New Chamber staff excited to share ideas

Kate Fox, Mendota Area Chamber of Commerce president and CEO, unveils one of the new Welcome to Mendota signs. The signs were purchased with money raised from the Annual Sweet Corn Festival 50/50 drawing and are set to be installed in the next few weeks. (Reporter photo by Jennifer Sommer)

MENDOTA – The Mendota Area Chamber of Commerce not only welcomes everyone to Mendota with new signage that is set to be installed soon, but recently welcomed new staff to their downtown office, as well.

Long-time Mendota residents Kate Fox and Shelby Weide have taken over positions that were previously filled by Jesse Arellano, executive director, and Roberta Friedlein, administrative assistant.

Kate Fox is a 2009 graduate of Mendota High School. She attended IVCC and transferred to NIU where she earned a BA in communication with an emphasis in organization and corporate.

Although she moved to Milwaukee for two years, upon returning she said Mendota is her home. "This is where I want to be."

Her new title is the Chamber's president and chief executive officer, but this is not the first time she has worked with the Chamber. She recalled helping her father, Randy Fox, with Chamber-related duties during Sweet Corn Festivals when she was in high school and was the Chamber's summer intern for four years during college. She was also recently on the chamber's executive board of directors and the Sweet Corn Festival 50/50 committee.

Before this position opened up, Fox was a special education teacher at Mendota High School. She is also currently the Mendota High School freshman girls' basketball coach.

But it wasn't until several people suggested that she apply for the open position that Fox gave it some consideration and submitted her resumé.

"I am hoping that I can help Mendota businesses grow and help bring more people to Mendota," she said.

Fox is also looking forward to some of the chamber's major events like their Winter Event, the Fourth of July Celebration, the Annual Golf Outing, and the Annual Sweet Corn Festival.

"I am really excited. I can't stop smiling," Fox said about her new position.

Planning is already underway for the Chamber's winter event and she just booked a band for this year's Sweet Corn Festival, she noted.

Fox is ready to bring some new ideas to the Mendota Chamber, too. "I just think about all the things the Chamber has been doing and I am excited to bring some new ideas to the table. People keep coming up to me with suggestions and I am listening to those, also," she said.

One goal Fox has is more communication. "I really want to get 'back to basics' and get out there and talk with the businesses in person," she commented.

She hopes to help businesses network with each other, as well.

Also new at the Chamber is administrative assistant Shelby Weide. Weide took over the position from Roberta Friedlein who recently retired.

Shelby Weide, left, and Kate Fox 

Previously she was employed as a teacher's aide at Blackstone School and managed the Mendota Moose, as well. Not having to bounce between two jobs and more time at home in the evenings appealed to her, so she applied for the position.

Friedlein has been working part-time to help Weide through the transition. "There is a lot to learn, but it has been exciting," said Weide.

As Friedlein's last day approaches, Weide said she is not anxious about her new responsibilities at all. "I just tell her (Friedlein), she's only a phone call away if I have questions," she joked.

It seems that the duo is ready to take on their new roles. "We just keep saying over and over, 'we are really excited,'" Fox ended.

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