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Anna Conlan

Gilmer native and former Yamboree queen Anna McDaniel Conlan has returned to her hometown as new executive director of the Gilmer Area Chamber of Commerce.

“It is an honor to be leading such an important professional association, one that I have been involved with most of my life,” Conlan said in a letter to chamber members Monday. “Working together, we can grow the chamber and show the value your membership brings.”

Conlan, who has been with the Frisco Convention & Visitors Bureau, replaced Linda Koudelka, who retired after four years on the job. The chamber has about 380 members.

Conlan was among 30 or more applicants from throughout the state, chamber President Leslie Pilcher said. The hiring committee narrowed the finalists to three candidates from Upshur County.

“We feel so lucky to have Anna join our team,” said Pilcher, who owns a hair salon. “She’s extremely qualified and has a positive energy. She has extensive experience in hospitality and event planning, tourism and economic development. She has up-to-date management skills and is very goal oriented.”

Conlan also drew praise from former colleague Marla Roe, executive director of the Frisco Convention & Visitors Bureau.

“She handled our corporate market,” Roe said. “She is a really nice lady, and she worked really hard. Her clients liked her a lot.”

Conlan says she served as national sales manager at the convention and visitors bureau from November 2010 to November 2015. She started Conlan Consulting in June 2014.

She said she worked the past 15 years in hospitality and city government at the local and national levels.

She graduated from Gilmer High School in 1994 and moved away to attend Texas State University, where she earned a degree in public relations/hospitality management in 1999.

But while she left Gilmer, Conlan said she has maintained strong ties to her hometown, where her entire family continues to reside. She said she has attended the Yamboree and other city events throughout the years.

She and her husband, Patrick, moved back to Gilmer in 2019. They have two sons: Will, a sophomore at Gilmer High School; and Austin, a fourth-grader at Gilmer Elementary School.

“We love what a close-knit community Gilmer is and the community support,” Conlan said.

She said her priorities as chamber executive director are business development and retention, and serving the membership.