‘It seems to be a perfect fit’

Published 10:11 pm Monday, June 25, 2018

New chamber director said Albert Lea has much going for it

One woman is hoping to bring her business and management experience to the Albert Lea business community.

Rhonda Jordal became the executive director of the Albert Lea-Freeborn County Chamber of Commerce on June 18.

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Originally from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Jordal currently lives in Forest City with her husband and granddaughter. She will be renting a home in Albert Lea until they find a more permanent residence in the area.

Jordal’s business experience stems from owning her own memories and keepsakes shop, which specialized in embroidery and quilting. As she was running that business, she gradually closed it down when she and three other military mothers decided to start a nonprofit, Family Alliance for Veterans of America Inc. The nonprofit benefits veterans and their families, with such programs as homeless veterans outreach and setting up veterans with service dogs, among others. Jordal co-founded the organization, was one of its first chairwomen and was the national director at one point. Jordal’s inspiration for helping to start the nonprofit was her seven family members who served in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“When they come back injured, you see all the cracks in the system,” she said.

She has stepped away from being heavily involved in FAVA and looks forward to working at the chamber, which she said should be a lighter, happier environment. She said while the nonprofit work was incredibly meaningful, dealing with so much pain and sadness all the time can burn someone out. She is excited to work with people who have started or are running businesses they’re passionate about.

“This will just be so wonderful, lots of happy,” she said. “Very much looking forward to so many pieces of it.”

In addition to her experience owning her own business and managing a nonprofit, Jordal has experience in human resources and marketing. It’s that amount of overall experience that makes Jordal feel she’ll be an asset to the Chamber.

“There were just so many pieces that made sense,” she said. “It seems to be a perfect fit.”

Jordal said she and her husband love the area, and look forward to making it their home and becoming more involved. As an added bonus, they’ll be closer to their grandsons, who live in Austin, she said.

Jordal sees a lot of potential for growth in Albert Lea. She said the city being at the crossroads of two interstates is “huge,” and it has beautiful lakes, parks and great activities already in place, with room for more.

“Albert Lea has so many things that are going for it,” she said.

Jordal looks forward to meeting everyone and hearing about the businesses helping the Albert Lea community to grow, and said she is excited to be a champion of that growth as well.

About Colleen Harrison

Colleen Harrison is the photo editor at the Albert Lea Tribune. She does photography and writes general-assignment stories.

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