A familiar face is back at the helm of the Haliburton Highlands Chamber of Commerce, with Amanda Conn taking on the role of executive director following the departure of Bob Gaudette.

It’s Conn’s second time in the position. She first joined the Chamber in January 2021, staying until April 2022. Since then, she’s been doing some consulting work, most recently with Community Care City of Kawartha Lake’s.

She rejoined the Chamber on a part-time basis late last month, telling The Highlander she’s excited to be back working in the community.

“It’s something a little different, considering we were dealing with a pandemic when I was last here. Now, we have events back up and running… we’re trying to come up with different ways for our members and other business professionals to connect,” Conn said.

Gaudette vacated his role in late April after accepting a position with Pinnguaq’s Makerspace in Lindsay.

With Kirstley Dams maintaining her position as community manager, Conn said she’s confident the Chamber will have a strong presence across the County this summer. The organization has a membership of more than 270 businesses across the Highlands.

Conn said the Chamber is hosting a spring social June 1 from 4 to 7 p.m. at the Dominion Pub in Minden, which she plans to use to reconnect with members. The organization’s AGM will be held over the summer.

While the local labour market isn’t as bad as she remembered when she left 12 months ago, Conn said it’s still a primary focus for the Chamber moving forward.

“We’re trying to figure out new ways to help businesses with some of the challenges they’re facing, especially as we head into our busy period. If there’s anything we can do, we’re here to help,” she said. “We’re focusing a lot right now on job postings, helping some of our members get more eyes on their business and products.

“I’m excited to be back. I’ve been here before, so it won’t be as much of a learning curve as it would for a new person. We have some continuity. I think this gives the Chamber a good foundation as we head into what will be a busy summer,” she said.