Valerie Earl and Kelsi Hinsha, the new team at the Wellington Area Chamber of Commerce, have some similarities, but also some differences which they believe work to their advantage in their new roles.

“We collaborate well,” Valerie Earl, the new chamber executive director said. “Kelsi was born and raised here and me, not being from here, is a good combination.”

“I think it’s a good melding of experience and perspectives,” Hinsha, chamber office manager, said.

Generations of Hinsha’s family have lived in Wellington. She grew up here, then attended the University of Kansas and transferred to Wichita State University where she graduated. Hinsha then worked in marketing for Crestview Country Club in Wichita, then moved to Kansas City. A job with Sumner Regional Medical Center, now Sumner Community Hospital, brought her back to her hometown where, like Earl, she is married and raising a family. She was working for McAlister Accounting before taking the chamber job.

Wellington “is my home,” Hinsha said. “I have its best interests at heart.”

Earl has a side job at the Kansas Star Casino in Mulvane where she spends a lot of time planning events, the same kind of thing she does for the chamber. She also managed a sports bar in Bricktown, Oklahoma.

“Being a sports bar manager, I learned a lot about delegation and supervision and responsibility,” she said. 

She and her husband, Brandon, previously lived in Michigan and Edmond, Oklahoma. He took a management job at Mill Creek Lumber, which brought them to Wellington.

“I feel like this town has grabbed ahold of me and shown me it’s a good place to raise our kids,” Earl said. 

Since moving here, Earl has been involved in several community activities, such as the Social Sisterhood of Wellington, the Wee Too Preschool Education Board at First United Methodist Church, coached her son’s T-ball team and coached her daughters in volleyball.

Earl was working three jobs - at the Wellington Recreation Center, as office manager for attorney Matthew Metcalf and at Kansas Star Casino where she still works on an on-call basis.

“I’m not a person who sits still,” she said.

Earl said it has been a challenge coming into the chamber without someone showing her what needs to be done. 

“However, cup half full, I get to do it with vision I see rather than someone else’s vision,” she said. “I get to incorporate my own vision. I’m not looking to change tradition. I just want to put a twist on things.”