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Barbara Lerner Announces Retirement from West Hartford Chamber of Commerce

Barbara Lerner at the Shake Shack ribbon cutting. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Barbara Lerner will be retiring at the end of the year.

Barbara Lerner at the Mayor’s State of the Town Address in January 2018. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

By Ronni Newton

Barbara Lerner publicly announced Tuesday that she will be retiring from her position as executive director of the West Hartford Chamber of Commerce as of Dec. 31, 2018.

“I have been incredibly happy in my careers,” Lerner said. “But it’s time. There are other things I’d like to do.”

Prior to becoming executive director of the West Hartford Chamber of Commerce, Lerner was marketing director at Blue Back Square. Before that, she owned the Honore Gallery, which was first located at what was then known as the Hartford Civic Center and in West Hartford Center. She was also formerly president of the West Hartford Center Business Association.

Lerner had informed the Board of Directors of her intent several months ago, but didn’t want to depart the Chamber at the same time as Morgan Hilyard, who left her role as the Chamber’s associate director in late August to become community manager for Spaces, the co-working facility that will be opening later this year in the former REI store in Blue Back Square.

The Board plans to hire a new executive director, and then have that person involved with hiring of the associate director, Lerner said. She will remain on board to help orient the new executive director, and help make introductions to the community. She said she’d even be willing to work part time after her official retirement, but is ready to give up the full-time role.

The executive director job will be posted this week, and the Board wants to get the word out about the position being open, said Lerner.

Her role at the Chamber is really more than a full-time job, Lerner said, with many early morning and late night events. She had initially applied for the associate director job, but then the former executive director left and she was hired for that role.

As for her next step, Lerner said she doesn’t have any specific plans. She said that her husband, Hank, will be cutting back on his practice, and the two would like to do more traveling.

“Having time to myself will be really nice, too,” said Lerner. “This is just the right time … I am looking forward to what comes next.”

West Hartford is a great community, Lerner said. She has lived in town for 33 years, and feels like she’s been an integral part of the community.

“I feel very fortunate to have had this opportunity, after having previous careers that I really loved.” The Chamber position was the perfect culmination for her, and the perfect combination of her business and marketing background, she said.

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