After 13 years with the Chamber of Commerce of Eastern Connecticut, Sheri Cote is leaving her position as vice president to become president of the Shoreline Chamber of Commerce.
She will be wrapping up work in December and plans to "start full steam ahead in Branford" around Jan. 2.
Cote said of her decision to leave, "although I love it very much, I'm the vice president here, and I was looking for an opportunity to really lead an organization and be the president."
She will replace Ed Lazaru, who stepped down in October after 10 years as president of the Shoreline Chamber.
Michele Call, director of events at the Shoreline Chamber, said she thinks Cote will bring a level of expertise from her many years of chamber experience in another area of the state.
She said Cote can "look and see at what we're doing and streamline a couple of things and just help us see all the possibilities that the chamber can actually access."
Born in New Hampshire and raised in Colorado, Cote moved to Connecticut 25 years ago, when her former husband joined the Coast Guard.
She spent two years at the pre-merger Southeastern Connecticut Chamber of Commerce and then two years at McLaughlin Research Corp. before joining the Chamber of Commerce of Eastern Connecticut as finance manager.
Chamber President Tony Sheridan credited Cote for being a good financial manager, saying, "The chamber is financially sound, and a significant part of that should be credited to her."
He said the chamber is doing some reorganizing and will be advertising for a new person shortly.
Cote said some of her proudest work with the chamber includes working on the Thames River Innovation Place, helping launch the Core Calendar, and starting the Eastern CT Premier Home Show and the Total Life Expo.
Cote is "very, very knowledgeable about various aspects of doing business in this region, whether it's from a real estate perspective or a small business perspective," said Nancy Cowser, executive director of the Southeastern Connecticut Enterprise Region.
She feels having Cote one region over will only strengthen southeastern Connecticut, allowing partnerships across county lines and traditional borders.
Cote said she thinks the opportunity is "plentiful" on the shoreline and is excited to grow a smaller chamber. As a Waterford resident, she plans to still attend local events and be involved in southeastern Connecticut.