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Sousa to lead FBA

Farragut Business Alliance has hired its first executive director, Allison Sousa.

“It’s a pretty good fit. I’m excited about it,” Sousa said.

Sousa brings economic and community development experience to the Business Alliance, founded only three years ago. She also has a familiarity with Farragut area businesses, including eight years with Loudon County Chamber of Commerce.

“I worked quite a bit with Farragut West Knox Chamber of Commerce at that time ... on a lot of events, especially in the area of business development. We’d bring in outside experts and speakers and try to get our two business communities together, networking,” Sousa said.

“So I’m somewhat familiar with many of the businesses in Farragut already,” she added.

While with Loudon County Chamber of Commerce, Sousa also helped found the Loudon County Education Foundation and designed and implemented the community’s first adult Leadership Program.

She has bachelor and master degrees in business administration and is a graduate of International Center for Creative Leadership and U.S. Chamber’s Institutes of Organization Management at University of Georgia. Sousa is married and has two middle school-aged sons.

Among her goals with the Business Alliance are to strengthen existing partnerships, particularly with town of Farragut and Farragut West Knox Chamber.

“We want to work with other organizations that exist with similar goals and see where the gaps are, and see how we can fill those gaps without duplicating efforts,” Sousa said.

She also looks to attract and support new businesses, and challenge Farragut business to support each other, in addition to marketing and branding the FBA’s already existing community events, such as Red, White & Blues and Taste of Farragut.

“I think we can create some excitement and create some buzz,” she said.

Sousa also set goals for herself and the Business Alliance in her first year.

First on the list is gathering and disseminating information.

“Like, right now we have 50-some odd people on the Farragut Business Alliance website, which is a free service to the Farragut business community. There’s no reason every business shouldn’t be on there.

“It’s a free tool,” she said, and a tool that should be utilized more.

Sousa said she wanted to go out to meet business owners and wanted to “package” the Farragut Business Alliance with a consistent message and branding.

“I really want to be able to define that and have anyone involved defining it the same way,” she said.

FBA board chairman David Purvis said more than 58 candidates applied for the executive director position.

“We had several very well-qualified candidates,” he said.

“The decision boiled down to a skill set and personality that the board felt could hit the ground running to grow the organization and the value it provides its members,” he added.               

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