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New executive director of Vision 2030 has big ideas for program
Nivens formerly served as a marketing representative for Northeast Georgia Health System
Meg Nivens, Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce Vision 2030 executive director, plans a website design with Lance Compton, Red Clay Interactive president and CEO Thursday morning at the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce offices.

Meg Nivens is bringing a new energy to Vision 2030.

The Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce named Nivens as the new Vision 2030 executive director at the end of January, and she has big ideas to lead the program as it moves closer to its goals.

"I almost consider it personal because I am a native Gainesvillian, and this is my home. This has always been my home, and I care about this community," she said. "I love the direction that this community is going to go, and we're creating an even better place for my children to grow up and live in."

Vision 2030 started in 2005 when Hall County citizens described the type of community where they'd like to live, work and raise families.

Program coordinators drafted the 15 Big Ideas as action steps to achieve by 2030.

"Right now I'm most excited about bringing enthusiasm to the program, and it's my responsibility as executive director to keep things moving," Nivens said Thursday.

"I'm the facilitator for the different committees that work so hard to make sure our Big Ideas are all actively being worked on."

The Big Ideas incorporate a "community of towns" that embrace leadership, green space, life-long learning and a culture of health and wellness, as well as plans for a high-speed rail and a Gainesville hotel and conference center.

"One of the initiatives I love is this idea of trails and connectivity for all our communities in Hall County. Downtown Gainesville is the center, but that's not all of Hall County," Nivens said.

"I like the idea of all the cities having similar landscapes, downtown areas or walking trails to make this whole community accessible for everybody."

Nivens formerly served as a marketing representative for Northeast Georgia Health System and managed relationships with business and industry in a 14-county area. With Vision 2030, she's looking forward to new steps in technology and web interaction.

"There are so many ways to reach this entire community through our website and social media," she said.

"My goal is to find the people in this community who love it as much as I do and who are willing to work with me to make things happen."

Nivens is stepping into the position after Denise Deal, who served as executive director since 2005.

"I don't think anybody could fill Denise's shoes. She's a remarkable woman who made so many things happen. So in a sense it's a little intimidating to be in her place,"
Nivens said.

"But we both bring a lot to the table, and it's my hope she will stay very involved. I know I will lean on her for guidance and background."

Nivens serves on the Northeast Georgia Medical Center Auxiliary board and as a tri-chairwoman of Marketplace.

She is a Leadership Hall County graduate, former chamber associate director and executive board member of the Gainesville-Hall County Junior League. She's also involved with committee work for Challenged Child and the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce's Beautification and Drugs Don't Work programs.

Heavily involved in volunteer work around the county, Nivens sees her new position as a "natural transition" back into the working world after seven years.

"I was born and raised in Gainesville and Hall County. Though years were spent away at college and living in other communities, ultimately I was drawn back home to the place I love," she said.

"I married Allen, who is also a native Gainesvillian, and our families are here. So it makes it a special connection now that I have children growing up here."

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