Zenovia Harris is many things to many people, a versatile “go-to” person whose passionate about her work and understands the important role she plays in the community she serves.
Resourceful and engaging, Harris welcomes her new challenge as the next chief executive officer of the Kent Chamber of Commerce.
The Kent woman, who was one of four finalists for the position, officially begins her new job Monday. She succeeds Andrea Keikkala, who left in January after serving 10 years at the helm to become the executive director at nonprofit Washington Business Week.
Harris brings plenty of skill and zest to the job. A former business owner, Harris has a sales and marketing background, with the ability to generate clientele and good results.
“Growing (chamber) members is No. 1,” Harris said of what she would like to achieve as new CEO, “and letting members know that they do have a voice … (with me) being an advocate for them as it relates to economic development and jobs in the city and what its mission is.”
Harris arrives at the chamber after spending nearly nine years working for the University of Phoenix-Western Washington – the first five years as an advocate for students in an enrollment advisor’s role, the last four as an operations manager, a liaison who provides resources and answers for students and administration.
A chamber member for several years, Harris has served as chair for the city of Kent Human Services Commission since 2013.
“I wanted to make the change because I’m an avid volunteer,” Harris said. “I’ve been on a few commissions … and I really like what the city of Kent does for the nonprofits there and for any business that is helping the underserved. I have a passion for that.
“I do take my civic duty very seriously.”
So much so that Harris got her masters degree in public administration from the University of Phoenix in 2015. She earned an undergraduate degree in business, with a concentration in management, in 2012.
Harris grew up in Sacramento, Calif., relocating to Washington state in 1999. She lived in Renton before moving to Kent, where she and her husband have owned a home for six years. They have two children.
She is ready to make connections for Kent’s growing business community.
“I’m a very inclusive manager,” she said. “I want to hear from all, whether it’s from nonprofits, manufacturing, human services, woman and minority-owned businesses.”
To learn more, visit kentchamber.com, or call 253-854-1770.