Monday, June 24, 2019
The Chamber Appoints New Director
Brooke and Mike McKenna have been big parts of the Wood River Valley’s nonprofit scene.
Saturday, December 22, 2018


Mike McKenna has been named the executive director of The Chamber.

He will take over from Mary Austin Crofts, who recently tendered her resignation after serving  nine months as executive director.

McKenna’s appointment was announced Thursday night at a Holiday Business After Hours held at the Hailey Welcome Center.

Jack and Sam McKenna were just little squirts a couple years ago.

“In the end, one guy stood out, and he’s made a difference the entire time I’ve been here,” said Chamber President Todd Hunter, as he described the search for a new director. “And that person is Mr. Mike McKenna. He’s really contributed to making our community vibrant.”

McKenna and his wife Brooke McKenna like to call themselves Sun Valley’s “nonprofit power couple.”

Though Mike first started out with Sun Valley Magazine, he shepherded The Chamber for a year as its membership director before handing over the reins to Jeff Bacon. He has spent the past three years working as the community engagement coordinator for the Wood River Land Trust.

Brooke McKenna is the director of operations for The Hunger Coalition.

Mike has served on the board of The Chamber for more than three years.

“I’ve been part of the Chamber for five years. I love this new opportunity because it lets me be active helping the community,” he said. “Mary Austin Crofts did a great job. And Jeff Bacon did a good job before her. So the Chamber is in a good place. I’m hoping I can build on that.”

McKenna likes how The Chamber has reached out in the past year to encompass the entire valley, even though Hailey businesses constitute most of the membership. North Valley businesses have been without a chamber since the Sun Valley/Ketchum Chamber was dismantled several years ago. And Bellevue struggled to maintain its own chamber.

One of the things he would love to do, he said, is turn a brighter spotlight on the valley’s nonprofits which, he said, make up such a big part of the community’s economy and heart. He’d also like to bring back the photo contest that highlights the valley’s beauty and do more to help events.

“We’ve kind of reined in events and I think we need to change that,” he said.

McKenna said The Chamber does more for the community than many people realize.

With my background in journalism, I’ll do what I can,” he said.

Originally from New England, Mike McKenna moved here in 1996 and shortly afterwards married Brooke, a local gal.

The couple has two sons—10-year-old Jack and 8-year-old Sam, both fifth-generation Idahoans. They  are into hockey and baseball. In fact, Mike serves on the board of the Wood River Baseball and Softball Association.

He just finished writing a book on fly fishing in California. This one is called “Casting Around the Eastern Sierra.” The first was “Angling Around Sun Valley: A Year-Round Fly Fishing Guide to South Central Idaho.”

McKenna has a love affair with Hailey, which he calls “the best place on earth.”

“A bit rustic with remnants of ‘boomtown’ architecture sprinkled about town, there’s an Old West charm about Hailey that’s balanced by a refined and modern,” he once wrote in Sun Valley Magazine. “…There’s a rather sweet yet rugged, girl-next-door appeal to the sleepy town” as the bedroom community of America’s original ski resort, he added.

McKenna will step into his new role Jan. 7.

With McKenna’s taking on his new role, Christina Cernansky of NAMI-WRV has agreed to step in as vice president. Hunter will stay on as board president.

Other new board members are Joan Davies and Hailey Dentist Jeffrey Roth.

Re-elected for second terms are Tiffany Cross of Cross Valley Cleaning; Jane Drussel, Jane’s Artifacts, and Alex Stoll of Idaho Independent Bank.


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