Reposted from Providence Business News Special Section:
Big Energy Boost Delivers Results
BY JAIME LOWE | Contributing Writer
ERIN DONOVAN-BOYLE’S BACKGROUND prepared her well to be executive director of the Newport County Chamber of Commerce.
The native Rhode Islander served as director of outreach for Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., vice president of the Providence consulting firm Mayforth Group LLC, and owned a business, Capital Resource Strategies, before taking over at the Chamber four years ago.
“Erin is a former lobbyist; she knows the Statehouse really well,” said Evan Smith, president and CEO of the tourism agency Discover Newport. “She knows how to get something accomplished with working with the private sector and public sector, and that’s a very notable talent. Some people are good on the public side, and some are good on the private side. But it takes a really talented person to be good on both sides – she’s multilingual.”
Since becoming director, DonovanBoyle has reorganized the Newport County Chamber – one of the state’s largest business-advocacy groups – restructuring staff duties while boosting salaries to align with industry standards.
She also has spearheaded a regional economic development division, launched in 2018. She and the Chamber serve as instrumental players in Innovate Newport, a collaborative effort among the city of Newport, the Newport County Development Council – the nonprofit arm of the Chamber – and the Economic Development Foundation of Rhode Island. One initiative of Innovate Newport is the redevelopment of the city’s historic Sheffield School into a technology business hub.
The school, which was built in 1922 and is nearly 34,000 square feet, is being converted into an office complex and coworking space, with suites and event space. The Chamber has also relocated into the building as part of the rebranding of the organization.
Meanwhile, the Chamber’s board of directors recently approved a five-year strategic plan for the organization, the first of its kind for the Newport County Chamber. “There was a time when the Chamber was not front and center,” Smith said. “She’s brought a whole new energy level to it, she’s brought a whole new posture for it, and it’s one of the moving forces again. She’s got it now in full gear and is really going forward with a lot of energy and a lot of collaborators.”
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