Brownsburg Chamber names Rhonda Wyles as first female leader
By Stephanie Dolan
Whether at home, in the office or volunteering, people search for ways to use their skills. That might come through actively honing a talent, and other times opportunity knocks.
For Rhonda Wiles, opportunity kicked on the door.
With an almost cliche story of perfect timing, the Pittsboro resident started work as the first female executive director of the Brownsburg Chamber of Commerce Jan. 13 and was formally introduced in the position at a Jan. 15 chamber luncheon.
Photo by Rick Myers
“I’m excited to be the first female director of the Brownsburg Chamber, but I’m more excited just to have the job,” she said.
After a spring where she lost her administrative job, then her father who she and her siblings cared for several years passed away after suffering from Parkinson’s disease, dementia and finally succumbing to pancreatic cancer, Wiles took the summer off and time to recharge with her husband Curt.
A few months later she attended a Hendricks County Business Leader women’s luncheon and learned the chamber sought a new leader.
“The next day when the position was announced, I had several board members call me,” Wiles said. “I enjoyed taking time over the summer, but this job was a perfect fit.”
She succeeds Mike Arnould who recently resigned after six years.
“As Brownsburg continues to grow, she is excited to collaborate with the Town of Brownsburg and get out and meet new and established Brownsburg businesses to find out how the chamber can support them,” said Vicki Murphy, chamber vice president and Brownsburg Community School Corporation communications coordinator.
“I believe a chamber is the voice of business and a bridge between (business) and government,” Wiles said. “We can provide value by assisting them in doing something that would be very difficult for them to do on their own. At this time there is so much growth, opportunity and change.”
Wiles graduated from Tri-West High School where she met Curt. They have three children and three grandchildren.
Wiles is learning on the go by talking to potential and current board members.
“I’m getting to know the board members, reaching out to new (chamber) members and selling them on the value of being a chamber member,” Wiles said. “I have a lot of ideas, but I need to learn the job before I make any changes.”
Arnould set Wiles up well, growing the chamber into a more robust organization than when he started, said chamber member Carrie Hanni, a partner in charge of Kemper CPA Group’s Avon office.
“Rhonda is a visionary. She’s from here. She understands the history as well. She’s familiar with the area,” Hanni said. “She understands the potential changes and can focus on those while preserving the history. I’m really excited to see the next three to five years and what she brings to the table.”
In addition to her Hendricks County footprint, Wiles brings an impressive resume with more than 20 years of marketing and community relations, said chamber board president Jeff Rodgers.
“She also has a strong volunteer record, including 16 years with the Hendricks County Community Foundation and United Way of Central Indiana, Hendricks County, cementing her commitment and strong ties to our community. We look forward to a bright future and continued growth with her as our new leader.”
In addition to the community foundation, Wiles was on the board for Rock Steady Boxing in Brownsburg and Relay for Life.
“But at this point in time I am not committing to any groups until I get this job down,” she said. “I’m trying to learn a good work-life balance.”
In just a week on the job, she has experienced a supportive work culture.
“Relationship building is huge, the ability to listen and just the ability to have an open mind,” she said. “I’m not afraid of change, but I also respect the culture.”
In the short term she’s most looking forward to making an impact with businesses and the community, which brings her back to her roots.
“I’m excited about being back in this community, and I’m excited about this opportunity,” she said. “God just puts you where you need to be.”
Rhonda Wiles was named the first female director of the Brownsburg Chamber of Commerce. (Photo by Faith Toole)
Getting to know Rhonda Wiles
Where can you be found outside of work? Either in my garden or spending time with grandchildren.
What are you currently reading? “Girl, Wash Your Face” by Rachel Hollis
What is your favorite movie? “It’s a Wonderful Life”
What is your favorite charity? Rock Steady Boxing: They help people with Parkinson’s to realize they can live with that diagnosis if they engage. Nine times out of 10 patients don’t die from Parkinson’s. They die from not moving and pneumonia. Her father had the disease, and she served on the board.
What is your favorite song? I like all kinds of different music, but if I play “Ave Maria” I immediately become calm, but that’s not to say I won’t turn on AC/DC when I need to get things done.
What is your favorite restaurant? Boulder Creek in Brownsburg.