CREEDE— The Creede Chamber of Commerce hired a new executive director, Kathleen Murphy, to take the reins in early November. Originally from the east coast, Murphy took a circuitous route through Denver to reach Creede.
Murphy grew up in Fairfax, Va. and studied philosophy in college. After graduation, she worked as a receptionist for a government enterprise. Although it was a temp agency position, a senior vice-president quickly recognized Murphy’s talents and hired her full-time. Within three months she covered HR department duties for a woman on maternity leave, and then she moved to the finance and accounting department.
By the end of six years, Murphy got a taste for every business function. But she wanted to come to the mountains and rivers of Colorado. She walked door-to-door making cold calls for a non-profit in Denver until the economy tanked in 2008. A VISTA Volunteer opportunity working with the Willow Creek Reclamation Committee ultimately drew Murphy to Creede.
Following her stint with VISTA, Murphy worked in food service and then managing vacation rental properties while learning more about economic activity in Creede, as well as the state’s marketing strategy. When she saw the executive director position posted in late October, Murphy said it looked like the intersection between her personal and professional lives, so she applied.
A decade after coming to Creede, Murphy is elated to take on the challenge.
“I’m excited about this position because it gives me an opportunity to utilize all the different skills that I’ve acquired and use them in one job. And I can continue to be a cheerleader for the community.
“I’m a big proponent of the Silver Thread Scenic Byway,” Murphy continued. “We have 26 scenic byways in the state, and we’re right on one of them. I’m really hoping to have collaborative marketing with the other visitor centers along the route — Gunnison, Lake City and South Fork.”
Murphy noted that at least five marketing entities from the towns and counties can collaborate to create materials highlighting the history, geology and entertainment opportunities. Imagine a road-based bingo game with animals and landmarks travelers are likely to see during the 120-mile drive on Highway 149 between 160 and 50.
Murphy seeks collaboration on all levels to foster economic growth in Mineral County and along the Silver Thread route. At the start of the semi-annual chamber of commerce membership meeting on Nov. 14, Murphy asked members to introduce themselves, say if they’re left- or right-handed, and describe what they like most about Creede. Seeking collaboration, the business owners shared the same passion they see in Murphy.
“My vision is to continue to promote Creede and bring people to the region,” Murphy said. “I’m also a data nerd, so my vision for myself is to hold myself accountable to the measurable matrices that are out there so we can have a better idea of why people are coming to Creede. If we know why they’re coming, we can continue to cater to that.”