The Columbus Chamber hires Easterday, appoints Benham

The Columbus Chamber last week announced an addition to its staff and a committee appointment.

Kristen Easterday will serve as the Chamber’s director of local government relations and Barbara Benham, senior vice president and director of government relations for Huntington Bancshares Inc., will chair the government affairs steering committee.

“The addition of Easterday, who will focus specifically on local government relations, takes the Chamber’s commitment to public policy one step further by dedicating resources to cultivate local relationships and stay on top of legislative issues affecting our members,” says Michael Dalby, president and CEO of the Chamber. “We’re also proud to appoint Benham, a driving force in the region’s government relations industry, to a key position on the government affairs steering committee. Her knowledge and experience will help to educate members on issues impacting their businesses.”

In her position, Easterday will advocate for business-centered economic growth policies to members of local governments and will assist Michael Hartley, vice president of government relations, with informing Chamber members of public policy issues.¬†Easterday previously served as the executive director of the Ohio Department of Agriculture, Office of Farmland Preservation, and as the finance coordinator for Michelle M. Mills for Columbus City Council. She completed her undergraduate studies at Ohio University and earned a master’s degree in public administration at The George Washington University.

As the new chair for the Chamber’s government affairs steering committee, Benham will collaborate with the 40-member committee to evaluate and provide recommendations regarding public policy issues affecting business owners in the region. Benham also will be involved in the Chamber’s annual Government Day event, which connects business leaders and policymakers to discuss issues that are important to the economic growth and development of the Columbus Region.