Lacey Chamber of Commerce hires Stephanie Hemphill to be new executive director

Sea Gal Stephanie Hemphill will cheer on Seattle Seahawks on Sunday before assuming new duties

rboone@theolympian.comJanuary 8, 2014 

Stephanie Hemphill has been hired as executive director of the Lacey Chamber of Commerce and will begin work Monday. She currently works as an office manager for the state Council of the Presidents, a group that represents the presidents of the state’s six public universities in the Legislature.

STEVE BLOOM/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

Stephanie Hemphill, a former Timberline High School Blazer and a current cheerleader for the Seattle Seahawks, has been hired to be the Lacey Chamber of Commerce’s new executive director.

Hemphill, 29, is no stranger to the chamber, however, having previously spent a year there as the organization’s event coordinator. She replaces Fred Wright, who left at the end of December after about eight months on the job.

Hemphill, who graduated from the University of Washington with a bachelor of arts degree in political science, was announced as the new executive director at the chamber’s Monday lunch forum. Next Monday will be her first day on the job. She currently works as an office manager for the state Council of the Presidents, a group that represents the six presidents of the state’s public universities and gives them a voice in the Legislature.

Hemphill said one of her first goals is to begin to network with other community leaders, such as Lacey City Manager Scott Spence, Olympia Lacey Tumwater Visitor and Convention Bureau executive director George Sharp, and Thurston County Chamber of Commerce President and Chief Executive David Schaffert.

“I have a lot to learn,” she said. “The more connections I make, the better it (the chamber) can thrive and grow.”

Hemphill’s roots run deep in Thurston County.

Not only is she a longtime resident, but her family also owns Dirty Dave’s Pizza Parlor. Her grandfather was “Dirty” Dave Wilson, who recently passed away.

Lacey Chamber board member and president-elect Madelin White praised the fact that she has close ties to the community.

“I’m absolutely ecstatic she’s coming back,” White said. “She has the abilities and drive to bring the chamber along and to make it bigger and better.”

Thirty-two people applied for the opening, White said. Eventually six were interviewed, including Hemphill.

Hemphill worked at the chamber largely for executive director Tony Salas, who replaced former executive director Jenny Thorsell in 2011 after Thorsell pleaded guilty to stealing more than $17,000 from the chamber over a three-year period.

Hemphill said she learned a lot about the job from Salas, but didn’t feel she was ready to apply for the executive director’s job after he left. After Wright announced his departure, board members reached out to her, encouraging her to apply, she said.

But before Hemphill takes the reins of the chamber on Monday, she will be busy as a member of the Sea Gals, now in her fourth season.

She is set to appear with Gov. Jay Inslee about 2 p.m. Wednesday to raise the Seahawks’ 12th man flag at the Capitol Campus flag circle.

Hemphill also will be on the field for Saturday’s main event between the Seahawks and New Orleans Saints at CenturyLink Field.

Rolf Boone: 360-754-5403 rboone@theolympian.com

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