The resume of the new executive director of the Bedford Area Chamber of Commerce is eclectic enough to cover everything from national and grassroots businesses to non-profits and improvisational comedy.
Chet Harding said the Chamber “should be a conduit for business to support and learn from each other and help each other succeed and grow.”
A graduate of Amherst College, Harding is director of development for Amirah, a non-profit that helps women exit sex trafficking and commercial exploitation in Massachusetts.
In 1997, he co-founded the Boston-based comedy theater Improv Asylum, a relationship that continued for more than 20 years and included positions of CEO and chief marketing officer. He was head writer, director, and executive producer for Improv Asylum’s 2011 “Vanity Project,” a 10-episode original sketch comedy show televised on WCVB.
Harding co-founded Amplified Team Training in Burlington in 2008, a global corporate training company that builds stronger teams and cultures, subsequently working as CEO/managing director and chief marketing officer. He will continue in a consulting role.
“A main tenet of that training is the idea of ‘Yes, And,’ which has a lot to do with listening and working more effectively together,” he explained. “It is a mindset that brings people together and drives better ideas and solutions. I am looking to bring that spirit to the Chamber.”
Also that year, he co-founded No Rest for the Wicked Funny, a non-profit that uses improvisation to work with and fund youth programs, including prison
s and inner-city youth programs.
He also worked as a national advertising manager for Polaroid in the late 1990s and was a recruiter, trainer, and contact developer for the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2020 census.
“My background includes working for larger companies, starting and running my own companies, and developing and supporting non-profit community organizations, which I think matches well with all that Bedford has to offer in terms of the businesses here and the strong community spirit,” Harding said.
“I help by developing resources and partnerships, and I’m looking forward to bringing that same spirit of collaboration to the Chamber,” he continued. “I would also love to infuse a sense of giving back within the community, as I have seen people’s lives change dramatically by those types of efforts.”