MYSTIC — Peggy Roberts will leave her post as president of the Greater Mystic Chamber of Commerce at the end of the month, a position she has held since 2017. She has been serving in a volunteer capacity since last March, when COVID-19 forced the chamber to slash operational expenses by nearly 60%.
The chamber, chaired by Foxwoods executive Bruce Flax, will continue to provide core services to the community, including acting as a tourism information center, using mostly volunteers, according to Roberts.
Roberts helped to rebuild the chamber’s financial platform, which was struggling even before the pandemic. She led efforts to firmly establish the chamber as an advocate and resource for Mystic tourism. Under Roberts' watch, the chamber opened a Visitor Welcome Center at 62 Greenmanville Ave.
The chamber also developed a Mystic marketing effort on social media, supported by a $20,000 grant from the state of Connecticut. Additionally, Roberts has been collaborating with the Eastern Regional Tourism District, securing $24,000 annually in support of the chamber’s work in tourism.
During the past four years, the chamber established partnerships with public schools in Groton, Norwich and Stonington to launch “Work-It,” a career readiness program that has trained more than 1,000 students in basic business skills, including how to act in the workplace, communication skills in the workplace and interviewing skills. The curriculum for the program is now required of all students at Norwich Technical High School.
“I appreciate the people, businesses and organizations that have made the Mystic Chamber so vital,” Roberts said.
“Peggy has been a tireless advocate for the tourism industry and the community,” said Dr. Stephen M. Coan, president and CEO of Mystic Aquarium. “I am grateful that she has been willing to continue serving until now as a volunteer during COVID-19. We owe her a debt of gratitude.”
Roberts, who resides in Stonington, graduated from the University of Connecticut and was a reporter for the Norwich Bulletin. Later in her career she worked with a team of reporters in Alabama that won a Pulitzer Prize for a series on infant mortality. She also served as a senior executive for Altria before heading the chamber.
— Sun staff