Failor departing as Bloomington Chamber of Commerce president

Bloomington’s business community is getting a new leader, as the Bloomington Chamber of Commerce president is departing at the end of the month.

Maureen Scallen Failor has led the chamber for nine years and is departing next week. She’s not leaving the chamber for a new job, but noted that she plans to pursue a new opportunity.

With her departure, the chamber will be without a leader for a few months, but the process of replacing her will begin immediately, according to Jonathan Weinhagen, the president and CEO of the Minneapolis Regional Chamber of Commerce, of which Bloomington is an affiliate.

The Bloomington Chamber’s executive committee will convene to review the job description and fine tune it as necessary before a search committee initiates the process of finding Failor’s replacement, Weinhagen explained.

He anticipates the process will take three to four months. In the interim, the staffs of the Bloomington and regional chambers will oversee the programming and advocacy work on behalf of Bloomington.

“We’re confident we’ll be able to do that without skipping a beat,” Weinhagen said.

“The executive committee, as well as other board members, appreciates everything Maureen has done to advance the interests of the business community over the last nine years to make Bloomington a great place to work, live and play,” said Bloomington Chamber of Commerce Chairwoman Orinthia Montague, the vice president for student affairs and chief diversity officer at Normandale Community College of Bloomington.

“Her work on community partnerships such as the Bloomington Future Leaders program, which provides college scholarships and career experiences to high school students, has been invaluable. We wish her well on the next step of her career, it has been a pleasure working with her,” Montague added,

The Bloomington Chamber has an extensive board of directors, which includes leaders from several facets of the community. The Bloomington City Council is represented by Councilmember Tim Busse, who said Failor has been a good friend, great advocate of the business community and an asset to the chamber.

“She’s truly going to be missed,” he said.

Bonnie Carlson, the president and CEO of the Bloomington Convention and Visitors Bureau, also serves on the chamber’s board of directors. She worked with Failor years earlier when Failor worked on behalf of Meet Minneapolis, Convention and Visitors Association.

“I’m disappointed she’s moving on,” Carlson said. “She made a significant contribution.”

Carlson credited Failor with helping revive the presence of Bloomington’s chamber through her leadership.

“I think it will be a big loss for the Bloomington members. She was very engaged,” according to Carlson.

There are benefits to Bloomington’s chamber being an affiliate of the Minneapolis Regional Chamber of Commerce, and Failor’s passion for the city’s business community served Bloomington well, Carlson explained.

“We hope that will continue with the next leader,” he said.

Bloomington Mayor Gene Winstead likewise knows Failor from her days with Meet Minneapolis. Under her leadership, the Bloomington Chamber’s interaction and communication with city officials has increased significantly, he said. He praised her efforts to connect the business community and city government.

“It’s very good for the business community, but it’s also good for the citizens of Bloomington,” he added.

Winstead was surprised when he heard Failor was leaving and hadn’t had a chance to talk with her as of Monday afternoon. He expressed concern about changes her departure could mean for the relationship between city officials and the Bloomington Chamber’s leadership.

“I hope her leaving the chamber after her great performance isn’t the result of differences with Minneapolis,” he said.

The regional chamber serves as an umbrella organization, which includes Bloomington and the Northeast Minneapolis Chamber of Commerce. The affiliates maintain their own board and initiatives to serve their communities. Information about the Bloomington Chamber is available online at bloomingtonchamber.org.