During its annual general meeting and board election on Nov. 17, the Bragg Creek Chamber of Commerce acclaimed incumbent vice-president Sherri Olsen to take the place of current president Kathleen Burk.
The meeting, held at the Bragg Creek Community Centre, kicked off with special guest speakers Kevin Hanson, who is Rocky View County’s councillor for Division 1 (representing Bragg Creek), and Sheena Shilton, the CEO and founder of Elleton Recover Manor – an addictions recovery centre in Cochrane.
During the two-hour meeting, incumbent board members discussed finances and marketing strategies and wrapped up with the assignment of open board positions, including Olsen as the newly appointed president.
“I believe in community and in the power of a strong community,” Olsen said after the meeting. “I like to plug in and contribute and [serving as president] matches my values, so I want to be part of making Bragg Creek a great place to work and live.”
She added her proudest moments serving the Bragg Creek Chamber of Commerce in the prior term as vice-president were working with other board members toward the beautification of Bragg Creek – an initiative that included the installation of art murals and a newly painted welcome sign – as well as the Back to Bragg video campaign in support of local businesses.
“We were a well-oiled machine,” she said of the prior board. “We were a very small group and what was good about that was everybody got to know one another – personalities, strengths, and weaknesses.
“[It] allowed each to shine in their own skillset, which is beautiful.”
She added the prior board set in motion several projects, including video and marketing campaigns, an enhanced website, and a heightened social media presence.
“We have managed to double our followers in a very short period of time by just focusing on creating a better internet presence, and we’ll continue with that,” she said.
Olsen added her goal as president of the Chamber of Commerce will be to continue with the social media and website focus, as well as rebuilding and reconnecting with existing businesses to find out what they need from the chamber, listening to them and working with them to create goals and action plans.
“My personal goal will be to do the walkabout with all the businesses,” she said. “A lot of people know me but there’s actually quite a few new businesses in Bragg, so I’ll focus on reconnecting with the community because COVID-19 kept everyone in their homes.”
She added the chamber acts as a focal point in the community, bringing all the user groups in Bragg Creek together so there is unity and collaboration, working toward common economic goals.
“A lot of us, we’re working in silos, so the [Chamber of Commerce works to] bring our user groups together, like performing arts, Bragg Creek Trails, the community hall, and all the user groups working hard for their own endeavours to gather to see how we can collaborate and communicate better together,” she said.
Olsen said working as a professional-life, career and business coach for the past 25 years has helped her foster communication skills that will serve her well in the presidential capacity.
“My skillset is that of a leader – [I] have the communication skills to listen, explore difficulties, and challenges, and works toward a solution,” she said, adding she is also open-minded and a good listener.
She said aside from her time spent as an entrepreneur, she is embarking on putting together tourism packages for visitors to Bragg Creek and has a side career as a real estate agent.
Olsen said she doesn’t shy away from change or a challenge, and added she is looking forward to the new role.
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