Karla Wiens has been unveiled as the new Chief Executive Officer of the Swift Current and District Chamber of Commerce.
Wiens was introduced as the new CEO by Chamber Board Chair Brock Friesen during a media conference this morning.
The Chamber had been without a CEO since the June 23 resignation of previous CEO Clayton Wicks, and Friesen noted a three-person Evaluation Committee reviewed a strong group of candidates.
“Karla brings a lot of qualities that we’re looking for in a CEO,” Friesen said, noting she is a local individual with a strong financial planning background. “We had a lot of candidates come forward, strong candidates too, which made it very difficult to make our decision. But Karla was the one that stood out the most and I think we’re going to get a very good return on our investment here for the Chamber.”
Friesen said the Chamber filled the position quickly in order to organize for a busy fall season.
“During the summer months there’s a lot of preparation that needs to go into certain events, especially SCBEX, it’s a big event for us coming up in October. So we need someone in place that has a solid idea of where we’re going, and we needed to fill that position very quickly,” he said.
Following a just over one month lack of a CEO, Friesen is excited they can get back to building their membership and keep momentum growing for programming like Chamber Chat events and Lunch and Learn opportunities.
“We really need to get our name out to our non-members that haven’t really seen us in the public, going out, pounding the pavement so to speak to the companies and businesses that we haven’t seen yet, get some recognition that way, and I think Karla’s the one to do that.”
Wiens said she was attracted to the Chamber CEO position because of her dealings with clients through her background as a Mortgage Planner.
“The easy answer for me is I love the entrepreneurial mind. I love talking to business people – the innovation, the risk taking, the constant change in the face of their business environments – it’s always interesting conversations. And I firmly believe that a thriving business community is essential for the rest of the community as well to thrive in and continue. And Swift Current is doing a pretty good job so far.”
After Wednesday’s announcement, she is excited for the opportunity to hit the ground running as the new Chamber CEO.
“This is a dream come true for me…to deal with small and big business here in Swift Current is a complete dream come true.”
“I live, eat and breath in Swift Current, and I love to do anything I can to make it a better place to live.”
Wiens said making contact with the Chamber membership is her top priority during her early weeks on the job.
“That’s going to take some time, but I’m eagerly looking forward to sitting down (with them). My goal is to meet and have a conversation with each and every one of our chamber members, and also actively try to recruit new business to belong to the Chamber of Commerce. Because I firmly believe we have a lot to offer. There’s all kinds of opportunities that businesses can take advantage of, if they’re aware of it.”
“I want to ensure that our membership receives value and service,” she said. “I want to know your business stories, what challenges you currently face, so I can address those issues at the municipal, provincial and federal levels.”