BEAVER – When asked how she feels about the Beaver County Chamber of Commerce, Donna Lee Siple said the organization is “quite the catch.”
She said she has known about the good work and activities the chamber has done for years, as her husband, Sam Siple, was on the board of the directors of the chamber from 2000-06, including a stint as board president.
Siple said she got the chance to attend the annual events the chamber hosted, and see firsthand the impact the organization has on the community.
Therefore, when she saw the job opening for the president of the chamber, she said she wanted to apply to use her years of work experience and positivity for the role.
“I understood the opportunity to serve the community,” Siple said. “I thought it would be a nice opportunity to explore, and begin a new process.”
On June 1, Siple became the new president of the Chamber of Commerce.
More: New president hired for Beaver County Chamber of Commerce
She said it is an exciting time for the chamber, as it will celebrate its 50th anniversary in July.
“With COVID and the pandemic coming to a close, hopefully, we’re back to business, we’re back to meeting again in public, and be able to network and do some of the things/connections that is important to our members,” Siple said.
She said she hopes to follow in the great tradition of past chamber leaders.
“One of the first things I want to do is a listening tour,” Siple said.
Added Siple: “I want to go to members, talk with them, find out about what their needs are, find out the things that are on their hearts and minds as we come out of COVID, and listen to them, and apply what I’m learning to set the vision for the rest of the year. I’m looking forward to getting to that as soon as possible.”
Past work experience
Siple grew up in the North Hills, and graduated from Geneva College.
She said she loved the Beaver County area, and, when they were able to, she, her husband, and their three children moved back to the county, living in Chippewa Township, with her children attending the Blackhawk School District and the Lincoln Park Performing Arts Center.
After having to move due to her husband’s work, the pair moved back to Beaver County last September, currently residing in Beaver. She said she loves living in Beaver County.
“It’s a great place to be, and a great place to come home too,” Siple said.
She said for a period of time, they lived in Japan, where she learned to love the Japanese culture, language and customs.
When she returned to Pennsylvania, she wanted to put those experiences she had to good use.
Therefore, from February 2010 through January 2014, she was the executive director of the Japan-America Society of Pennsylvania, which is located in Pittsburgh.
When her husband’s work took them to Nashville, Tenn., she became a cultural consultant, from 2014-15, for the Japan-America Society of Tennessee, where she became its COO from August through December 2018, and its CEO from January 2019-April 2020.
“I had the pleasure of working with grassroots folks that were interested in Japan-USA relations,” Siple said. “Essentially, the organizations were membership organizations, and I had the privilege of helping the members meet each other, working, hold outings and events that were business-related, as well as just fun, golf outings, and some other things that are very similar to what the chamber does.”
She has also worked as an international destination services consultant for Dwellworks, Chamness, Global Orientation, Cultural Awareness International, Inc. and JER, in the Greater Nashville Area, the director of Christian education for Hiland Presbyterian Church in Pittsburgh, and the director of new business development for the Trans Pacific Bridge Inc., in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Nicholas Vercilla is a staff reporter for the Beaver County Times. He can be reached at [email protected].