Carol Smullen, director of the Orange Chamber of Commerce, sits at her desk in the chamber office. Smullen has been on the job since August.

ORANGE - Carol Smullen is on a mission. That is to make the Orange Chamber of Commerce everything it can be. And although her start with the chamber was a bit unusual she hit the ground running and hasn't stopped to look back.

When Smullen started last August there was no staff.

"The board members were helpful but didn't have any hands-on experience to give me direction," she said. "But we didn't skip a beat, nothing went undone. The mailings went out on time and events happened as scheduled," she said.

"It took a good six weeks to iron everything out and be fully operational," she added.

Smullen has a strong history with charitable organizations.

Michael Richetelli, who is in his second term as the chamber president said Smullen was doing a great job.

"I am very pleased with her. She has exceptional organizational skills," Richetelli said.

"I am most excited she is utilizing her past experience to bring new ideas and new ways of doing things to our organization," Richetelli said.

"I come from a strong-not-for profit background where you automatically cut costs and are always focused on the longevity of the organization," she said.

Smullen was with the Girl Scouts for 21 years.

"I kind of grew up in Girl Scouts. It is the No. 1 not-for-profit organization."

"We did a lot of strategic planning," she said.

By profession, Smullen was an art teacher.

Since taking the reins, Smullen has made a number of changes to the workings of the chamber office.

She now designs the brochures and fliers, has simplified and cleaned up the recruitment brochure. She creates a monthly calendar of events that is easy to read and bullets monthly events. And she has created an invitation that is personalized for the annual new member breakfast.

Everything is done in-house.

"Besides saving the chamber money it is timesaving for me to not have to go back and forth with changes. It is more efficient and allows us to provide a consistent and up-to-date message," Smullen said.

Smullen also created the 2008 Plan for the chamber.

"I looked at what was here and what wasn't and what we needed to do. I began to create a plan of work for the organization (to compliment the goals and objectives of the organization) and put together a budget to fit the plan," she said.

It was finalized and approved at the January board meeting.

Smullen has also started two new groups. One is the Women's Leadership Network.

"Coming from a women's organization I know that wonderful things happen when women get together. They are creative and energetic. They do great things and have fun," she said.

"More women today are opening businesses than ever," she said.

"Through this group I hope leaders will come forward to be on the chamber's board and committees," she said.

The other committee is a Marketing Task Force.

"Looking at the committees I realized there wasn't a body of people to evaluate what we're doing with a fresh perspective so I started the marketing committee," she said.

"All these initiatives are so that there is an increase in chamber members. If everyone is talking about what we're doing people are going to want to be involved," she said.

"The more we can interest and get to join the stronger an organization we'll be. Doing things like strategic marketing and co-op advertising contribute success for everyone," she said.

"We're already seeing an increase in events."

"Carol is building the infrastructure of the office and has developed an organizational I am very pleased with. And she is helping me coordinate the committees. I am very pleased with that and believe she is doing a great job for us," Richetelli said.

Smullen said she is grateful for the assistance she has received.

"The executive board has been very helpful. Each one has a different perception on what needs to get done. They have helped me prioritize my efforts to keep the chamber running," she said.

Smullen said she is excited about her job.

"I see fun and exciting things happening for the chamber," she said.