CIRCLEVILLE — The Pickaway County Chamber of Commerce has named their new director.
Ivory Harlow will now lead the organization, which aims to “support, promote and advocate for area businesses.”
Harlow was organization director for the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation and previously worked as a program specialist for the Center for Cooperatives at Ohio State University’s College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.
She received her Bachelor’s degree from Strayer University, a Master’s degree from Ohio Christian University and an M.B.A. from the Ohio State University Fisher College of Business.
Harlow is a four-year United States Air Force Veteran and relocated to the area with her husband.
“Central Ohio is full of potential and opportunity,” Harlow said. “There are more than 4,000 firms in Pickaway County employing 24,800 people. Pickaway County has robust health care, retail and manufacturing industries. The county is positioned near Columbus with well-developed transportation and utility infrastructure systems to accommodate local businesses’ needs.”
Harlow said she plans to continue many of the things the chamber has historically done while adding “growth resources.”
“Historically, the chamber has provided members with local connections, networking opportunities, referral services and group-rating discounts on workers’ compensation and Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield Healthcare,” she said.
“We will continue all of these great opportunities in the future. In addition, chamber members can look forward to business start-up and growth resources, including quarterly education and training sessions. The first training session, DeviceReady, will take place Nov. 12. The DeviceReady program helps business owners and managers gain a degree of control with their owned, earned and paid online presence.
The chamber also plans to collaborate with PickawayWorks and Jobs and Family Services to deliver targeted programs for both employers looking to hire and employees seeking to advance their careers in Pickaway County businesses.”
Harlow and her husband previously operated a small agricultural business for seven years. She said her background in agriculture and lessons learned as a small business owner will help elevate Pickaway County’s agriculture industry that features over 300,000 acres of production.
“I learned that operating a small business is like juggling,” she said. “Business owners and managers try to juggle operations, management, IT, HR, finance, accounting, sales, marketing and communications. The truth is, the best jugglers can only manage five objects effectively; everything else falls to the ground. The same is true when operating a business. The key is knowing your strengths and weaknesses as a business leader, and seeking help before things fall to the ground.
The Pickaway County Chamber of Commerce helps members become master jugglers by providing access to people, tools and resources that support, promote and advocate for their organizations.”
Harlow is a certified business advisor through the Ohio Small Business Administration, and holds certificates in nonprofit board education and public and nonprofit leadership.
“Membership in the Pickaway County Chamber benefits all businesses of all sizes; whether you are a solopreneur or have five, 50 or 5,000 employees, we offer business development resources, education and training sessions, networking opportunities and increased visibility in our community,” Harlow said.
Harlow said Pickaway County is a special place to do business and as such, it provides great opportunities.
“The area has a rural charm and strong work ethic, yet all the comforts of being situated in a large metropolitan area,” Harlow said.
“Ease-of-transportation access, proximity to Ohio’s state capital, Columbus, reliable utilities and an ample supply of water in the Teays Valley Aquifer make Pickaway County Ohio a prime place to do business.”