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Pulaski hires new executive director, sets plans for future

Local artist Stacey Von Busch starts in the part-time role Jan. 2

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December 28, 2022

PULASKI – New year – new Pulaski Area Chamber of Commerce executive director.

The chamber’s board of directors announced it has hired Stacey Von Busch to fill the part-time position with former director Jenny Rybicki moving on.

“When (Rybicki) was hired five years ago, she had stated she would commit to the chamber for five years and at which point, she’d like to move on,” Board Vice President Holly Krueger (lead director at Encompass Pulaski Center) said. “So, now that we’re at the end of that five years, we started the process of looking for her replacement.”

That replacement is Von Busch – Pulaski resident, micro business owner and founder and president of  SAGE (Share, Accept, Grow, Encourage), a local non-profit in Green Bay.

Kruger said Von Busch’s enthusiasm for the importance of connection set her apart from other candidates.

“The biggest thing I remember about the interview was her passion and her enthusiasm for the possibilities,” she said.

Krueger said one of the things that stood out about Von Busch in her interview was her explanation of micro versus small businesses.

“I’m looking forward to identifying some of the micro-businesses, like myself – those of us that were out of our home – because I think it’s abundant out here, and I’m excited to (be able to) shine a light on what a chamber organization can do for micro-businesses like that,” Von Busch said.

Krueger said the Pulaski Area Chamber of Commerce has 115 members – ranging from gas stations and banks to restaurants and construction companies.

Krueger said part of Von Busch’s role will consist of collaborating with the board of directors to shine a bigger spotlight on what benefits the chamber offers businesses.

“That is one of our goals within the board – when we are looking to onboard more businesses into the chamber, what are we offering them?” she said. “So, we have a members benefit committee working on those questions.”

Getting started
Krueger said Von Busch is set to start Jan. 2, with her first few weeks being spent with the outgoing director to “learn the ropes.”

“So, going through all of our systems,” she said. “I would envision a meet and greet type thing going around to local businesses introducing her. I envision it being a smooth transition – at least that’s my hope. (I hope) the business community welcomes her with open arms and continues to communicate with us what their needs and wants are from a community perspective as well, so, we are heading in the right direction.”

Echoing the plan, Von Busch said her first few weeks will be spent listening.

“I’m not going to hit the ground running because I would like to hear more and then execute,” she said. “It involves a lot of seeing what the businesses want to share and listening to what it is they would like to see happen. Because again, I am at their service.”

Von Busch said she doesn’t have any specific plans laid out yet.

“I don’t know if I have any expectations,” she said.

But Von Busch said she has several ideas.

“One of the things I want to start is just Coffee and Conversation at multiple locations,” she said.

Von Busch said bringing back a farmers market is also high on her to-do list.

“I love the idea of incorporating mentorship for young adults interested in business and using the farmers market as a means to teach them the ins and outs of running a small business,” she said. “Being an artist myself, I think I focus heavily on where’s the creativity and where’s the identity of this community lay?”

Von Busch said she’s eager to learn about Pulaski area businesses, how they got their start and how she can help foster their success.

“I have a lot to learn – but that’s what instills that hometown pride,” she said. “I’m only here to grow.”

Board-director collaboration
Von Busch said she sees her experience with nonprofit boards as a helpful tool for her new role and the interaction it has with the chamber’s board of directors.

“Having founded a nonprofit and having a general understanding of board governance and how that dynamic engages and runs and operates is an asset,” she said. “I have a lot of respect for communication. I have a lot of understanding that this is a team effort – the board hands down what it decides are the expectations for the chamber, and it’s my job to execute that.”

That being said, Von Busch said the board members she’s already met seem open to listening to her ideas as well.

“I see it as being a situation where the board says, ‘this is what we hope to see,’” she said. “And the creative thinking of an artist as executive director says, ‘‘well, this is how we are going to make it happen.’ I think the dynamic is going to be powerful.”

Von Busch said one of the things she’s looking forward to the most is bringing businesses together.

“I think people are wanting that community connectedness – so, bringing businesses together and allowing them to get to know each other, having enjoyable activities for the community,” she said. 

The right fit
Von Busch said anyone who knows her will tell you she likes to talk a lot.

“That’s probably the first thing they will tell you about me,” she said. “We joke about how I carry around a soapbox. I am very passionate about anything I do and bring to the table.”

Von Busch said she loves storytelling, talking about her experiences and has a huge appreciation for family histories and traditions.”

Growing up in Lincoln, Nebraska, and then a small town in Iowa, Von Busch said what she feels as a resident of Pulaski is what she experienced when she was a little girl and is thrilled to be able to give her three girls that same upbringing.

“There’s a wonderful homey feeling about this community,” she said.

Von Busch graduated from Concordia University in Seward, Nebraska, with a double major in psychology and behavioral science and a minor in biology.

“I went on to work in the hospitality industry pretty much straight out of college,” she said.

Von Busch said this brought her different companies and places throughout the country.

And while she considers herself a wanderer, she said she’s happy to now call the Pulaski area home and is ready to get started in her role as Pulaski Area Chamber of Commerce executive director.

With it being a part-time position, Von Busch said she has every intention of continuing her work as an artist and with SAGE – something she said is the best of both worlds.

“I have no intention of letting those go in order to do this,” she said. “So, I think it’ll be an interesting dynamic, but if there’s one thing I’ve learned from being my own boss for the last eight years, it’s time management. I’m looking forward to it.” 

Von Busch said she’s an optimistic and serious person all rolled into one.

“I am an optimistic person, but at the same time, I’m serious about getting the work done, building community and connections and showcasing this area for its uniqueness,” she said.

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