Dezelski Promises Advocacy, Continuity at Chamber

Exec Moves


Jacki Dezelski on Wednesday officially took over as president and CEO of the Manatee Chamber of Commerce. Dezelski, who has worked at the chamber for 21 years, has acted as executive on an interim basis since the death of long-time Chamber president Bob Bartz in February. The hire assures continuity at the Chamber, where Dezelski promises the organization will also continue to adapt to new challenges today and in the future.

“As long as the Manatee Chamber of Commerce puts the needs of its members and the business community first, we’ll be able to address the challenges our mission asks us to address,” Dezelski tells SRQ. The Manatee Chamber, with more than 2,100 members, remains the largest business organization on the Gulf Coast.

But Dezelski also says advocacy on the part of the Chamber should benefit the quality of life for the public, not just corporate leaders and business owners. “The business community is reliant on the quality of life, and vice versa,” she says. “Our advocacy provides a significant opportunity to serve not just the business community but the community at large.”

Dezelski first came to work at the Manatee Chamber in 1996 as communications manager before advancing ultimately to the role of executive vice president. She would go on to be named Florida Chamber Professional of the Year in 2015. Over her time at the chamber, she has been involved in policy discussions and oversaw the launch of the Manatee Young Professionals group.

Chamber leaders ultimately voted unanimously to promote Dezelski to the organization’s top post. “Jacki is a superlative leader and knows our chamber and community inside and out,” said Chamber chairman Kevin DiLallo in a statement. “She has led numerous important initiatives with our members, leadership and partners across Manatee County, while demonstrating intelligence, insight and entrepreneurial skills. The chamber’s role in shaping our economy and quality of life has never been more vital. Having the right leader at the helm is critical to our success.”

While Dezelski hopes her communication skillset will be useful for the Chamber as it increases its social media and information outreach functions for members, she stressed that the Chamber, previously named a National Chamber of the Year and the only one in the state to be named Florida Chamber of the Year four times, doesn’t need an overhaul. Her promotion follows through with succession plans discussed by Bartz before his unexpected death. “I’m just grateful for the leadership and staff at the Manatee Chamber for all the work they have done, particularly in the past three months with the loss of Bob,” she says. “That has really added to the legacy Bob Bartz leaves at the chamber and in our community.”

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