Meet Lin Browning, Chamber president

Written by Penny Randell on .

Most folks here in Evergreen know her as Lin, but years ago she experimented with different first names, searching for one that truly fit. In that her birth title is Malinda, she eventually settled on Lin, despite the fact that she had tried a few others in between. She says that for years she went by the name of Mindy, but was never comfortable with the choice. She even considered Jo for a while. Today she often teases and enjoys telling people that she was adopted and raised by Chinese parents who were the ones that attached the three-letter name of Lin.

Whatever you may call her, know for a fact that Lin Browning is one dedicated and progressive woman who stops at nothing to get the job done. As president of the Evergreen Chamber of Commerce for four years now, she consistently promotes Evergreen with the energy of a raging bull. When applying for the position, Lin was flown to Colorado for an in-person meeting after her primary phone interview. Beating out 60 other applicants, she literally wowed the Chamber hiring committee with her zest and vision for change.

Early on, she began insisting that people here “Buy local. Buy Evergreen,” and has made this her mantra from the get-go. Her contagious adoration for the town was seemingly instantaneous and has never lessened. Most recently her passion for shopping here and only here lead to the adoption of a green tee shirt that advertises this same mantra loud and clear.

Lin’s allegiance to Evergreen is truly noteworthy, for she spent more than half her life in central Los Angeles. She confesses that she always knew existence would be more gratifying in a small town and remembers with great affection her grandparents’ time-share in the mountains near L.A. This is where she often spent her summers and dreamed of moving to a smaller community; preferably in the mountains. By the age of 23 she was done with “big city” living and moved to Angel Fire, New Mexico with her husband. It was there that she first became interested in Chamber involvement, which ultimately led to her first position of president.

But Lin’s other job, which she holds most dear to this day, is one that surpasses any professional commitments--no matter what. She’s mom to two “precious” boys, Lucas and Lexiss, that “light up her life.” Now single, with absolutely no spare time during the week, she reports that weekends are off limits to work and belong only to her kids. Saturday is spent running errands, cleaning and preparing for the week ahead. Sunday is regarded as a special day and usually consists of an outdoor adventure, followed by a trip to the library. She has thoughtfully handed her passion for learning down to her boys and never misses an opportunity to encourage it. Besides the kids, Lin has two Boxer dogs rescued in New Mexico. The boys, the dogs and a faithful roommate complete the family unit.

Although difficult to imagine, Lin considers herself to be an introvert. She tells stories of extreme shyness and the uphill task she tackles while working in such a high-profile position. For example, she will attend activities at the lake house, such as the Wednesday night fests, but says she really only goes to pet the other people’s dogs. Accepting it as her job to stay abreast of everything within the community, she makes every effort to shun her natural instincts and embrace a leadership role. In fact, Lin states that it was her previous teaching career that initially prepared her for a governing position, and is the basis for the confidence she maintains in her work today.

Lin recalls her grandmother with great affection and says she did more than provide a mountain escape. Her encouragement for higher learning established a pathway for a richer understanding of life in general and set the wheels of education in motion. Beginning with a major in theology and a minor in psychology, Lin set about on a journey to understand her place in the world. Although these studies were not the end components of her degree plan, she says they led to a deeper cognition of God. Her interests of such evolved rapidly and she found herself constantly inspired by deeply personal thoughts of “unknown origin.” Because she believes in universal laws and a non-traditional god, she does not assume that she is the master of her own universe. Instead, she says it is a combination of the two, with further consideration of the people who fill her life. To remind herself to stay between the things she can influence and those that are not in her hands, she set her ring tone to Johnny Cash’s “I Walk The Line,” which symbolizes the two avenues of her basic beliefs.

It is significant that Lin’s master’s degree in education was only a beginning. Recently she graduated from the three-year academy of the Western Association of Chamber Executives. When asked if that would be the end of her formal learning, she merely smiled and said, “Not in any way.” She ardently believes that efforts to stay effective and on top of her game would be in vain if not for continuing education. In addition to raising her boys, future plans include earning a certificate in community economic development, which requires years of study and yet another responsibility for this powerhouse of a president. After all … she’s local. She’s Evergreen.