Benton Economic Partnership welcomes executive assistant, Foley Chamber president joins staff

Benton Economic Partnership welcomes executive assistant, Foley Chamber president joins staff Main Photo

8 May 2024


Article courtesy of Hans Lammeman, Staff Writer at Benton County News

Benton Economic Partnership, Inc. expanded its full-time staff for the first time in the organization’s history last month by selecting a familiar face in the Foley community to support Amanda Othoudt, executive director.

Pamela Vizenor, a lifelong resident of Foley, joined the BEP team on April 15, stepping into the new role of executive assistant. Her deep-rooted connection to the Foley community brings a unique perspective to her position.

“I live and work in a community that I love,” Vizenor said. “I changed careers, but I got to stay in the community, and that makes me excited.”

The position represents an industry shift for Vizenor, who previously served as a certified nursing assistant and therapeutic recreation director at The Gardens at Foley for 13 years.

BEP, based in Foley, is an economic development organization committed to business retention and expansion, workforce development, marketing, and other initiatives. Before Vizenor’s onboarding last month, Othoudt held the non-profit's only full-time staff position.

“Part of the reason we hired an executive assistant is to take care of all the day-to-day activities — stuff that I don't necessarily need to be focusing on,” Othoudt said. “So, I can focus more of my efforts on economic development-related projects and housing-related projects for the county.”

Othoudt said she began planning to introduce an executive assistant to the BEP team about six months ago. She said Vizenor stood out as an ideal candidate for the role because of her experience and familiarity with the Benton County community.

“She has a lot of transferable skill sets that she brought over from the healthcare industry to her role here as an executive assistant,” Othoudt said. “She's local, she knows several people in our community, and she is a long-term community resident, which is important to us.”

Vizenor said applicable skills from her time at The Gardens include time management, multitasking and leadership. In her new role, she planned to continue advocating for seniors and assisted living facility residents.

In January, Vizenor began her first year as the Foley Area Chamber of Commerce president. She said the Chamber frequently collaborates with BEP to build a stronger business community in Benton County.

Othoudt serves on the Chamber board of directors. Vizenor said she first heard about the executive assistant position at a Chamber board meeting.

“Amanda had talked about it many times at our chamber board meetings,” Vizenor said. “She’d come in and say, ‘I am looking for an assistant… I am still looking for an assistant.’”

Since starting, Vizenor said her workdays consisted of networking, attending meetings and a lot of learning.

“I have a really good trainer and a good person to look up to,” Vizenor said. “I have heard nothing but amazing things about Amanda in regards to her knowledge. I am excited to pick her brain and learn more about what we (BEP) have to offer.”