The Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce announced on Friday it had selected Rachel Smith as its new President & CEO, effective January 4, 2021.
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Smith currently serves as King County Deputy Executive and Chief of Staff, where she is responsible for external and internal policy coordination, directing the county’s strategic initiatives, and intergovernmental relations.
“I am thrilled to welcome Rachel as the next president and CEO of the Seattle Metro Chamber,” said Diana Birkett Rakow, Chair of the Chamber’s Board of Trustees, in a statement. “Rachel is a champion for our region and brings experience that will make the Chamber a stronger advocate for its members and the broader business community. I am delighted that she will join us in January and drive our mission to protect and grow jobs, enable economic opportunity and equity, and galvanize action on critical regional issues like education, housing, transportation, and infrastructure.”
Smith takes over the position from Congresswoman-elect Marilyn Strickland who recently won her congressional race to represent Washington’s 10th CD. Chamber Executive Vice President Markham McIntyre served as the interim CEO.
The Search Committee unanimously recommended Smith after an extended national search.
“Rachel impressed our Search Committee with her deep commitment to a truly regional approach to the Chamber’s work,” said Search Committee co-chair Solynn McCurdy, SVP, Social Impact for BECU and Executive Director, BECU Foundation. “Her demonstrated ability to manage and drive change in a complex organization and to leverage strong relationships throughout our region, as well as her personal integrity, made her our unanimous choice for the Chamber’s next CEO.”
“I am thrilled to be joining the Chamber team and am deeply appreciative of the trust the Board is placing in me to lead the organization through these unprecedented times,” said Smith. “The jobs, prosperity, and community solutions that our region’s employers bring are more important than ever as we focus on post-pandemic economic recovery. This is especially true of small businesses, who are the backbone of our region and the Chamber’s membership. I have greatly valued working with the business community for many years on issues like transportation, and more recently on our community-wide response to COVID, and I look forward to that continued partnership in this new role.”
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