The Greater Brandon Chamber of Commerce recently added a new president and chair of the board.

The Greater Brandon Chamber of Commerce welcomes President and CEO Diana Simmons to its operational team and Bernadette Pello as the 2020 chairwoman of the board.

Simmons is a longtime Lakeland resident who built a career in college admissions, assisting individuals with finding the right career training programs for the jobs they desired. She served on several boards, becoming a member on the Mulberry Chamber’s board in 2010.

She eventually became its executive director, helping the organization grow and prosper during her four-and-a-half-year tenure. She now brings that knowledge and passion for helping others to the Brandon Chamber.

Her first connection with the chamber occurred when she participated in the Brandon Leadership program when she was the school director for Fortis Institute in Mulberry.

“I find it good fortune that I am able to serve the Brandon community now,” Simmons said. “My goal is to continue to connect business owners to the resources they need to be successful.”

For Pello, her position as 2020 chairwoman of the board is in addition to her career as the president/founder of Livingstone Academy. Her first contact with the chamber was also at a Leadership Brandon program.

“My husband took the class in 2015 and loved it, so I completed the yearlong program in 2017,” she said. “The program benefited me personally and professionally, and when I was asked if I wanted to serve as a board member, I accepted.”

Pello said she knew it was going to be a huge time commitment but was prepared to serve her community. Between the two monthly board meetings, ribbon-cuttings, luncheons and additional committee meetings, her new role keeps her busy.

“I’m at the chamber so often people think I work there, but the sacrifice of my time is worth it because I have a vested interest in making our community better,” said Pello. “We offer the resources to help local businesses prosper,” said Simmons.

The Greater Brandon Chamber of Commerce is located at 1463 Oakfield Dr., Ste. 134. Its hours are Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. and Friday, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. For more information about the chamber or to become a member, call 689-1221 or visit

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Michelle Caceres
MIchelle Caceres has been writing for the Osprey Observer for seventeen years. She enjoys writing human interest pieces about inspiring members of the community who are working to better our community. She lives in FishHawk Ranch with her husband and recently became an empty-nester. When not writing, Michelle is serving her church community, reading and enjoying Florida's weather.