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Maryland Chamber of Commerce names new president

The Maryland Chamber of Commerce announced today that Christine Ross will serve as its next president and CEO. Ross is currently in charge of the Bonita Springs Area Chamber of Commerce in Florida, and she also runs that region’s economic development council. Ross will start her new role in Maryland on July 11.

The Maryland chamber started looking for a new president after Brien Poffenberger resigned in December. Former President Kathy Snyder served as interim chair while the chamber held a nationwide search for a permanent replacement. The chamber reviewed 100 applications and held several rounds of interviews before selecting Ross.

“We had many strong candidates from across the country,” said search committee chairman Nate Biel. “Christine Ross was the ideal choice based on her leadership and proven track record at her current and prior chambers.”

“I see a great opportunity to impact change to make Maryland more competitive,” said Ross an interview after Tuesday’s announcement.

Christine Ross will be the new president and CEO of the Maryland Chamber of Commerce starting July 11. (submitted photo)

Christine Ross will be the new president and CEO of the Maryland Chamber of Commerce starting July 11. (submitted photo)

As president and CEO of the Greater Bonita Springs Chamber since 2009, Ross pushed for regulatory changes to address the region’s business climate, as well as education and workforce reform, the Maryland chamber said.

She was involved in a range of economic development projects that covered a five-county area with 1.2 million residents and was on a regional team for an update of the Enterprise Florida 2014-17 economic development plan, the chamber said.

“She exhibits the passion, communication and executive skills needed to help the Chamber and our State become a national and global leader in innovation, technology and entrepreneurship,” said Board of Directors Chairwoman Sheela Murthy.

As Maryland chamber president, Ross hopes to  improve the state’s business climate and to “build bridges” between the state’s universities and business and “convene chamber, business and young professional leaders from across the state to define how Maryland can become the No. 1 place the young, well-educated and talented want to live,” she said.

Before her time in Florida, Ross held similar positions at two Massachusetts chambers for nine years.  She was also program director of the Berkshire Visitors Bureau and marketing director at the Pittsfield (Massachusetts) Tourism Council.

Ross has an MBA and a master’s in marketing from the University of Maryland University College.  She earned a bachelor’s degree in music education from James Madison University in Virginia. Ross is married and has three grown children, two of whom are in graduate school in the Washington, D.C., area.

Snyder’s last day as chamber president will be June 3. She plans to go back into retirement but help Ross with the transition.