Katerina Taylor possessed a set of intangibles and enviable work portfolio that made her candidacy for presidency of the Dekalb County (Ga.) Chamber of Commerce irresistible to the executive selection team.
Taylor’s strong business acumen, knowledge of the local civic and market landscape and optimum organizational skills, coupled with her gregariousness and indefatigability, made her the “optimum” candidate to become the first-ever female appointed president of the DeKalb Chamber of Commerce in its 75-year history.
Taylor, who ended her tenure as the vice president at SunTrust Bank, is taking over for her predecessor Leonardo McClarty, who resigned after a decade at the helm of the DeKalb Chamber in May to take a job in York, Pa.
Taylor indicated she will appropriate her large reservoir of energies into fostering an ambience in DeKalb County, the eastern suburb of Atlanta that reportedly contains one of the wealthiest collections of African Americans in the nation, that illuminates its attributes in a way that steers business into the county.
“I am excited about the opportunity to lead the chamber as its first female president. My goal is to drive progression in DeKalb through business advocacy, collaboration, community, and a diverse high-performing staff,” she said in a Sept. 17 statement. “I have an outstanding board of directors that have been supportive as the chamber has been in transition. We have great partners in Economic and Workforce Development, Tourism, Education and in the community at large. The spirit of business dwells here and I am grateful for the opportunity.”
Taylor joined the chamber’s executive team in 2012 as director of memberships and had been serving as interim president since McClarty’s departure.
That “interim” designation out to be a “try out” for Taylor. Board Chairman John Shelton said the organization underwent a cumbersome vetting process to find its new president. Taylor stood out among the crowd of applicants.
“Her knowledge of the local market, goal orientation and high energy level made her the optimal candidate for the position,” said Shelton, who is DeKalb Medical’s president and CEO.
Taylor’s selection as the president resulted from her vault of accolades and achievements, but also because of the way she advanced whatever capacity she served the chamber in previous positions.
For example, Taylor restructured and regenerated the new member reception program, resulting in a 20 percent hike in attendance.
Also, her superlative organizational skills were on display when she handled the details for the organization’s 76th annual meeting. The executive board reported that her worked helped triple the gross revenue and doubled the chamber’s net profit.
Moreover, Taylor founded the Women Executive Leaders of DeKalb, the chamber’s first women’s resource group, as a way to facilitate more effective networking, comradarie and collaboration among women-owned businesses.
Taylor has a bachelor’s degree in marketing from Texas Wesleyan and an MBA in Finance from Argosy University. She serves on numerous nonprofit boards, including United Way of Greater Atlanta, CHRIS Kids, and Boy Scouts of America.