Opinion

Great news for Peabody

The Peabody Area Chamber of Commerce and the city of Peabody are in great hands with the chamber’s decision to hire Jenna Coccimiglio as its new executive director.

Coccimiglio is a human tornado who spun ideas and initiatives out of her little office in the center of Malden and forged strong relationships with that city’s business community and Mayor Gary Christenson.

The Malden chamber seemed to constantly sponsor events under Coccimiglio’s direction, including a popular “Taste of Malden” that showcased the city’s diverse and outstanding restaurants. Her arrival in Peabody could not come at a better time with the city, under Mayor Ted Bettencourt’s direction, focused on broadening the variety of restaurants in the city and offering more opportunities for restaurants to spring up downtown and in Peabody neighborhoods.

Coccimiglio has big shoes to fill as former Peabody Chamber Executive Director Deanne Healey’s successor. Healey is an equally-energetic and innovative business community proponent who never encountered an idea she could not expand on or revise and promote for Peabody’s betterment.

She encouraged young entrepreneurs to tap into the city’s business community and experiment with new ideas and innovations. She understood the sometimes-complicated intersection between city government, the local business community and public schools.

Coccimiglio worked for Simon Property Group as Northshore Mall’s guest service manager before taking the Malden Chamber job. It doesn’t take a stretch of the imagination to understand how her experience with Simon can translate into becoming an effective Chamber leader in Peabody.

The city’s economic foundation rests in part on Routes 1 and 114 and the shopping plazas surrounding Northshore Mall. Coccimiglio is sure to hit the ground running to reinforce strong relationships on Peabody’s commercial byways already established by Healey.

She can be expected to work with other city leaders to enthusiastically embrace innovative ideas aimed at making Peabody Square and surrounding streets even more exciting where people can shop and eat.

In many ways chambers of commerce find themselves at the crossroads of traditional roles for business organizations and the lightning-fast pace of social media innovation. Traditional bedrock businesses seek to survive and strive and compete with new enterprises reshaping the commercial landscape.

Coccimiglio demonstrated her ability in Malden to listen to all types of business owners and bridge the gap between more traditional entrepreneurial thinking and cutting edge social media-oriented commerce. Her ability to communicate, her skill in working with public officials, and her understanding of Malden’s business potential made her a dynamic leader.

Her skills will translate well to Peabody and, like Healey, Coccimiglio is sure to demonstrate an ease and adeptness at coordinating projects and programs with chambers in neighboring communities and regional business organizations.

The sad news of her departure from Malden translates into great news for Peabody.

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