so that they are something between the aspiration and the elite.
“I don’t just want to fill in a status quo. I want to launch legendary events and create opportunities that people talk about for years to come. I want to create new traditions and increase the value of the chamber for our local businesses.
Leavitt said she loves Spanish Fork because it’s a community that has struck the perfect balance between embracing change and honoring traditions. She looks forward to further integrating into the community.