Chamber Welcomes New Board Chair, Volunteer Leadership for 2022

Chamber Welcomes New Board Chair, Volunteer Leadership for 2022

Terre Haute, Ind.  – The Terre Haute Chamber of Commerce is ringing in 2022 with a new Board of Directors Chairperson, Bernice Helman. 

Helman, Vice President of Coldwell Banker Real Estate Group (formerly Coldwell Banker Helman Realtors) has served on the Chamber of Commerce Board since 2017 most recently on the Executive Committee, Nominating Committee and Property Task Force. 

Helman brings experience at both the local, state and national level. She serves as Vice Chair for the National Association of REALTORS Public Policy Committee. Helman was appointed by Lieutenant Governor Suzanne Crouch to serve on the Indiana Destination Development Corporation Foundation Board. Helman also served as President of the Indiana Association of REALTORS in 2020. Locally she serves as Treasurer for the Terre Haute Regional Airport Board, as a director for the Harsha Behavioral Center and Savera Geriatric Unit, a member of the Swope Art Museum Board of Advisors and St Mary-of-the-Woods College Community Advisory Board. Helman is also a member of the Metropolitan Indianapolis Board of REALTORS and a member of the Home Builders Association of Greater Terre Haute. 

“We’re not reinventing the wheel here, there’s so much work that has been done and West Central Indiana has great momentum,” Helman says. “The Chamber has had many great leaders. We hope to carry on their legacy as we continue to create value for our members and ensure a business friendly climate in West Central Indiana.”

Priorities include continued work on the See You in Terre Haute Community plan, advocacy at the statehouse and expanding the West Central Indiana region. 

It won’t happen overnight, but I wholeheartedly believe that if we assemble our counterparts in the surrounding counties we have a strong region,” she explains. “We have made a lot of progress at the state level but that takes continued work, we have to show up and have a voice at the statehouse. The Governor (Eric Holcomb) and Lt. Governor (Suzanne Crouch) have to be reminded that we are here in West Central Indiana and ready to roll our sleeves up and do the heavy lifting.”

That same mindset is shared by the board’s First Vice Chair David Templeton, President of Glas-Col. A native of Terre Haute, Templeton relocated back to his hometown in 2016 after working in sales and textile management. 

He echoes Helman’s comments, saying he’s proud to serve on the Chamber Board, a group that is “keenly focused on bringing Terre Haute and our surrounding communities’ potential to life”.

“My family originally settled in the area in the late 1800s and have the best memories of growing up in Terre Haute,” he explains. “Living and working in other communities throughout my career, I’ve come to appreciate what is possible and the opportunities that are available. I think everyone on the board has a deep desire to see our community continue to thrive for generations to come.

As stated in the Chamber’s bylaws, the Board of Directors assume a new Chair of the Board each year. Those positions, along with new committee and task force members are also added as the Chamber’s community and business initiatives grow.

2022 will be an extension of the work accomplished in 2021 by the Chamber Board of Directors and staff members. Chamber President Kristin Craig says the Board of Directors have already targeted numerous topics including continued COVID-19 economic recovery, along with advancing the “See You in Terre Haute” Community Plan and West Central Indiana 2025. The Chamber will also be following the 2022 Legislative Session, with weekly updates from the statehouse on matters pertinent to the business community. 

The Chamber and its affiliated entity, West Central 2025, will also be adding two individuals to the staff in order to expand the organization’s reach throughout West Central Indiana. The positions, a Black Business Alliance Coordinator and a Rural Outreach Coordinator, are part of a two-year federal grant program through the Small Business Administration’s Community Navigator Pilot Program. The West Central Indiana Small Business Development Center (ISBDC), hosted at Indiana State University’s Scott College of Business, was selected to receive a $1 million grant to support the creation of the Intentional Outreach Network (ION) to strengthen outreach services to underserved businesses in a seven-county service area in order to ensure that SBA resources are accessible to entrepreneurs.

“I wish I could predict the future, living with uncertainties is difficult, especially for the business community, but in terms of the Chamber and our efforts for both business and community, we have a good roadmap and volunteer leadership team in place,” Craig says. “We’re choosing to stay positive, focus on the many projects that we have in the works and to continue working to advance West Central Indiana.”

2022 Chamber of Commerce Executive Committee

  • Chair – Bernice Helman
  • Immediate Past Chair/Advocacy Co-Chair, John Collett
  • First Vice Chair/Nominating – David Templeton
  • Treasurer – Ellie Caldwell
  • Advocacy Co-Chair – Sara Smith
  • Governance Chair – Curt Wilkinson
  • Vice Chair – Brian Kooistra
  • Vice Chair – Norman D. Lowery