By David Leone
WAKE FOREST — Beginning next month, Mary Yount will take over as executive director of the Knightdale Chamber of Commerce.
Yount is currently the vice president of operations at the Wake Forest Area Chamber of Commerce, a position she has held for three years. For three years before that, she was director of member relations.
“Although we will miss Mary’s leadership and appreciate all she has done for the chamber, we know she will make the most of this exciting career opportunity,” said Marla Akridge, president of the Wake Forest chamber.
Yount replaces Jennifer Bryan, who is leaving for a new job after 18 years as Knightdale’s chamber director.
Yount was hired out of a field of 20 interviewees.
“It is with mixed emotions that I leave my position with the Wake Forest Area Chamber of Commerce,” Yount said in a release. “I have greatly enjoyed the opportunity to work with the leadership of the chamber and work in partnership with the community over the past six years. I am proud of the work accomplished and know the leadership has a strong plan in place to continue its work in growing the community,”
The east Wake town of Knightdale is about a quarter the size of Wake Forest — about 8,000 people.
The chamber consists of the executive director, one full-time worker and a part-time staffer who specializes in social media marketing.
The chamber membership is also smaller than in Wake Forest, about half the size. The town’s close proximity to Raleigh has benefitted it more commercially, however.
“They have a lot more retail that we lack,” Yount said. “We have a lot, but they have considerably more.”
Yount previously worked in the mortgage banking industry for 14 years and also worked in sales and retail management, qualities which she believes have helped her in her chamber roles.
One thing that won’t change Aug. 1 is Yount’s address. She, her husband Jerry and 16-year-old daughter Lora live in a rural Wake Forest home in Granville County. The location is convenient to Jerry’s job as a Durham police officer.
Yount said she let it be known she has no plans to move anytime soon.
“That was truly a deal-breaker,” she said.
One friendly face she’ll see in Knightdale is Tom Williams. The chairman of their board of directors served in that same role in Wake Forest in 2012.
“I’m ready for a new challenge,” Yount added.
Akridge said that she’s taking the opportunity to do some reshuffling of staff and would soon begin a search for Yount’s replacement.
She also concurred with Yount’s assessment of her ability to rise to the director position.
“She’s ready,” Akridge said.