The Carillon - ONLINE EDITION
By: Grant Burr
Posted: 01/11/2019 8:30 AM
Michelle Bezditny can scratch that interim tag off her title. The Steinbach Chamber of Commerce’s interim executive director was confirmed as the permanent head of the organization on Tuesday.
Bezditny, who first joined the chamber about five years ago in a part-time membership development role, was named interim executive director after Ben Dueck departed in November, after joining the chamber the previous year.
At the time, Bezditny’s interim appointment was to last up to six months. The chamber executive decided this week that the time was right for a more permanent arrangement.
"I’m honoured to serve our business community in this capacity now as executive director," she told The Carillon in an interview yesterday.
"Knowing the Steinbach Chamber of Commerce and Eastman Immigrant Services…I love the business community in Steinbach. I love being able to connect with the business community and also, through Eastman Immigrant Services, connecting with some of our newcomers and recognizing how important immigration has been for Steinbach and how important that relationship for newcomers and our business community is."
She expects to help bring some continuity to the organization following recent changes to staffing and programming. In addition to Dueck’s departure, long-time EIS director Richard Harder also moved on from the organization in the last year.
Bezditny noted she is still drawing on the advice of former executive director Linda Peters, who she called a great mentor.
Her strong roots in the Southeast, growing up on a farm in Randolph and operating a business in the community, give her a good vision for the community she said.
"Just having that foundation of where Steinbach and the Southeast is at as far as heritage, I think is beneficial to the chamber."
While Bezditny says her initial months will be focused on ensuring stability in the organization given some of the recent changes, she sees work on the horizon too when it comes to economic development in Steinbach.
"At the chamber here we believe in partnerships and whatever that looks like for the betterment of the city, the community, the region…so that will be one of the priorities," she said.
The idea of an economic development officer was a hot topic during October’s municipal election. She said she expects those type of discussions will remain a priority.
"We are excited to work together with the City of Steinbach, to partner with them specifically on economic development."
She is also hopeful to see continued growth in relationships between for-profit businesses and not-for-profit organizations in the region.
And, oh yes, she assured this hungry reporter, Burger Week will return too.
The popular chamber-led promotion is expected to return later this year she confirmed. Stomachs at the chamber office are already being prepared.
"We are hoping to be trying a few more burgers that week in 2019," she said.
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