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Vicki Clark, the longtime president of the Cape May County Chamber of Commerce who worked closely with NJBIA and the New Jersey Business Coalition to bring help to seasonal business owners devastated by the pandemic, has announced her retirement, effective May 18.

NJBIA President & CEO Michele Siekerka on Friday praised Clark as a steadfast and vocal advocate for not only the tourism industry that is so vital to Cape May County, but for small businesses throughout New Jersey that have been experiencing hiring challenges.

Clark was a frequent participant at news conferences and virtual town halls organized by NJBIA and the New Jersey Business Coalition meant to focus policymakers on the needs of small businesses, especially those that rely on international students in the summertime to supplement the local workforce so these businesses could remain fully operational.

“Vicki has been a leading voice on the importance of the J-1 visa program, which prior to the pandemic brought thousands of overseas students to New Jersey who were crucial to staffing up seasonal operations at swimming pools, amusement parks boardwalks and more,” Siekerka said. “She has been a valuable resource for businesses and will be dearly missed.”

Clark has been the president of the Cape May County Chamber for 18 years, serving as an advocate for the county’s tourism and business community through the strength of legislative engagement, member services, and educational programs. Representing over 800 members with a 27-member board of directors, Clark has led the chamber as president since 2004 after joining in 1991 as the marketing and membership director.

“Although I just became chairwoman in October, I’ve had the pleasure of working with Vicki for more than six years through my involvement on the Chamber’s board of directors,” said Amy Mahon, CMC Chamber chairperson and director of Operations and Marketing for Reich Asset Management.

“It has been an absolute pleasure and honor to work alongside Vicki. I greatly admired her leadership during the pandemic, and her knowledge of Cape May County, its tourism industry, and inner workings is unmatched,” Mahon added. “While I am sad to lose such a great asset, Vicki’s retirement is well deserved, and I wish her a very enjoyable one.”

Two noteworthy programs brought to the Cape May County Chamber of Commerce under Clark’s tenure are the Education Foundation and the Women in Business Conference. Established in 2015, the Education Foundation was created to enhance education and training programs that develop the skills, knowledge, and leadership of local young professionals. The Women in Business Conference will celebrating its 17th annual event in March, offering development, support, and networking opportunities for women with business aspirations.

Most recently, the chamber unveiled its renovated headquarters, serving as the executive offices and official Welcome Center for Cape May County.

In addition to Clark’s full-time role, she has also served on the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce board of directors, New Jersey Travel Industry Association, Atlantic Cape Community College Foundation, Business Alliance for the Protection of the Atlantic Coast, and the Cape May County Coast Guard Community Foundation.

Her accolades include Cape May County’s 2018 Woman of Wonder; Boy Scouts of America’s Garden State Council’s Woman of Achievement Award; South Jersey Businesspeople’s Impact Award; Literacy Volunteers Association Cape-Atlantic Inc.’s Community Service Award; and Cape May County’s Tourism Whelk Award for Excellence in Tourism.

Although the summer 2022 will mark the end of an era for many, it signifies the start of a new adventure for Clark.

“Grandkids are only young for a short time,” Clark said. “I’m excited to enjoy it with them before they grow up and begin adventures of their own.”