Amy Wiggins, a communications professional whose career has focused on Lakeland non-profit organizations, has been named president and CEO of the Lakeland Chamber of Commerce. It's a homecoming for her because she had been an executive there from 2005 to 2015.

Wiggins, 43, will assume her new duties March 9, vacating her current post as executive director of the Lakeland Symphony Orchestra.

She became the symphony's chief executive in February 2015, immediately after serving as the chamber's vice president of communication for five years and a membership executive for four years before that.

At the chamber, Wiggins replaces Cory Skeates, who resigned immediately as its chief executive last October after serving in that position since January 2015.

“Amy’s previous experience with the Lakeland Chamber of Commerce along with her focus on organizational sustainability and data-driven strategies makes her the right choice to lead our chamber,” said Stacey Heacock Weeks, chair of the chamber’s board of directors. “We are excited to work with her to create a collaborative environment for promoting our business investors and community.”

The chamber's executive committee appointed Wiggins to the post on Tuesday following a search conducted by a committee chaired by builder Jason Rodda. Chamber board member Chuck McDanal has served as interim CEO.

Wiggins said she was honored to have been chosen: “From economic development to education, a strong business community strengthens every aspect of our daily lives. Together with the chamber's board leaders and more than 1,200 investor businesses, I know our future is smart, strong and connected. I am honored to be the one chosen to lead our chamber into the future.”

Wiggins grew up in Plant City and came to Lakeland to attend Florida Southern College, where she graduated with a degree in religion in 1998. Prior to joining the chamber staff in 2005, she was a development director for the YMCA of West Central Florida.

At the Lakeland Symphony, Wiggins oversaw the transition from volunteer to professional musicians and rebranding of the organization from its former identity as Imperial Symphony Orchestra.

Lori Powell, chairman of the symphony's board, said she will miss Wiggins' leadership but is happy to see her advance in her career. Powell said she will assemble a search committee that will meet next week to establish criteria for the next executive director and begin recruitment.

Wiggins is chairman of the board of Linking Community Now, the nonprofit organization behind Jazbablog. Members of the board are not involved with news coverage decisions.

Her other community activities include:

  • Board of directors for both Lakeland Vision and Polk Vision
  • Member of the Lakeland Mayor's Council on the Arts
  • Current president of the Polk Arts Alliance
  • Past president of the Polk County Chapter of the Florida Public Relations Association

According to Wiggins' Lakeland Vision biography, “When she’s not attending a concert or supporting a fellow arts organization, Amy enjoys honing her gluten-free baking skills and rehabilitating orchids from the clearance rack.”

Wiggins, a Florida certified chamber professional, will oversee a staff of eight at the Lakeland chamber.

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Barry Friedman founded in 2015 as the culmination of a career in print and digital journalism. Since 1982, he has used the tools of reporting, editing and content curation to help people in Lakeland understand their community better.

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