Lake Lure resident to lead the organization to greater heights

Following an in-depth recruitment process over the last several months, a new executive director has been hired to take the reins at the Chamber of Hickory Nut Gorge.

Laura Doster, who has most recently served as executive director of strategic accounts with Vendorpass Workforce Management in Jacksonville, Fla., began her role at the Chamber Feb. 4th.

“While we received a large number of applications from many qualified and worthy candidates, Laura’s particular background, enthusiasm, and existing knowledge of the area emerged as a clear choice for our board’s nominating committee,” said Chamber President Patrick Bryant.

Ms. Doster brings to the position a diverse range of experiences, having worked with Global Fortune 500 companies creating and implementing workforce solutions.   She is highly skilled in enterprise sales, business development, operations, account delivery, business process improvement, and finance.  She has also served as Director of Membership Services for the Forsyth County, Georgia Chamber of Commerce as well as Event/Fundraising Director for the South Forsyth County Rotary Board of Directors.

Of the opportunity, Ms. Doster stated, “Over the last twenty-five years the Chamber of Hickory Nut Gorge has provided a rich history and culture of hospitality, warmth, and business development. My goal and desire are to continue to enrich the vibrant sense of community we all cherish. I look forward to meeting members of the community face to face, as we grow and develop this magical place we call home.”

In her capacity as director, Ms. Doster will focus on strengthening partnerships with area community leaders to drive economic development that benefits members and solidifies the Hickory Nut Gorge brand as a distinctive destination for visitors and potential new residents.

Additionally, Ms. Doster plans to develop a volunteer program to support the Chamber’s office needs and event activities, resulting in greater participation from the broader community.

“The implementation of a centralized volunteer pool has been a vision of the Chamber board, and it is one that Ms. Doster is passionate about,” said Mary Jaeger-Gale, board member and chairperson of the Chamber’s marketing committee.

Ms. Doster will lead the staff of Valerie Hoffman, Marketing Director, Allyssa Dixon, Administrative and Member Relations Coordinator, and Karen Yarborough, Chamber Accountant. 

“Through a committed board of directors and a strong staff of professional and capable women in leadership, the Chamber is now well positioned to focus consistent efforts on economic development, tourism, and overall promotion of the Gorge,” said Bill Ashman, board secretary and head of the nominating committee.

For more than 25 years the Chamber of Hickory Nut Gorge has served as a catalyst for the creation of activities and opportunities for both visitors and residents by promoting an atmosphere that encourages visitation, business growth, and a strong sense of community.   Learn more at and follow on 

Submitted by Valerie Hoffman