Women Who Move the City 2019
Meet some of the business, civic and educational leaders who work to bring about positive change and enhance the quality of life in our community.
Betsy Gardner Eckbert’s crowning achievement in the business world was starting her own successful brand of luxury UV-protective swimwear in London in 2014. Now, she is combining that high-energy entrepreneurial spirit with effective community outreach to reinvent the Winter Park Chamber of Commerce, which she has led since 2017.
“Chambers across the country are struggling with the relevancy gap—the realization that people do business differently in the digital age, that our audiences are changing, and that we must modernize our approach to interaction and programming to be sustainable,” Betsy said.
She and the chamber were recently awarded the North American Chamber Innovation Grand Prize, beating much larger chambers such as Greater Boston and Vancouver.
Betsy’s approach includes: implementing more relevant, inclusive programming; welcoming international guests; and advocating on important issues.
One of Betsy’s most successful new programs has an emotional connection. “Relaunch: Career Re-entry for Professional Women” helps women who have taken a break from the workforce. Women can build their resumés, confidence and networks through a curriculum that includes how to get the most out of LinkedIn and building a personal brand. Two classes have completed the eight-month curriculum and a new one-week boot camp version kicks off in May, with more classes scheduled for the fall.
“I took time off to raise my children and remember the confidence gap when I returned,” Betsy said. “I’m passionate about helping smooth the transition for others.”
She has also taken a fresh look at visitor data, which shows many of Winter Park’s international guests come from the United Kingdom. To help reach those potential visitors, Betsy has attended the World Travel Market in London the past two years, launched digital initiatives and created a Tourism Advisory Board.
Betsy also understands Winter Park’s art institutions are a huge draw for visitors, so she led a delegation of Winter Park arts leaders to Tallahassee in March to urge Central Florida legislators to restore arts funding.
“I grew up in Winter Park. And even though my son, Haden, is a freshman at Purdue and my daughter, Lucy, will head to college in a couple of years, this is home to them,” said Betsy. “Giving back is crucial.”
151 W. Lyman Ave. | Winter Park, FL 32789 | Phone: 407-644-8281 | winterpark.org