JULIE BERTRAND/Independent reporter
The Stettler Regional Board of Trade and Community Development is operating with one less employee since April 21.
Executive assistant Gwenda Gravely has decided that it was time for a change and handed in her notice.
“I think there comes a point in time where it’s time for someone else to try their hand at doing the job and see if they can bring some new and exciting ideas to the board of trade’s events,” said Gwenda Gravely.
Having worked her way up over the last five years from office assistant to executive assistant at the board of trade, Gravely was previously a well-established hairstylist in the region for 27 years.
“As a hairstylist, I had sort of reached the point where working with the chemicals was not something that I could move forward with,” said Gravely.
“The Stettler board of trade job was just an opportunity that came up. I applied for it and I got it.”
Working for the board of trade was a good fit for Gravely. Having lived in the Stettler area her entire life, she says she has always valued and taken pride in the community.
“I just think that it’s such a wonderful community to be part of. People here have big hearts,” said Gravely.
During her first month of employment at the board of trade, she was challenged to sell out the trade show.
“I managed to do it and it was always exciting to work towards trying to sell it out earlier and earlier each year,” said Gravely.
“I would go to different shows in different areas and invite people into our community to bring their products.”
While coordinating the board’s events was often her main task, Gravely also used to work for the tourism section.
“Stettler is in a unique position because we are located where we are, and the Alberta Prairie Steam Train is iconic worldwide,” said Gravely.
“When you go to any Travel Alberta industry training, when somebody mentions the steam train, people know what you’re talking about because the advertising has been so well-done.”
Gravely believes that the town is very lucky to have the train.
“We get a lot of people at the tourist office to find out where the train is and what else there is to do in our community,” said Gravely.
“We are cheerleaders for our community. We try to encourage people to stay in our community a little while and check out Main Street and downtown, eat in some of our restaurants and just stick around in our community a little while.”
Her proudest achievement while working at the board has been the trade show. The show has been sold out early every year that she’s been involved.
Even during the economic downturn, they still manage to sell it out.
“I think getting feedback every year helps, not only from the volunteers that have been so kind to involve themselves in the different areas that we need help, but also from the vendors,” said Gravely.
One thing is sure. Gravely will miss her colleagues.
“I’m going to miss the really good relationship I had with my colleagues and the board. I will miss those people,” said Gravely.
“I believe the board of trade will be in very good hands with Keith Ryder and Stacey Benjamin.”
She will now be working at John’s Menswear three days a week, and she will also work as a receptionist Mondays and Fridays at the hair salon One Better Hair Design.
She is looking forward to having more contact with the public.
“I hope that it’s going to be a good fit and I’m excited to go and see how that’s going to go. It will be nice to have a change for a bit,” concluded Gravely.