Morinville Chamber elects new board

By Morinville News Staff

Morinville – New blood and succession planning were the order of the day Wednesday for the Morinville and District Chamber of Commerce. The business advocacy organization held their general annual meeting, electing the executive for the coming year and adding some new directors to the board.

Heather Folkins of Escape Travel will once again serve the organization as president. Simon Boersma with Pleasant Holmes steps in as vice president. Paula Hittinger of Shelemy Financial remains the group’s treasurer.

Returning directors include Charlene Whitfield of Morinville Blind Designs, Realtor Linda Getzlaf, Sheldon Fingler of Infinite Event Services, The Morinville News Editor Stephen Dafoe, and Deborah Robillard of the Sturgeon Foundation. Joining the board are Legal Councillor and businessman Phil Hughes, Erik Soderstrom of JDR Insurance, Servus Credit Union Manager Kym Moore, Paul Smith from Smith Music, and Champion Petfoods President and CEO Frank Burdzy.

New to the executive, Vice President Simon Boersma said he is looking forward to the opportunity to work together with local businesses and uniting a larger economic area. “I’m really looking forward to another year here,” Boersma said. “I really learned a lot this past year…with respect to what is Chamber and what does it do. The group that we have here in Morinville is just awesome with the businesses.”

Over the past year of involvement with the Chamber, Boersma said he has seen a better working relationship between the organization and the Town of Morinville, something he is looking forward to strengthening. “We’ve gotten acceptability; we’ve gotten feedback, and I love the process,” he said. “Without naming names, we’ve seen some of the people come into the Chamber and sit down with us and realize we are part of Morinville, that we are a business group, and seeing the results. Having been at some of the meetings and working with them, it’s been very positive. I look forward to another year like that.”

Chamber President Heather Folkins is also looking forward to another year. She said she decided to let her name stand for president a second year to create some succession planning whereby new board members would work their way to the presidency rather than the organization recycling directors. “Hopefully it starts a succession plan so you don’t have the same people on the board for years and years and years,” she said. “You get fresh blood and new ideas.”

Folkins said fresh blood is also being seen by the Chamber on the committee currently planning next year’s trade show. “The trade show committee was kind of in the same boat; it was the same people doing things over and over,” Folkins explained. “The ideas get stale. Nobody has fresh ideas. You get tired.” Folkins explained the committee has doubled this year to 10 members and that a succession plan is being implemented at the committee level as well with past members staying on to provide some continuity and mentorship for the new blood.

That new blood has already set in motion a number of ideas at their first meeting. “The meeting today [had] lots of really good fresh ideas,” Folkins said. “I noticed even the former committee members were elaborating on the ideas. With the experience and the new fresh ideas, I think that’s going to make the trade show really good next year.”

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