Dual leadership contract ends for Beaverton, Hillsboro chambers
The tenure of the Beaverton Area Chamber of Commerce's recently hired president and chief executive officer has ended after two months.
In March, Deanna Palm, the longtime head of the Hillsboro Chamber of Commerce, assumed a dual leadership role of both the Hillsboro and Beaverton chambers under a shared contract. Palm began overseeing staff and operations at the Beaverton Chamber in addition to her role with the Hillsboro Chamber.
But as of this month, the chambers have "completed the term of the contract," according to a Tuesday, May 11, joint announcement by board chairs of the Beaverton and Hillsboro chambers, Keith Wright and Jayne Bond, respectively.
The Beaverton Chamber plans to name an interim head and launch a nationwide search to permanently fill the position of president and CEO, the announcement said.
Palm will resume her role as president and CEO of the Hillsboro Chamber full-time, the officials added.
"Both boards are appreciative to Deanna for her supportive work and engagement with staff, members and stakeholders," the announcement read.
When chamber officials created the novel dual leadership agreement, they said it would create new opportunities and elevate businesses in both cities — the two largest on Portland's Westside — during a difficult time for businesses due to the pandemic.
The Beaverton Chamber's longtime president and CEO, Lorraine Clarno, resigned last year to take a job in Montana. She had led the Beaverton Chamber since 2000. The resignation left the Beaverton Chamber searching for a new direction earlier this year, leading to the agreement with the Hillsboro Chamber.
"This was an exploratory process in term of 'would it work, does it provide greater support?'" Palm said in an interview. "Both organizations learned a lot through this process."
Palm added, "I think most definitely the biggest lesson is that it takes a lot to run one chamber organization — it takes even more to run two simultaneously. This was just a great opportunity to step in and assist an organization during a transition."
Especially during the pandemic, business owners need an support organization they can reliably go to for help, Palm said.
Palm also said she thinks resources and networking events that were available to members of both chambers benefited them during a continued challenging time.
Palm has led the Hillsboro Chamber since 2001. Prior to that role, she served as vice president at the former Portland Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce from 1984 to 2001.
Palm has also served as a board member for Portland Community College, where she was once a student. She was appointed to a seat in 2009 and elected to four-year terms in 2011 and 2015, serving for a time as board chair. She didn't seek re-election in 2019.
"We have found many new and innovative ways our two organizations can collaborate in the future," Wright and Bond said in Tuesday's joint statement. "We look forward to building this relationship. This is only the beginning of what will open up incredible opportunities in the future to join efforts to amplify the voice of businesses and enhance our value to membership at a regional level."
The Beaverton and Hillsboro chambers are Washington County's two largest chambers and business advocacy groups. They are among the largest business organizations in the state by both revenue and membership statistics.
"We remain steadfast in digging deep to help businesses back to growth and vitality," Wright and Bond said. "Now is the time; the voice of business has never been more needed, as we help guide our community's and our state's recovery. Now more than ever, we see a bright future for our business community."
Editor's note: This story has been updated with comments from Deanna Palm.
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