New Oak Harbor chamber director not content to ride others’ coattails

The former “poster child” for the Oak Harbor Chamber of Commerce is now at its helm.

Miranda Hoppock is a Navy veteran who began her civilian career as a receptionist at Wells Fargo Home Mortgage, worked her way into starting a bank branch in the city and recently was chosen as the new executive director of the Oak Harbor chamber.

She replaced Christine Cribb, who left the position last month. Hoppock’s first day was Oct. 1.

She moved to Whidbey Island in 2006 after coincidentally receiving orders to go to the same air station as a man she’d been dating in Florida. She was an aviation electronics technician and met him at a class leader meeting. He later became her husband and the two have been married for more than 13 years.

After six years active duty and two in the reserves, she left military service when her daughter was diagnosed with cancer. Hoppock stayed home until her daughter was declared cancer free in 2012. That year, she answered an advertisement for a front desk receptionist position.

Mortgages aren’t where she had originally seen her career path leading, but she became motivated to pursue the field after helping sign for a deaf man at his appointment. The feeling of helping someone buy a home was incredibly rewarding, she said.

She moved to Whidbey Island Bank, where she was working when she first got invited to a chamber luncheon. She didn’t know what to expect or really what exactly the chamber did until she went.

At the event, she ran into Cribb, whom she had met through their involvement with Relay for Life. Cribb explained the chamber’s role in supporting and mentoring Oak Harbor businesses.

“I totally got on board,” Hoppock said.

She became an advocate for the organization, a member and later a sponsor.

Last year, she helped start a free program through the chamber for veteran homebuyers. Hoppock said Cribb had deemed her the “poster child” for the organization.

So it wasn’t particularly surprising when Cribb included Hoppock in her list of possible replacements. Hoppock said because of her involvement and passion for the organization, throwing her name in the hat for the position was a “no brainer.”

Hoppock said the chamber is well situated and running smoothly, so she doesn’t have any major changes in mind, but she will be putting her own spin on things.

“I could very easily just sit here and maintain everything that was already put in place,” Hoppock said.

“But that’s not my style, to just kind of ride the coattails.”

She wants to give more attention to the chamber’s “millennial committee” and create a young professionals group. Long term, she hopes to create a stronger connection between businesses and community members. She said she advocates for her members to be more involved and give back to create these relationships.

Hoppock, her husband Jacob and their three children Jeramiah, Jadean and Jemma are outdoor enthusiasts, she said, who enjoy boating, fishing, crabbing and camping.

The family resides in Oak Harbor with a dog, cat and frog.