Civic-Minded Lori Libhart Heads ECHO, Seffner Chamber Boards
Lori Libhart serves as board president for both the Greater Seffner Area Chamber of Commerce and the Emergency Care Help Organization (ECHO) in Brandon. That’s in addition to her day job, as CEO of LossBusters.
How does one volunteer end up wearing two hats as the board president of two nonprofit organizations in the Greater Brandon area? "It kind of slides up on you," said Lori Libhart, who is doing just that, as president of both the Greater Seffner Area Chamber of Commerce and the Emergency Care Help Organization (ECHO) in Brandon.
For Libhart, helping small businesses grow and helping people in emergency situations are part and parcel of what drives her to be active in the community, across many platforms.
For years, too, she has worked with the Greater Seffner Area Relay For Life, for which she most recently chaired the team development team. For next year's relay, she is assisting with the survivors' dinner.
With her husband, Libby, the two own LL Training and Consultant Group; through Train4Growth and LossBusters the Libharts combine their experiences working in the retail, restaurant, criminal justice, social services and education sectors to provide best-practice solutions to businesses in both employee training and loss prevention.
The two also run a no-strings, no-fees attached networking group, Plant City Connections, which meets 8 a.m. Tuesdays at the Ends of the Earth Cafe in Plant City.
"I just don't get why small business [owners] would pay somebody else for the opportunity to meet with other small business [owners]," Libhart said. "They should spend that money buying things from other businesses at the local level. If you have a store in a shopping center you should walk out and meet your business neighbors."
It's that spirit of camaraderie that underlies the work of the membership-driven, modestly priced Greater Seffner Area Chamber of Commerce, and Libhart is doing her part to help move that effort along.
She also is president of ECHO at a time when the food pantry and clothes closet has extended its mission to include a client center, for helping people in emergency situations get a broader range of eduation and social services assistance.
Lori Libhart woks with the schools, too, as a Career Pathways counselor, helping students in adult education figure out their next steps after obtaining their GED, high school equivalency diplomas.
"We need to get people working, earning sustainable wages and being stable," she said.
"Basic needs are where you have to begin," she added. "You're not going to be able to work with folks if they have to worry about food and clothing and shelter."