Lori Pepenella returns to the Long Beach Island regional chamber as the first CEO in the business organization’s 102 year history to continue its tradition of economic advocacy and tourism promotion.

“We know change is evident. The chamber needs a new vision, new goals, new direction.”
— Incoming President Jillian Panzone Elsasser

Lori Pepenella, CDME, has been appointed as Chief Executive Officer to the Southern Ocean County Chamber of Commerce, which has served Long Beach Island, Stafford Township, Barnegat, Waretown, Forked River, Tuckerton and Little Egg Harbor as a business resource since its founding in 1914. As one of the top chambers in the state, there have been several Executive Directors that have headed the organization in the past. This new CEO position will combine chamber operations with State of NJ Destination Marketing Organization grant compliance to promote tourism in the region, as well as work alongside the board to establish their three year strategic plan, titled Vision 2020. The iconic business group runs one of the East Coast’s most popular food festivals, Chowderfest; hosts regional business meetings, as well as operates a fully staffed information center throughout the year.

Lori Pepenella at LBI's ChowderFest
Lori Pepenella at LBI’s ChowderFest

Pepenella served as the chamber’s Destination Marketing & Communications Director since 2008, where she implemented the organization’s award winning initiatives including the Wedding Road Show, Beyond the Beach and LBI Region Report programming from funding she earned through the NJ Division of Travel and Tourism competitive DMO Grant program. She also led the chamber to be one of three globally accredited Destination Marketing Organizations within the state. In 2014, in honor of Southern Ocean Chamber 100th Anniversary, Pepenella oversaw the Regional Economic Development Council which led a two-year research project along with key stakeholders, to identify how the chamber can adapt to best serve the changing business community leading into 2020. Lori stepped down earlier this year taking on the position of Director of Community Development for Girl Scouts of the Jersey Shore, where she is a life time member and past Woman of Achievement. Pepenella will begin her post later this month and will remain involved as an Executive Member of Ocean County Tourism & Business Advisory Board, Military Support Committee for the Joint Base McGuire Dix Lakehurst, Ocean County College 100 Women Campaign and as a commissioner for Ocean County Culture & Heritage.

Incoming President Jillian Panzone Elsasser stated “We know change is evident. The chamber needs a new vision, new goals, new direction. The way we do business has changed the past 102 years and now is the time for us to adapt. The most reasonable answer to accomplish everything we are setting out to do was to hire a CEO and for us, Lori was the only fit for this position. The board of directors and members are thrilled to have her back and we are all eager to get back to work together”

The board will be working this fall to complete the first phase of their Vision 2020 plan, which will be ready to roll out in 2017; this will feature new programs and opportunities that will enable business success in the 21st century standard.

To find out more about Southern Ocean County Chamber of Commerce, go to, call (609)494-7211, stop into their offices at 265 West Ninth St Ship Bottom, or follow them on social as Southern Ocean Chamber and LBI Region. For more information on the Regional Business Development plan visit


  1. A great choice. Lori Pepenella brings a wealth of knowledge, experience and expertise to the position.


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