The Haliburton Highlands Chamber of Commerce has a new executive director to help guide the organization as it navigates the pandemic in 2021.

The chamber announced Jan. 18 that Amanda Conn is taking over the position from Jennifer Locke, who left Jan. 15. With the move, the organization also announced it would undertake a strategic planning process in early 2021.

Conn said she hopes to build on the successes of her predecessor.

“We are certainly looking to continue to be – and strengthen – the voice of business in the Haliburton Highlands,” Conn said.

The new executive director said she has lived in the Highlands full-time for a year. She said her background is in software companies of many different sizes, as well as president of the Brady Lake Ratepayers’ Association.

“The board is excited to work with Amanda and we are confident that the Chamber is in good hands,” president Andrea Strano said. “Under Amanda’s guidance the chamber will be well-positioned to thrive and continue to support our members during these challenging times, and for years to come.”

In a press release, the organization also highlighted its 2020 efforts overseen by Locke, including the chamber partnership initiative to provide a youth wage subsidy and job board, online training, COVID-19 recovery and getting municipal support for an official BuyCloseBy season.

“The board and members are grateful for Jennifer’s hard work, dedication, and progress that she helped the chamber achieve during her time in this role. She has grown and nurtured relationships with leaders and other organizations in our community that will continue to be very beneficial to the success of the chamber,” Strano said.

The chamber is still working out its strategic planning process, but Conn said its role in the pandemic is to communicate effectively with its members.

“Provide as many resources and opportunities as we can,” Conn said. “Looking for different ways we can support our members and really be a strong voice for business.”

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