Tecumseh resident Leslie Merritt passionate about community involvement

Elisabeth Slay
The Shawnee News-Star

About a year ago, Tecumseh resident and former stay-at-home mother Leslie Merritt became the executive director of the Tecumseh Chamber of Commerce and has loved being involved in the community.

Merritt grew up in Tecumseh. In her role as executive director, she assists businesses and people in the community.

"Our number one is to serve our business members and the economical area of Tecumseh," Merritt said. "Primarily, I do a little bit of everything. My number one priority is our members that are invested into the community that we serve."

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She originally applied for the part-time job on Facebook and was hired after an interview process.

"I thought it would be good to do something part-time and get involved in the community," she said.

Leslie Merritt rejoined the workforce in 2020 after being a stay-at-home-mom and has become actively involved in the community.

Merritt graduated from Tecumseh Public Schools and received a degree from the Art Institute of Pittsburg after her son was born.

"My professional background is web development and interactive media arts," she said.

She explained she has always had a love for computers and has done a lot with that.

However, over the years, Merritt has done a plethora of jobs while she was a stay-at-home mother.

"I was actually an extreme couponer for a while. That helps me with my budgeting and finance," Merritt said. "I've done a lot of different things."

Her jobs included building furniture, construction work with her father, corporate payroll management and selling items online.

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She feels her job with the chamber is the perfect way for her to ease back into the workforce now that her children are mostly grown.

"My community involvement is coming from (the fact that) I've been here my whole life and I've not even realized how many people and organizations it takes to run a town and I'm starting to learn these things," Merritt said.

She has dived into all aspects of maintaining a healthy and thriving city any way she can.

"It's out of a passion. This is my town and I didn't realize all these cool things happening in my town," she said.

For Merritt, the best aspects of her job are the people she helps.

"It's the community that we serve. It really is a rewarding job in the sense that if I can help somebody or help a business grow and develop, then I feel like it's rewarding work," Merritt said. "I really am happy to help."

As a staff of one, she feels her job can be lonely in the office at times, but it's worth it in the end.

"The fun part is I get to get out and mingle with our members so I can shift that mode when needed," she said.

Going forward, Merritt is hopeful that Tecumseh continues to grow into the inviting, open, friendly and special town she knows it is and can be to others.

"My hope is that Tecumseh as a whole, which includes our government, our town, the businesses, the nonprofits, churches and schools, you name it, continues to strive for excellent customer service and hospitality to not only our visitors, but also our community members," Merritt said.

Currently Merritt is working with Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Shawnee and will be helping out with the annual Tecumseh Frontier Days event, which is Saturday, Sept. 25.