I recently met Julie Aaronson, the new Executive Director of CHAMPS, the Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce, at Jacob’s Coffeshop. I walked; she rode her bicycle– a well-loved cruiser with a back rack outfitted with a homemade cushion– a gift from Julie’s mom so she can cart around her young daughters on short trips around the Hill. Julie has been a Capitol Hill resident since 2003 and has thrown down roots hard around here. A former self-described Army brat, Julie has become so attached to the Hill that she even persuaded her parents to move to the neighborhood. Her daughters attend Maury Elementary; her parents live a short bike ride from her, over in Jenkins Row.
Previously, Julie worked at the Department of Labor. It was this background, along with her 17 years of federal government experience that made her a good fit with CHAMPS: Julie knows and understands the intersection of business and government and she is “eager to work for my community and… directly see the results of my work.” For Julie, working to help and benefit the local economy is a natural extension of her passion for Capitol Hill and the community she’s called her home for well over a decade.
Julie has been on the job just about two months, but she’s already starting to put her stamp on the place. Aaronson, who comes to replace outgoing executive director Betsy Poos envisions a new direction for CHAMPS. Of Betsy’s two-year tenure, Julie says that Betsy’s work in recruiting new members and raising the profile of CHAMPS were great. Julie saw a great opportunity to put her labor expertise in a place where she can see, first-hand, the fruits of her efforts. She wants to focus on advocacy and policy issues, taking full advantage of her background in the Department of Labor. For our local economy, having a deep grasp of how laws impact small businesses and, in turn, being able to share this knowledge with other small businesses is a great asset. Her experience helping diverse agencies to communicate and work together matches the needs of diverse businesses such as those on the Hill and will make them become stronger.
Betsy Poos, CHAMPS’s executive director for the last two years, transitioned into the position from her job within the board, as reported by the Hill Rag. Betsy has now returned to being a small business owner full time and had this to say about her experience: “As a local small business owner, I know the importance of a strong local chamber of commerce. I was honored to revitalize CHAMPS during my tenure and am happy to see Julie continuing to grow membership and enhance events. Her policy experience promises to add value to the organization.”
If you want to learn more about CHAMPS, the Capitol Hill chamber of commerce, or want to become a member, you can visit their website at CapitolHill.org.