Chamber gives Ferrari kudos and cake

Farewells seldom escape tears and notes of sadness. So was the case when the Hobe Sound Chamber of Commerce honored outgoing Executive Director Jennifer Ferrari at the conclusion of her 10-year tenure during the group’s monthly breakfast March 10 at the Hobe Sound Bible College.
Ferrari, who lives in Jupiter Narrows, gave notice to the Chamber last summer that she would be leaving this year, but she has not yet decided on a new career direction. She was joined at the breakfast by her husband–“There really is a Mr. Ferrari,” Jennifer quipped—and both her parents.

The meeting, which was more joyous than sad, celebrated Jennifer’s accomplishments and the personal traits that made her successful and led to the successes of the Hobe Sound Chamber. “She has done a spectacular job,” said current Chamber of Commerce President Gary Uber, of Family Private Care, noting that the Chamber membership has grown “significantly” to total more than 500 members under her direction. “She has a certain knack for getting people to say yes to things they didn’t know they wanted to do.”

The universal descriptive of Jennifer by each of the five Chamber presidents with whom she served was “passion.” “When you love something and you’re passionate about it, you’re going to be successful,” said former Chamber President Andy Anderson. “That’s Jennifer.” The refrain was echoed by former president Blake Capps, of Capps Roofing, who noted that if all business owners were as passionate about their work as Jennifer, then their business growth would also be “spectacular.” He noted as well that people just could not say “no” to her requests. “When people respect the person asking,” Capps added, “then they’re going to say ‘yes’.”

Former Chamber President Mary Lopololo, Seacoast Bank VP and branch manager, who struggled at times to control her emotion, affirmed all that the previous presidents had recounted of their experience working with Jennifer, as did Wayne Click, another former Chamber president, who said that Jennifer considered all the Chamber members as “family,” which made the group particularly strong. “Your passion and energy will follow you wherever you go,” said Lopololo.

Uber’s introduction of Jennifer was met with thunderous applause and a standing ovation. Her first order of business before addressing the group, however, was to recognize Janet Otten, member relations coordinator, with an award for her 10 years of service to the Chamber and to announce that Otten will serve as interim director during the Chamber’s search. Jennifer’s remarks included reminisces about the period after the hurricane, when residents and businesses were shaken, yet pulled together to assist each other. One of her “happiest memories” was getting the Winn-Dixie store open to provide food and water to residents, and where she greeted many local people as she pitched in to bag their groceries.

“I have a special bond with each and every one of you,” she said. “I will miss you.” She’ll not be going far, as she currently is serving on the Chamber’s search committee reviewing applications for the now-open position of executive director.