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Brainerd Lakes Chamber names Kilian CEO

The Brainerd Lakes Chamber announces the selection of Matt Kilian as its new CEO upon recommendation from its CEO Search Committee and unanimous approval by its board of directors.

Lisa Paxton, who has served as the Chamber’s CEO for more than 18 years, announced her resignation in July, effective this December.

The Pequot Lakes and Crosslake chambers are part of the Brainerd Lakes Chamber.

Kilian has 15 years of leadership experience with the Little Falls-based Initiative Foundation, Central Minnesota’s resource for community and economic development. The foundation offers an array of investments and services, including business financing, grants, consulting, and community planning.

“I am honored, to say the very least, to join this team and go from one outstanding organization to another,” Kilian said. “My priority is to earn the trust of the community and ensure that the Brainerd lakes area is a destination not only for tourists but also for business and career opportunities. Lisa built a solid foundation for future growth and success. It’s all of our jobs to take it to the next level.”

The Brainerd Lakes Chamber and the Initiative Foundation organizations are longtime collaborators on various projects, especially with regard to the Chamber’s Bridges Career Academies and Workplace Connection.

Kilian has been employed by the Initiative Foundation since 1998, where he currently leads regional fund development, public relations and marketing activities as vice president for external relations.

In 2003, he directed the creation of IQ Magazine, the foundation’s award-winning quarterly publication. Kilian has a master’s degree in mass communications from St. Cloud State University. He also completed executive training at the Anderson Center for Management and Leadership Development.

He has served in various volunteer leadership roles for the St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce since 1997, including chairing its Marketing Committee from 2009-12.

Kilian will assume his role as CEO with the Brainerd Lakes Chamber in early January.

Denton (Denny) Newman Jr.
I've worked at the Brainerd Dispatch with various duties since Dec. 7, 1983. Starting off as an Ad Designer and currently Director of Audience Development. The Dispatch has been an interesting and challenging place to work. I'm fortunate to have made many friends, both co-workers and customers.
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