Sorensen will leave Chamber to manage Maurices in Pierre

Sorensen will leave Chamber to manage Maurices in Pierre by M. Jill Sundstrom After a year and a half of managing the Vermillion Area Chamber of Commerce, Bonnie Sorensen has accepted a management position with Maurices in Pierre. She will leave Vermillion Oct. 15.

�It�s hard to leave,� she said. �This has been so much fun. But before I came to the Chamber, I was with Maurices for 21 years. The opportunity to go back into retail management was something I couldn�t pass up.�

Sorensen, a Vermillion native, already has fond memories of her Chamber experience.

�One of the best experiences I had was the Disney parade,� she said. �I found out during my first week on the job that Vermillion would be a host city to the parade and with my experience in marketing and promotions, I knew that there were ways to make it a community event. It was ?baptism by fire,� but it was the best thing that happened to me because organizing events surrounding the parade gave me the opportunity to meet and work with business and community people.�

Though she is leaving Vermillion, Sorensen is the first to admit that she�s passionate about her home town.

�There are so many talented, smart people here,� Sorensen said. �And there is so much to look forward to in Vermillion � the new bridge, the Lewis and Clark bicentennial � Vermillion needs visionaries for the future. We have them here, but they just haven�t been tapped.�

Sorensen�s Chamber experience emphasized to her the importance of volunteers.

�The new commodity for people is time, and they don�t want to spend it foolishly,� she said. �But we have a board and committee members who are very dedicated volunteers. It�s with their help and generosity that things get done.�

During Sorensen�s tenure as Chamber manager, flower planting on Main Street successfully became a volunteer effort and new �Welcome to Vermillion� banners and Christmas decorations were purchased. Events included the first annual Spirit of Lewis and Clark Festival and the expansion of Vermillion�s Fourth of July celebration.

�All of this was the result of people stepping up to the bat here in Vermillion,� Sorensen said. �We owe it to ourselves to take advantage of opportunities and celebrate here. There is so much in our own back yard � Vermillion has so many crown jewels � that we don�t have to go elsewhere. We can do it here and we�ve shown that we can. Opportunities are what you make them and I was very fortunate to have a board of directors that allowed me the freedom to fly and do what had to be done.�

As Sorensen prepares for her move to Pierre, she has already contacted the capital city�s Chamber manager.

�I�ll still have my fingers in Chamber work,� she said.

As the Chamber board of directors researches options on how it will search for a new Chamber manager, Emma Drissen will take over as interim manager.

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