Nancy Hinthorne Of SWKC Chamber Named Interim Head Of Discover Burien

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Story by Janet Grella
Photo by Mark Neuman

Not missing a beat between outgoing Discover Burien Executive Director Steve Gilbert on Monday (Feb. 28) and his replacement, Lori Alden, President of the Board of Directors of Discover Burien (DB), has confirmed that the Board has appointed Nancy Hinthorne as the Interim Executive Director of DB.

I sat down with Nancy and Lori at a lunch at 909 on Wednesday (March 2) to find out what’s up with this appointment.

The DB Board voted Nancy into the Interim position in their last meeting on Feb. 9. She resigned from her DB Board position March 1, but she was going to step down later this spring, as her term expired in April.

You could call Nancy’s appointment “serendipitous!” – Nancy has been not only the President/CEO of the Southwest King County Chamber of Commerce (SWKCC) for the past 12 years, she’s been on the Board of DB “since before it was Discover Burien.” A few years ago, when Nancy’s husband proposed to her, he asked if she would retire from her post at the Chamber so they could travel and to change her name to Hinthorne (from Damon)…and she did!

Her last day at the SWKCC is April 15. Husband Dick’s final day at his job is the end of this year. Timing being everything, Nancy will soon have some time on her hands to take over the helm of DB. As as matter of fact, Nancy’s already started keeping up with the immediate needs of DB on her own time.

“No phone call or email will go unanswered during the transition,” she explained.

Nancy has 25 years of non-profit experience, including the Chamber, East King County Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Bellevue Downtown Association where she left after 11 years, and was by then the Executive Vice President.

According to Lori Alden:

“She not only brings years of hands-on experience in growing and managing non-profit associations, serving businesses and business development, but she brings a wealth of knowledge in systems analysis, operations reviews, board procedures and more. Nancy will devote much of her time to developing and managing new and streamlined operations and procedures for DB.”

Nancy has promised the Board at least a year of her “retirement” time to serve DB as its Interim Director. “I’m here as long as they need me,” she added. “Whatever it takes to devote the equivalent of 40 hours per month to the DB cause!”

In the meantime, Nancy is interviewing candidates for the new position of Administrator Coordinator for DB. A person who is skilled in computers, social networking and who can be in the office from 10am-3pm Monday-Friday with extra time as required is the person she and the board are seeking. Interviewing started March 3rd, and expect an announcement soon on BTB.

Of course Nancy will work on growing the membership, will be active in the business community, attend more meetings than humanly possible…and just hang with the Burien community that she has served so long and well as both our Chamber President/CEO and DB Board member.

And what does Nancy want to see happen in the near future for DB? “Get more promotional materials out to the community around us, to our neighboring communities.”

Before Nancy takes the helm at DB, she wants to remind our Readers and all DB members that elections for new members is – according to the by-laws of DB – the fourth Tuesday of April. DB will be making more announcements on this election on BTB and their website (, but in the meantime mark your calendar for April 26th to vote for new members. One representative from each member business can vote. If you want to run for election, send your interest to Nancy at [email protected].

As for the travel she and her husband Dick plan, the first is a trip to Hawaii for a family friend’s wedding. Then they’re off to Washington D.C. And the really big, just to die for trip is a sailing cruise around the Greek Islands. She assured us there are no pirates lurking about these waters!

And Burien-ites, fear not – the Chamber will continue to be in charge of the ever-popular Independence Day Parade in Burien. Plans are already underway and applications are starting to trickle in. And who knows, you might even see Nancy marching in the parade with Discover Burien this year.

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