Ali Manson

Ali Manson

MANCHESTER, Iowa — When Ali Manson’s former boss accepted a new job working for Manchester Area Chamber of Commerce, he told her all about it.

While listening to the description of his day-to-day duties, Manson caught herself thinking, “I want to do that.”

“I thought it sounded like a great job,” she said. “I was kind of jealous.”

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Then last year, she saw the chamber’s assistant position open and hastily applied.

“When Jessica (Pape) interviewed me, I knew right then I wanted to work with them,” Manson said. “I started in the assessor’s field in 2003. It was time for a change.”

In October, Manson was hired. And after Pape, the former executive director of the chamber, left in July, Manson stepped up as the interim director.

This week, she took the role on a permanent basis.

“She had some experience and knew what was expected of her,” said Emily Peyton, the president of the chamber’s board. “She has been a good asset to the chamber. She caught on very quickly. She is very self-motivated and is jumping without being told.”

Manson said she is stepping into the position with a set of fresh eyes, eager to plan and create new events when the COVID-19 pandemic ends.

“I have only been able to help with like two events before COVID hit,” she said. “Hopefully, I can just bring in some new ideas right off the bat since our budget has been affected without having events. Hopefully, next year we will be back.”

Although it’s been a difficult year for many local businesses, Manson said she looks forward to meeting business owners and working to support them.

“I am a glass-half-full type of person, and I like to look at the positives on everything instead of negative,” she said. “If people get down, I want to be there right away to pick them. up”