Ashley Charest
Ashley Charest

Curtis Sneden, interim president and chief executive officer, recently announced the addition of Ashley Charest to the Chamber staff as vice president of membership development.

“Ashley’s extensive chamber and client relationship experience will serve our members well,” he said. “We look forward to her expertise, enthusiasm and ideas and are eager to introduce her to our members.”

Charest graduated from Washburn University in 1999 with a bachelor’s degree (magna cum laude) in mass media with an emphasis in public relations and received her MBA from Washburn University in 2006. She gained her Certificate in Non-Profit Management from Washburn University in 2009 and also earned her Certified Association Executive (CAE) in 2010. Charest is a 2011 Leadership Greater Topeka graduate.

Previously Charest served as vice president, client relations at Centric Management and Consulting, Inc., which is an association management company based in Topeka. There she served as the account executive for the Glass Association of North America and as executive director for the Chamber of Commerce Executives of Kansas, MAKO Conference Association and the Canadian Glass Association. Her duties included setting up all educational seminars, conferences and trade shows, working to increase membership, coordinating committee meetings for the non-technical groups, supporting the Glazing Industry Code Committee and acting as a liaison on behalf of GANA with organizations interested in a cooperative relationship. As the executive director for CCEKS, she was responsible for planning and coordinating all conferences and webinars, increasing membership, providing support to the various committees, working on the MAKO planning committee and acting as a representative of the association. As the executive director of the MAKO Conference Association, she provided direction and leadership to the four-state regional association by coordinating the annual meeting, working on finances and fulfilling the daily responsibilities for the association. As the executive director of CGA, Charest was responsible for the board of directors’ activities, including an annual conference, and working in conjunction with association committees and with Glass Canada Magazine.

In her spare time, she serves on the board of the Kansas Society of Association Executives and is a member of the American Society of Association Executives and the Association of Fundraising Professionals. In the Topeka community, she is involved with CASA of Shawnee County, the American Cancer Society, Wanamaker Elementary PTO and the Topeka Alumnae Chapter of Kappa Alpha Theta.

Matt Lara

Matt Lara

Matt is the resident social media guru and website guy, working on the marketing and communications team. He supports GO Topeka, the Topeka Chamber of Commerce, Entrepreneurial & Minority Business Development, Forge and Heartland Visioning.
Matt Lara