By Woodrow Polston
Charla Smith has been appointed as president of Vandalia’s Chamber of Commerce. Having been a member of the Chamber for approximately 8 months, Smith said she was approached by other members who asked her to consider taking on the new position, which had recently been vacated.
Smith is currently the branch manager at United Credit Union in Vandalia. She’s held this position for three years.
“Prior to that, I was the assistant branch manager, and I have been with United for a total of eight years. Before I came to United, I was with Bank of America for 22 years, and also worked as a branch manager at their Vandalia location. I graduated in 1995 from Van-Far. I spent two years at Central Missouri State University, And then I went to Hannibal LaGrange University, where I graduated with a business law degree and a marketing degree,” she added.
United Credit Union has been in business since 1935, and is now a $200 million financial institution, offering comprehensive financial services to over 22,000 members. They have numerous locations throughout Missouri, with the main headquarters being in Mexico, Mo.
Smith said she enjoys spending time with her family.
“My husband and I have an 11-year-old daughter, who is active in softball and basketball,” she said. “Family time is very important to us. We are also very active in our church, at First Baptist here in Vandalia. My husband is the chair of the deacons, and he also serves as a Sunday school teacher. We help with the Charge Program, which is for kids from age 3 through grade six, every Wednesday. The program includes a meal, bible study, and games,” she added.
Historically speaking, the first Chamber of Commerce was originally founded in 1599, in Marseille, France, as the ‘Chambre de Commerce. In the U.S., the Chamber of Commerce was founded at a meeting of delegates on April 22, 1912. Today, most all communities in the U.S. have a Chamber of Commerce. Their purpose is to help further the interests of small businesses in their areas. The activities that members engage in, range from hosting and promoting events, to lobbying local involvement in charitable works for the betterment of the community.
“I never thought that finance would be something that I would really enjoy doing, but it turns out that I absolutely love what I am doing,” said Smith. “When a member comes into our credit union, and I am able to make a positive impact on their life, it is the best feeling in the world,” she added.
Smith serves on the finance and budget committees at her church. She also serves on the Planning and Zoning commission for the city of Vandalia. The Chamber of Commerce meets on the second Monday of each month at Spare Time Bowl and Grill at noon.