MANCHESTER, NH – After a statewide search that resulted in more than 70 applicants, the Greater Manchester Chamber Board of Directors has named Heather McGrail president and CEO. The unanimous vote occurred on May 2 and she will formally move from her current interim CEO role to the permanent role effective May 9. McGrail became interim president and CEO on January 31 while maintaining a dual role of continuing to serve in her previous capacity as vice president of membership and community partnerships.
“Heather has performed outstandingly in the interim role and has proactively moved the organization forward in many ways,” said Genella McDonald, chair of the Chamber’s Board of Directors. “Her quality of work, communications style and leadership skills have shined through the search process and we’re confident that she is ready to take this successful organization to the next level. The Chamber Board enthusiastically supported the search committee’s recommendation to name Heather to this important role.”
McGrail has been with the Greater Manchester Chamber for five years, successfully leading efforts to build and maintain a strong membership and high level of community engagement for New Hampshire’s largest chamber. She has nearly two decades of non-profit and corporate experience and a history of community activation. McGrail graduated from Brandeis University in 2000. A New Hampshire native with deep Manchester roots, she began her college studies at Saint Anselm College and now lives with her family in Bedford.
“I am thrilled to lead and grow the Greater Manchester Chamber. In building relationships with our members and partners, I have been continuously humbled and astonished by the talent, commitment and innovation of this community,” McGrail said. “With a core passion for collaboration, I am eager to forge new partnerships that will organically and effectively expand the Chamber’s impact. It is an honor to have been selected for this role to drive positive change for our local businesses, city, state and region. I will steward the Chamber’s mission with the fervor that this incredible community deserves.”
The search committee was composed of board members and diverse company representation from the Chamber’s membership. They began meeting in early February and were supported by an external search firm.
“I’ve been fortunate to work with Heather in a variety of roles over several years and have watched her demonstrate such strong leadership with the board, staff, membership and the community at large over the past several months,” said Matt Cookson, vice chair of the Chamber board. “The Chamber plays an integral role in the fabric of greater Manchester’s vibrant business committee and I am very excited about her taking on the CEO role for New Hampshire’s largest chamber and bringing her infectious energy to the position.”
The Chamber is in a very strong position to continue to build upon many initiatives that have been implemented over the past several years. These include expanding the Chamber’s economic development partnerships with both the city of Manchester and the state of New Hampshire allowing the organization to play a leading role in business expansion, attraction and retention efforts; serving in a lead role for the return of Manchester’s large Taco Tour event that just took place; growing the Chamber’s programming, engagement, membership, and overall revenue to help the organization achieve its strongest level of financial health in decades; and growing the Manchester Young Professionals Network, the workforce development program of the organization and the state’s largest young professionals network.