Patti O'Donoghue steps down after 12 years on job
By News-Argus Staff
Published in News on August 10, 2005 1:58 PM
MOUNT OLIVE -- A reception at the Mount Olive Chamber of Commerce last week to honor its outgoing president and welcome its new one was bittersweet, with local business people saddened by the leaving of Patti O'Donoghue but eager to start work with new president Kelley Castle.
Ms. O'Donoghue is leaving after 12 years on the job. She said she feels it is a good time for her to pursue other interests, especially writing and traveling.
The town and the chamber are in capable hands, she said.
"This is the best leadership we've ever had," Ms. O'Donoghue said. "I felt that if there is a time to leave, this is a good time to leave."
In looking back over her tenure, Ms. O'Donoghue lavished praise on the volunteers she said made the chamber's efforts successful. She pointed to the Kids World Playground and the walking trail in historic Westbrook Park as examples of what can be done with enough helping hands. Hundreds of people contributed time and money to make the projects a reality, she said, and town officials provided crucial assistance.
"Because of the volunteers the park was built in one week," she said. "Working with the town has been absolutely existential. None of this could have been done."
She noted the volunteers who helped with projects as diverse as changing the town's Christmas lights to supporting a bond referendum to expand the town's sewer system.
Ms. O'Donoghue said she will take with her many fond memories of the people who expressed their love for their town and community by getting out and giving their time to make Mount Olive a better place to live and work.
Mrs. Castle began her career as an accountant. But she eventually got involved in advertising and promotions and said she knew she had found her calling.
A resident of Grantham, Mrs. Castle comes to Mount Olive from Fayetteville, where she worked for an advertising agency. She said she is looking forward to helping Mount Olive promote itself and the unique lifestyle it offers.
"Everything has its niche -- what makes it special," she said.
She said she was happy to have a chance to work closer to home, where she can be closer to her three children.
Mrs. Castle said she enjoyed her interview with the chamber's search committee and felt she would be a good match for the job. Discussions centered on how to get more people traveling through Mount Olive to stop and spend money, not only at the businesses near the major highways but at those downtown. Mount Olive has much to offer both travelers and people living in southern Wayne and northern Duplin counties, she said. Most just need to know more about what the town has to offer, she said.
"It's a lofty task, but it can be done," Mrs. Castle said.
The town and its business community is limited only by the imagination of its residents, she said. Desire, discipline and hard work are the keys to success, she said
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