Muskegon Lakeshore Chamber President Cindy Larsen to retire

After 25 years at the Muskegon Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce, the organization's president, Cindy Larsen, will retire in fall 2024.

"Our board has been working with the chamber staff on a leadership transition plan for several months now,” Larsen says. “We are excited to share the plan with our community.”

Larsen started as the Chamber president in 1999, becoming one of the first women in the country to lead a chamber with 1,000 or more members. She says she is proud of the recognition the Chamber has earned since then, including multiple “Chamber of the Year” recognitions from state and national associations, as well as the board's decisions to take a leadership role in community development. 

The Muskegon Lakeshore Chamber, founded more than 130 years ago, represents about 1,250 businesses and organizations of every size and type around West Michigan. It has been the champion for many recent community projects, including the reinvention of downtown Muskegon, the relocation of the Farmers Market, Silent Observer, the Lakeshore Art Festival, the Watch Us Go image campaign, the social district, and the Great Lakes cruise ship attraction.

Chief operating officer will move up

Rachel Gorman, the Chamber’s chief operating officer, will take over the role of chamber president effective Oct. 4, Chamber board of directors Chair Jonathan Wilson says.

Gorman grew up in Muskegon County and has been active in the public and private sectors throughout her career. She completed an undergraduate degree in hospitality and tourism management from Grand Valley State University and is a graduate of the executive MBA program from the Broad College of Business at Michigan State University. 

Immediately following college, she spent four years working at the Muskegon Lakeshore Chamber managing government affairs and events.

“Starting my professional career at the Chamber, then moving on to development positions at Muskegon Community College and Pioneer Resources, gave me a well-rounded perspective of community and workforce needs,” Gorman says.

Gorman, 32, was elected as a commissioner at large in the city of Muskegon with the highest number of votes ever recorded for the position. She is the first person of Asian descent to hold the office and is the youngest member of the current Commission. 

“My government experience allows me to be a valued adviser to local businesses who must interface with the government on a routine basis,” she says.

According to Larsen, “Rachel is well connected in the community and the state. She brings energy and enthusiasm to the role. Her experience in managing government affairs and member events will ensure the Chamber will continue as a premier business leadership organization along the Lakeshore.”

Gorman has been meeting with local business leaders to understand the issues 
they face. 

Larsen plans to stay in the community, work part-time on special projects for the Chamber, and volunteer for fun community projects. 

“I am looking forward to a leisurely schedule so I can enjoy all the art, culture, and outdoor amenities in Muskegon County,” she says.
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