/Year of transition for chamber 
Haliburton Highlands Chamber of Commerce manager Jennifer Locke gives her report during the organization's annual general meeting at Carnarvon's Rhubarb restaurant on June 4. /CHAD INGRAM Staff

Year of transition for chamber 

By Chad Ingram

past year has been one of transition for the Haliburton Highlands
Chamber of Commerce,” said chamber president Andrea Strano, as she
greeted members at the organization’s annual general meeting at
Carnarvon’s Rhubarb restaurant on June 4. “We are truly successful when
our members are engaged.”

Strano took the helm from past president
Richard Wannan partway through the presidential term last fall, and
chamber manager Jennifer Locke just celebrated her first anniversary in
her role.
“I’m learning about many of your businesses, I’m meeting
your families, I’m hearing your stories,” Locke said. “I’m learning
about community economic development and how the chamber can contribute
to that.”

Throughout the past year, the chamber has continued to
expand its social media reach, host events and sign up new members,
Locke told the room.
“We worked this year to foster and build relationships to improve the chamber’s profile,” she said.
spring, the chamber launched its Buy Close By campaign, which educates
residents on the benefits of and promotes the practice of shopping
“It’s been successful, and work on that program continues to this day,” Locke said.

highlight for the chamber was the recent launch of a workforce
development video, designed to attract employers, employees and
entrepreneurs to the Highlands. That project was funded through the
County of Haliburton and the province’s RED (rural economic development)
program, and Locke said the video has received tens of thousands of
online views.

The chamber’s 13th annual business and community
achievement awards gala saw a record 88 member businesses involved in
making the event happen. The chamber ended the fiscal year with a
surplus with a balance of some $106,000 in the bank. Strano credited
chamber staff for working to find ways to reduce costs while increasing
revenues, and thanked Locke for her work during the past year.
“I appreciate her passion, commitment and hard work on all levels,” Strano said.
Strano and Locke both thanked administrative assistant Angela Jones, as well as committee volunteers and board members.

members elected to the board during Tuesday’s meeting include County of
Haliburton tourism director Amanda Virtanen, Rob Berthelot of Sandy
Lane Resort, Emily Keller of K. Brewer Financial Ltd., and Dr. Jennifer
Morrow of the Minden Animal Hospital. They join board directors Strano,
Bram Lebo, Stefan Bjelis, Greg Hebert, Patrick Louch, Joe Cox and Lisa
For more information about the Haliburton Highlands Chamber of Commerce, visit www.haliburtonchamber.com or call 705-457-4700.