Chamber director taking job with visitors bureau
Marlyn Kissner, the executive director of both the Carbon Chamber and Economic Development Corp. in Lehighton and the Pocono Chamber of Commerce in Stroudsburg, is moving on to a new position as vice president of membership and community relations at the Pocono Mountains Visitors Bureau.
Kissner announced her move on Monday to her friends and colleagues.
“There is a new chapter in my life with new beginnings and new experiences in a whole new industry,” she said in her letter. “We never really know when this will happen, I never imagined a move. However, the time is right for me and my team to take on new challenges.”
Kissner, who lives in Franklin Township with her husband, Magisterial District Judge William Kissner, said she has been blessed with all that she has learned at the chamber and the relationships she formed.
“I’ve made so many great friends and colleagues over the years,” she said.
“I’m very happy for Marlyn,” said her boss Tony Iannelli, the CEO and president of the Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce. “She has been a tremendous asset to the chamber.”
Kissner joined the Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce 12 years ago, worked hard, and took on more responsibilities over the years. Through it all, she has held to a standard of being a leader who serves those she works with and those who might need her help.
Iannelli said she is the perfect combination of tenacity and incredible kindness.
In her work, Kissner has worked closely with business owners and nonprofit organizations to connect people with grant opportunities, facilitate training and workshops, and promote new and established businesses.
Her work has also involved growing memberships in the chamber, creating networking opportunities, completing projects with the Lehigh Valley Workforce Investment Board on grant projects, facilitating the opening of a chamber office in Nazareth, and securing a partnership with the Whitehall Chamber of Commerce.
“She’s met and exceeded every goal she had set for herself,” Iannelli said.
Kissner’s first day on her new job will be March 1. In addition to Carbon and Monroe counties, she also will be working with businesses and nonprofit organizations in Pike and Wayne counties. The four counties are the footprint for the Pocono Region.
“It’s an exciting new chapter for me,” she said.
Kissner said she thinks the new position is a great opportunity for her. She looks forward to being involved in the promotion of the Poconos.
“I look forward to continuing to serve our community and trying to be a servant leader,” she said. “Being able to serve is exciting to me.”
Kissner said she loves living in Carbon County, and she loves all of the outdoor recreation opportunities in the area. She looks forward to promoting all that the region has to offer. She also looks forward to traveling up to Pike and Wayne counties to build relationships and partnerships with business owners and nonprofit organizations.
“We are thrilled to have her come on the team,” said Christopher Barrett, the president and CEO of the Pocono Mountains Visitors Bureau.
Barrett has worked with Kissner over the past few years in her role with the Pocono Chamber and was impressed by her genuine and positive personality.
“When you approach Marlyn, her first comment isn’t ‘I can’t help you with that.’ It’s ‘how can I help you,’?” he said.
Most recently, Kissner was instrumental in the Pocono Promise campaign to educate businesses on what they needed to do to safely operate during this pandemic. The promise included a pledge to follow those guidelines, which displayed in their businesses, let the customers know that they were promising to provide a safe environment for their patrons.
Barrett said he thinks Kissner’s experience and knowledge will help to take the visitors bureau to the next level.
“What she has been able to accomplish in Carbon County, we look forward to her accomplishing in the Pocono Region,” he said.
“I love helping people. I love serving, and I’ll always be grateful for the experience with the chamber,” Kissner said. “I’m not going far though. People can definitely still find me in the mountains.”