By LOIS KINDLE
Tanya Doran has a smile that lights up a room. That, her engaging personality and an enduring work ethic make her perfect for the role of executive director of the Greater Riverview Chamber of Commerce, a position she has held since 2008.
“There is no one with more passion for her job and her chamber than Tanya,” said Jill Andrew, of Superior Residences of Brandon Memory Care, a two-time, past chamber president and longtime friend. “She’s fun-loving, warm and understands her influence on the business folks in the area, which she uses to help them be successful.”
Dr. Bryan Thatcher, of Thatcher Properties, the chamber’s 2016 president, agrees.
“She’s one of the most giving, kindest and hard-working people I’ve ever met,” he said. “She always has chamber members first in mind and how she can best help them succeed.”
Tanya Faye (Chapman), as her mother called her, was born in Tallahassee in 1970. The following year, her family moved to Riverview, after her father, Larry, graduated from college and accepted a position as a marine biologist testing the waters surrounding the newly opened TECO Big Bend Plant.
She attended Wimauma Elementary, Eisenhower Middle and East Bay High schools, graduating from the latter in 1988. Then it was on to the University of South Florida for two years.
While attending high school and college Tanya worked for Service Merchandise, where she met Bill Doran. They married in 1991 and had their only son, Kevin, six years later. Now 19, he graduated from Riverview High School and is a student at Hillsborough Community College.
In November 1992, Tanya was offered a full-time position with Merck-Medco. She held positions in the company’s human resources and financial planning departments for 14 years, before leaving to open a small business called American Fun Rentals. She and her husband ran the company together until he took over operations when she was hired by the chamber in 2008. After Bill got a full-time job with the U.S. Postal Service in 2014, the business was closed.
When she first came to the chamber, Tanya had only one part-time employee. The membership was right around 300, she said.
“She took the job knowing the chamber was struggling and there were talks of mergers,” said Andrew, who encouraged her to interview for the executive director’s position. “She was determined, loyal, focused and dedicated. We worked side by side for many long hours (so the chamber could stand on its own).
“It was a tough time,” said Kitty Cunningham, who retired from the chamber when Tanya came on board. “I stayed on for a while to show her the ropes. She grew into the job rather nicely.”
In 2012, the Greater Riverview Chamber organized a membership drive that increased its membership by 45 percent. With the additional operating funds that growth produced, it was able to hire Debbie Kirkland as assistant executive director. The growth has continued ever since.
Today the chamber has well over 600 members, and its office at 10012 Water Works Lane in Riverview is almost outgrown.
“My involvement with and promotion of Riverview comes naturally,” Tanya said. “I genuinely want Riverview to be a prosperous community where people want to live, work and play. Every management decision I make as executive director has that and the chamber’s core values in mind.
“What I enjoy most about my job are the people behind the businesses we deal with,” she added. “Every day is an adventure. There’s always something new.”
Visit the Greater Riverview Chamber of Commerce website at www.riverviewchamber.com.