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Posted on: July 20, 2023

Kim Effler Named July Citizen of the Month


During the July Marion City Council Meeting, Council Member Ann Harkey named McDowell Chamber of Commerce President/CEO Kim Effler July's Citizen of the Month.

Mayor Little thanked those present for taking part in such a special ceremony. He stated that the Citizen of the Month recognition had been around for more than 25 years. 

Mayor Little then stated that he was honored to honor Chamber President/CEO Kim Effler for her service to the community. He stated that Ms. Effler had given the Chamber a new zest. 

Council Member Ann Harkey thanked Mayor Little, City Council Members, the family of Ms. Kimberely Michelle Effler and invited guests for being present to honor Ms. Effler. 

Ms. Harkey stated that Ms. Effler was the definition of what a Chamber President/CEO should be. She stated that Ms. Effler had led the business community and enhanced businesses throughout the City. 

Ms. Harkey stated that Jason McDougald, who serves on the Chamber’s Board of Directors had stated that “Since meeting Kim, I have been impressed with her vision and willingness to do things differently, embrace change and work at all hours to create a brighter business and economic future for McDowell County.  Kim has always been willing to explore, learn and push the Chamber and the county to realize its full potential in a new economic environment.  We are lucky to have her on Team McDowell.”

Ms. Harkey stated that Member Marketing Coordinator Emma Mathews had agreed with Mr. McDougald and said “Kim has a love and passion for McDowell County that goes beyond the job she has. Kim exudes kindness in everything she does and she is incredibly supportive.”

Ms. Harkey stated that Kim was exactly where she was supposed to be. She stated that Dee Koegel, Retail Manager for the Visitor Center recalled, “From the minute I was introduced to our new Office Manager, Kim Effler, I knew we had someone special.  Even though the previous team was great, Kim brought a whole new dynamic into the Chamber office. Having been with the Chamber for many years and enjoying the comradeship of the staff and volunteers, I could sense a whole new direction.  Kim advanced quickly and when Steve announced his leaving and Kim was elected as new Executive Director, I was thrilled.  She has had the foresight to bring the County into a whole new direction and her leadership is outstanding.  I see only good things coming from Kim’s direction and insight into what makes McDowell County a great place to live and the business community can only thrive with her dedication to make McDowell County better than ever.”

Ms. Harkey then shared how Ms. Effler came to arrive in McDowell. She stated that Ms. Effler was born and raised in West Virginia but had the privilege of living in Ohio, Texas, Pennsylvania, Arizona and North Carolina.  

Ms. Harkey stated that by experiencing life in other places, Ms. Effler had gained a worldly view.  She stated that Ms. Effler and her dad were adventurers and this adventurous spirit had led her to where she is today. 

Ms. Harkey stated that Ms. Effler and her father had recently traveled to Greece and Egypt.  She stated that one day as the two were climbing pyramids, the temperature was 114 degrees.  

Ms. Harkey stated that Ms. Effler said, “I am done!”  She stated that Kim’s Dad replied, “Nope, we are doing this.  We are a team!” She stated that Ms. Effler shared that she had realized then that her dad wanted her to finish strong.

Ms. Harkey said Ms. Effler was grateful for all the experiences, her love for people and wanting to serve.  She stated that Kim spoke of her mom as the kindest person who has the ability to socialize and connect with people.  

Ms. Harkey stated that Kim shared that “we were her (my mom’s) life and she was the glue that held us all together.”  “I grew up valuing the sacrifice that it took both my mom and dad for me to get where I am today.” 

Ms. Harkey stated that Jeannie Conner, who serves on the Chamber’s Board of Directors said, “Kim is selfless in her job duties.  She operates with a high level of professionalization under all circumstances.”

Ms. Harkey stated that Ms. Effler had worked in banking for ten years that took her from West Virginia and Ohio to North Carolina.  

Ms. Harkey stated that Ms. Effler realized very quickly what she was charged with.  She stated that Ms. Effler knew she needed to know her businesses, but more importantly the family behind the businesses.  

Ms. Harkey stated that Ms. Effler explained, “Not just knowing McDowell Local, but having a friendship with Laura Matthews.  People make the business, thus make our community. Small business is the big layer in any community.  That deserves a strong Chamber and that is my job every day!”  

Ms. Harkey stated that Ms. Effler did not take that duty lightly. “It’s an honor and my passion fuels it.  My DNA requires that I serve the community.  I have always had to be a part of something else,” Kim explains. 

Ms. Harkey stated that Danielle Stilwell, Vice President McDowell Chamber Board of Directors said, “Kim is well deserving of the recognition for her dedicated service and vision for impactful contributions to McDowell County communities.   Every community needs champions.   Kim is a community champion for McDowell County.  Kim is solution minded and understands the critical importance of collaboration with area leaders for the sustainable growth for the future of McDowell County.   Kim is widely respected in the Chamber community and works tirelessly to promote McDowell County.”

Ms. Harkey then stated that Ms. Effler was not only dedicated to her community, but to her children. “My children Lexie and Jack are my why,” states Kim.  “At the end of the day, if I have left this community better for my children, that’s the definition of success for me. Lexie has started to become involved in the community and is learning what a vibrant community we all share. It is my job to make the community feel special.  I am honored every morning to be in this community, the good, the bad and the ugly.”

Ms. Harkey stated that she had Googled the term Chamber Director and the following words completely described Ms. Effler: confidence, unwavering, steady, commitment, loyal, leading, enterprising, connection, unshakeable, strong, trustfulness, truehearted, companionship. 

Ms. Harkey then congratulated Ms. Effler for being named Citizen of the Month. 

City Manager Bob Boyette stated that Ms. Effler was an excellent choice for Citizen of the Month. He stated that he appreciated her contribution to the small business community. 

Mayor Pro Tem Ayers said that Ms. Harkey had made a great choice for Citizen of the Month. He stated that Ms. Effler had a serving heart. 

Council Member Billy Martin stated that Ms. Effler was a quality person who had moved the Chamber forward at warp speed. He stated that she was an excellent choice for citizen of the month. 

Council Member Ramsey stated that he was proud to know Ms. Effler. He stated that she gave 110% in her role and that could be seen every day.

Mayor Little then opened up comments to the public. 

Juanita Doggett stated that Ms. Effler was tenacious and could do anything she put her mind to.

Centro Unido Latino-Americano (CULA) Executive Director Margarita Ramirez stated that Kim was a true leader, who was inspiring. She stated that Kim had gone above and beyond to support CULA’s efforts. 

Former Chamber President Walt Bagwell had stated that Kim was an excellent leader that he had the privilege of hiring and serving with.

West Marion Community Forum’s Director of Equity stated that Ms. Effler had always been an advocate for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. She stated that he appreciated Kim recognizing that it takes all different shades of people to make this community, county and city work.

Steve Bush said it was an honor to have been Ms. Effler’s mentor when he was Chamber Director. He stated that Ms. Effler was creating a legacy that would not be forgotten.

Ms. Effler thanked the audience for all their great and beautiful words. She stated that she had gratitude for the work she did. She stated that the community fueled her passion for the work that she did. 

Ms. Effler stated that she was grateful for the support of the community and her family. 

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