GODFREY, IL – With the recent departure of their former director of member services, the RiverBend Growth Association took time to reflect on its mission and evaluate how current staff members might best be able to meet the current and future needs of its membership.

The result: A regrouping of responsibilities and new titles for two of its team members.

Debbie Hagen, who started as an intern with the RBGA in 1994 before becoming a full-time staff member in 1995, is now the Communications Director for the organization.

Formerly the research and publications manager, Hagen will continue her work with the organization’s media and outreach efforts, including social media, public relations, marketing, design, publications, as well as website design and maintenance.

Debbie Hagen
Debbie Hagen

“I am excited to get to work out in the community a bit more with my taking over of the responsibilities involved in working with our Small Business of the Month Committee,” said Hagen.

Stefanie Withers, who joined the RBGA team in 2018 as office manager, is now the organization’s Member Engagement Director. While continuing her responsibilities as office manager, she will take on all other duties that were once part of the former director of member services position.

“I am devoted to helping build bridges that connect our local businesses, both large and small. Networking is a vital part of building those bridges. I am eager to get back into the community, once it is safe to do so, and I look forward to recruiting and retaining members. I am extremely excited to be a part of the overall growth of our membership,” Withers said.

Stefanie Withers
Stefanie Withers

“Since Trish Holmes, our former director of member services, left in August, I have been asked what we were going to do to fill her position,” said John Keller, president of the RBGA. “Stefanie had already been shadowing, training, and working with Trish for the past three years. Stefanie knows the members, she knows people in our communities, and she knows the needs and processes involved in growing and maintaining relationships with our members and with the Riverbend community.”

Hagen and Withers echoed Keller’s sentiments. “I feel this streamlines the RBGA’s efforts in communicating with our members,” said Hagen. Withers added, “Each member of the RBGA team brings a different skill set to the table, but by working together, we can be that much stronger.”

The RiverBend Growth Association is the Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development organization for the 11 communities known as the Riverbend. For more information about the Growth Association, please visit www.growthassociation.com or call (618) 467-2280.


This article was prepared for the RiverBend Growth Association by Melissa Meske Publications, macmeske.com.