Regions Southern Virginia

New leader takes the helm at Danville Pittsylvania chamber

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Alexis Ehrhardt previously was an executive director at
Averett University. Photo by Steven Mantilla

Alexis Ehrhardt began this year with a new title and a new career focus as CEO and president of the Danville Pittsylvani­a  County Chamber of Commerce.

Ehrhardt had worked with the chamber in her previous position as executive director of the Center for Community Engagement and Career Competitiveness at Averett University. 

Heading the chamber is an opportunity for her to “do similar work in terms of thinking about talent development at a regional scale,” she says.

Ehrhardt grew up in Rockville, Md. In 2000, she moved to Pittsylvania County where she initially worked as director of admissions at Chatham Hall, a private girls’ boarding school. “I moved here right out of college and fell in love with Chatham,” she says. Ehrhardt later worked for Danville Community College before moving to Averett.

Much of her work in higher education was focused on strategic planning and team recruitment. “I also worked with community engagement,” she says. “It helps that I know most of the stakeholders and because I’ve built relationships we can pick up where we left off.”

The chamber board began its search for a new CEO in September. “My final interview was just after Thanksgiving,” says Ehrhardt.

In her first year, she plans to get acquainted with the chamber’s 650 members and learn how “we can work across all aspects of our community to help them reach their goals … I want to let the membership drive the goals.”

She predicts that the chamber’s high priorities will include talent development and assistance to small businesses. “The talent development piece is crucial,” she says. “How can we support our schools so they can produce the graduates we need for our workforce?”

Ehrhardt wants to come up with a long-term approach for providing opportunities for young people. “It all goes back to education and talent,” she says. “We have great relationships with the superintendents in the school system. We want to find out what we can provide to their schools, starting with early childhood and continuing through workforce development.”

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