After 15 years promoting Island businesses, Nancy Gardella is leaving the Martha’s Vineyard Chamber of Commerce.
In a phone call with The Times, Gardella said the time was right to be closer to her family in central Massachusetts.
“It’s just time, almost all of that has been a true joy. It’s been such an adventure moving to an Island,” she said. “Coming out of COVID, what I know in my heart is I want to be closer to my family, and I want to see if there isn’t another great gig under my belt.”
Gardella came to the Island 15 years ago to accept the top chamber job. During her tenure, Gardella has supported and promoted Island businesses. She said her job was made easier by all the hard-working Island business owners. “Not only is this a magical place because of the fact it’s a beautiful Island, but truly magical because of small businesses,” Gardella said.
“I think they wanted a fresh set of eyes,” she said. “They took a chance on me, and I will always be grateful that they did so.”
She said now is the time for the next fresh pair of eyes to take over and be the greatest cheerleader for local businesses.
While the Vineyard is known for its blue economy, restaurants, and hotels, Gardella said, over 15 years, she’s seen notable growth in the technology and environment industries on the Island. Gardella also helped businesses through the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Gardella’s last day in the office will be Dec. 31. The chamber’s board of directors has begun the search for her successor. Deputy director Aela Mass will serve as the interim executive director.
“On behalf of the entire board, I want to express my gratitude to Nancy for all of her contributions to the chamber and local businesses, and for her efforts promoting our special place to visitors from near and far,” board president Greg Orcutt said in a press release. “We thank Nancy for her 15 years of service to the chamber, and we are excited about finding the next leader for our great organization.”
Gardella expressed what an honor it’s been to serve in her position. “The charm of Martha’s Vineyard is it is one of those rare beautiful places that small business people with hard work and a little bit of luck can really thrive,” she said. “And that has been so exciting to be a part of.”