MARYVILLE, Mo. — Amy Gessert has officially stepped into her duties as the Greater Maryville Chamber of Commerce executive director as of Wednesday, Sept. 1, and looks forward to utilizing her experience to help community businesses.
Before starting the position, Gessert told The Forum about her fondness for the Maryville community and her experience in economic development.
Gessert moved to Maryville almost 20 years ago to attend Northwest Missouri State University. Because she came to Maryville at such a formative age, Gessert said she practically grew up in the town.
During her time in Maryville, the 2007 Northwest alumna has developed a multitude of connections and gained valuable experience.
Gessert served as assistant director of the Association of Group Homes and Nodaway County Services, prior to becoming the chamber’s executive director.
The AGH and NCS website stated that as assistant director, Gessert sought out funding opportunities and oversaw all divisions of the organization. Gessert said her work involved assisting group homes and individuals with developmental disabilities.
Prior to becoming the assistant director, Gessert worked as the AGH and NCS Director of Development. She managed the organization’s personal assistance program, aided the opening of independent supported living homes, and more. Gessert noted the director of development position required business knowledge and the use of public relations and networking, adding that this work taught her how to connect individuals with the right resources.
The AGS and NCS website noted, during the first year of the pandemic, Gessert constantly adapted to COVID-19 protocol. Those who are supported by and those who work for AGH and NCS were some of the first Nodaway County residents to receive COVID-19 vaccinations, due to Gessert’s efforts.
Her involvement in the community goes beyond her career duties. She volunteers on the area’s Mental Health Resources Implementation Committee and is a member of a statewide board of directors supporting employment for people with disabilities.
“When (the executive director position) came open, it seemed like a good way to help the community in a different way than I have,” Gessert said.
Gessert mentioned she hopes to build upon the work of Lily White, former chamber executive director. She acknowledged the success of White hosting Facebook Live events to highlight local businesses.
“The chamber is a mechanism to bring people together,” Gessert said, adding that she believes the chamber can create a sense of belonging that helps everyone succeed.
Along with her desire to serve the community, Gessert possesses essential business knowledge. As a longtime resident, Gessert is familiar with Maryville businesses.
She has worked with Nodaway County Economic Development to host job fairs, which have helped her see business needs. She added that the past 18 months have been especially difficult for businesses because of labor shortages and high demands.
Because she and her husband own Sears in Maryville, Gessert knows firsthand the struggles of being a business owner. As executive director, she hopes to use this knowledge, along with her experience in economic development to ensure there are resources to help businesses thrive.
“I love this community … I love the idea for this being a vibrant community for (my son) to grow up in,” Gessert said.