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Longtime Chamber Director Libby Gierach to Retire April 15

Longtime Hilliard Area of Commerce Chamber Director Libby Gierach, right, will retire April 15. Courtney Smyser, left, will take the reins.

Libby Gierach has served the Hilliard community in a variety of ways over the past 30-plus years, most notably as longtime president/CEO of the Hilliard Area Chamber of Commerce.

Now, she’s ready for her next assignment: retirement.

“It’s a three-legged stool that makes a community thrive: the Chamber, the City, and the school district,” said Gierach, who started her community service with three terms on the Hilliard City Schools Board of Education. “It’s been a great partnership.”

Gierach stepped down from her position April 15 and passed the reins to her daughter, Courtney “Corky” Smyser, who brings more than 20 years of association management experience and has quite literally grown up around business advocacy and relationship building.

“Everything is relationship-based. You want to do business with people you trust,” Gierach said.  “I always say we come from a place of ‘yes’ – if we don’t know the answer we will find it for them. It’s what she’s seen growing up.”

A native of northeast Ohio, Gierach moved to Hilliard with her family and quickly found leadership positions within elementary school PTOs. After being recruited to run for the school board, she began her career with the Chamber in 1993 as assistant executive director. In 2000, she assumed the position of president/CEO.

Reflecting on her career, success stories include developing the Leadership Hilliard program, creating signature events such as the Taste of Hilliard & Business Expo (soon to be Taste of the Town), hosting ribbon cuttings, and connecting developers with property owners.

During her tenure, business memberships grew from about 300 to more than 500.

Outside of the Chamber, she has served as the co-chair of the City’s Hilliard by Design Community Plan committee, and as a member of the Hilliard Sports Commission, Hilliard Education Foundation, and Recreation and Parks Comprehensive Plan committee.

“I’ve viewed myself as a community activist and strategic collaborator. I plug myself in wherever it makes sense,” Gierach said.

Hilliard City Manager Michelle Crandall called her “a great partner and driving force for our business community.”

“Libby has been a critical resource, coach, and friend of our businesses,” Crandall said.

In retirement, Gierach looks forward to more travel, family time in Hocking Hills, and finding another way to provide value to an organization or business.

“I’m not sitting at home watching TV – that’s not my forte,” Gierach said with a laugh. “It’ll be different, and, as Corky says, I’m going to be ‘voluntold’ to help at Chamber events.”

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