The Greenwood-Leflore County Chamber of Commerce's new executive vice president is no stranger to working for the chamber or getting involved in the community.

Lynda Richardson, former assistant director of the Greenville Chamber of Commerce and Main Street Greenville director, has been hired to replace retiring Executive Vice President Janice Moor.

Moor will not retire until the end of the year, but Richardson will start her new role Oct. 15, learning for a short time under the guidance of the longtime director.

Moor began volunteer work for the chamber in the mid-1970s. She was elected vice president of the chamber in 1985 and then served as president for the first time in 1987. Moor was hired as assistant director in April 1989. And in the spring of 1990, Moor was named executive vice president.

"If I had stayed on until April, I would have completed 15 years," Moor said.

Moor said many excellent candidates applied for the executive vice president's position. "I'm sure Mrs. Richardson will make a very competent director," she said.

Richardson moved to Greenwood with her husband, Michael, in 2000. The couple owns Greenwood Truck Center on U.S. 49 South.

Richardson is excited about the opportunity to work with the Greenwood chamber. She said working with the community is in her blood. "It's just a love of the job, because of the people and the community," Richardson said.

"And I loved what I did in Greenville. I was very upset with Michael, because he promised me I wouldn't have to move. But it has been a blessing, because Greenwood is so great, and it's so unique," she said.

Chamber President Steve Lary said the board has known for two years that Moor would be retiring at the end of 2003.

Lary said the chamber started last year, under the leadership of then-president Clyde Manning, thinking about the process of finding a replacement for Moor.

Originally, Lary said the chamber had hoped to get someone in to work with Moor during the entire last year before her departure, but finances wouldn't allow it.

The job was advertised in July, and the interviewing process started in August.

"We wanted the new director to be associated with the 300 Oaks Race, which is one of our larger events," Lary said.

During a six-week interview process, Lary said the search committee talked with five people and received more than 15 resumes for the position.

The five candidates were then narrowed down to an even shorter list, Lary said, "and obviously, Lynda was on the short list."

"She is very qualified. She worked almost three years as assistant director of the chamber in Greenville before she came, and she has been very active in the chamber and other civic endeavors since she's been here," he said.

"We are very pleased to have someone with Lynda's experience and abilities and willingness to work as hard as you have to work in this job," Lary said. "She knows. She's been there."

"If you haven't been in Janice's shoes, you really just don't know what she does," he said.

"And of course from a financial standpoint, it was just more acceptable for us to have somebody in there for the last quarter of the year," Lary said. "That was kind of our goal - to have somebody in there by Oct. 1 or the middle of September."

Although Richardson moved to the area only three years ago, she said she hardly feels like a newcomer. And that's because of her involvement with the chamber, she said.

"I joined the chamber, and Janice immediately got me involved," Richardson said.

"I never felt like I was an outsider in the community," she said. "When I came in, I felt completely welcomed, and the chamber was the driving force behind that."

She said the welcome feeling made the transition a lot easier for her and her family.

"It's a great group of people. They are wonderful, and I'm excited about it," she said.

Richardson said all chambers have the same basic accounting programs and structures, but each community is different and has different ways of planning things.

"The chamber is a very respected, integral part of the community," she said. "I wish everyone who is a member would get involved and see what their membership dues allow the chamber to do in the community and the way it has such a positive effect on the community."

Richardson said the program of work the chamber has established here is unique. "I think the activities that are in place now are really good and really well run," she said.

"The volunteers are excited about about it every year. There are even some people who have helped 10 or 15 years on one committee, and they still get excited about what's done," Richardson said.

Richardson grew up in Jonesville, La. She and her husband have one son, Dr. Jason Richardson, who is a medical research professor at Emory University in Atlanta. She is a member of Hill View Baptist Church, where she serves as youth coordinator.

In the community, Richardson serves on the Main Street Greenwood board. She is a member of the Greenwood Historic Preservation Commission and United Way board of directors. Richardson is president-elect of LeBonte Women's Club, and she has served on the Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation State Women's Board for 15 years, promoting agriculture and ag business, working with communities and volunteers in 11 Delta counties.

Previously, Richardson worked for a short time as public relations and communications director for Staplcotn. She worked for 11 years as vice president for World Class Athletic Surfaces Inc., where she handled public relations and marketing. She also worked as a substitute teacher and fund-raising chairman and did public relations and marketing for Greenville Christian School.

Prior to 1980, she worked as a pastor's secretary for First Baptist Church in Crestview, Fla. She was a substitute teacher for Crestview High School, and she was administrative assistant to the head of the Mathematics Department and dean of Pure & Applied Sciences at the University of Louisiana at Monroe.

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