This Q&A feature helps readers learn more about Mount Vernon-area residents working in our business community.
This week’s Q&A profiles Holly Dougherty, the Executive Director of the Mount Vernon-Lee Chamber of Commerce. Holly spearheads the Chamber’s daily operations, which gives its more than 400 business members opportunities for growth, increased visibility, access to community leaders, influence on important community decisions, and opportunities to give back to make the community a better place to live and work.
Holly, who is originally from Utah and has lived in the area for 28 years, has worked at the Chamber for 10 years. She received a degree in communications and English. Holly and her husband have six children, ranging in ages from 14 to 25. The Dougherty family lives in the Franconia area where two of her children attend Edison High School. The other children are in “various ages and stages of college and careers.”
How did you become interested in your job?
It was all sort of “by accident” really. I had a career in politics, worked in the Reagan Administration, got married and started my family. At that point I had stopped working, but was always very involved in the community, which included lots of volunteering in my children’s schools. There was a bit of a transition going on at the Chamber at that time, and some board members I knew approached me and asked me to apply for the position. The whole opportunity basically landed in my lap.
Talk about your daily job responsibilities and what do you love about your job.
We are a one-person office. I help take care of finances, communications (both internal and external) marketing, programming, as well as helping with our membership and member needs. We have a wonderful Board of Directors, which includes five officers, and 15 directors. They are all volunteers and donate their time most generously. Honestly, they are truly the best group of people and they care so much about our community, about the business environment here, and how we can make it successful for all of the businesses in the area.
What’s an interesting aspect of your job?
I always like to know what’s going on in the community. When I drive down the highway, I know who is where and I feel like I know what’s going on. I really like that aspect of the job.
What do you enjoy most about your line of work?
I really enjoy the people who I work with every day. The business owners in this area are a great group of people … they are generous and so kind-hearted. They also really care about their employees, the community and the people they interact with. That is what keeps me here and keeps me going each day.
Where is your favorite place to go in the area?
The schools. I love being in any school, feeling the excitement and being part of the learning environment. The schools are the future of our community.
What are your hobbies?
I like to make my own bread. I also like to can this time of year. I play the piano and the organ, and every once in awhile, I think about going back to quilting again. It’s been a long time.
Favorite area restaurant?
El Paso. It’s great comfort food.
Favorite type of music?
Classical music, anything Beethoven or Rachmaninoff.
If you weren’t in this business, what would you be doing?
My dream job would be Secretary of Transportation for Virginia, and focus specifically on Northern Virginia.