Hancock Co., Miss. July 24, 2020 – The Hancock Chamber of Commerce is reaching the end of a decade, as Sally Isaacs announces her retirement. She has been the Business Manager since 2011. “I like to call her the calm before the storm,” said Tish Williams, executive director of the Hancock Chamber. Williams is referring to her calm demeanor, professional approach and ability to see the big picture.
When Sally and her husband Mark first moved to the Bay, she wanted to connect with people in the community. She found her way to the doors of the Hancock Chamber asking if she could “help” as a volunteer. “That very day, we put her to work,” said Williams. “We were working on a grant to the Economic Development Administration and needed signatures of support to apply.” Sally went door to door to gain the support we needed. When the grant was secured, the Hancock Chamber became the Gulf Coast Business Resource Center, in response to the Gulf Oil Spill. Sally, with 20 years as a small business owner, had just the credentials to lead the program. From there, she managed a $500,000 grant program for fishermen, providing technical assistance to help them rebound from the Oil Spill.
She and Mark relocated from Kentucky where they managed new housing developments, giving her expertise in real estate development, marketing, sales and strategic planning. Tapping in to this expertise, the Chamber asked Sally to take on the management of the $3 million job generation fund, working with 44 small businesses through this low interest / forgivable loan program.
In addition to financial management and membership services for two non-profits, Sally provides fiscal management of the Hancock Community Development Foundation, as a pro-bono service of the Hancock Chamber for the community. This Foundation has managed 30 community causes with more than $4.3 million in donations. She also oversees the Education Committee and Leadership Hancock County. With Isaacs at the helm, Leadership Hancock County has graduated 474 since its inception. The Education Committee has developed its Annual Teacher and High School Seniors Appreciation events, Classroom Grants, Bookworms and Senior Scholarships Programs. These programs have raised $53,762 since 2009.
What people probably don’t know about Sally is she actually began her career as a physical therapist, having obtained her masters from the University of Alabama and her B. S. in Biology from Millsaps. A native of Jackson, she chooses to live in the Bay and hopes to fulfill her dream of traveling, once COVID subsides. She would love to travel to Maine and see her daughter in California while traveling the Southwest. But, the ultimate dream is to travel to Africa one day. “Whether she’s eating lobsters or on a wildlife safari, we want Sally and Mark to know that no matter how far they may roam, they can always call the Bay home,” said Williams. “Sally has been a tremendous asset to our community, and we cannot thank her enough for the many ways she has helped others achieve their goals.”