I'm trying something new this year, my 20th year in business.
Most of my prior work has been at a strategic or analytical level, meaning that once I finish my work I hand off a report or finish a presentation and my work is done. But I've decided to get my hands dirty this year by taking on a management role with a business retention & expansion (BRE) program in Ucluelet.
The local Chamber of Commerce was seeking a new mission after giving up its former tourism promotion function, which was spun off as the stand-alone Tourism Ucluelet. That new mission is economic development, and due to the incredible work of former Board member Ursula Banke, funding applications to the BC Rural Dividend Program and Island Coastal Economic Trust to fund the first year of a new program were successful.
After the Chamber had difficulty finding an appropriate person to take the management position on a one-year term, I agreed to do it as a part-time contract. We've hired a full-time project facilitator (Joseph Rotenberg) who is doing most of the on-the-ground work and the Chamber has an incredible newish Office Manager (Lara Kemps), who is also chipping in.
What appeals to me about this project is the opportunity to put into practice some of the things I've been recommending to communities for years. But also, the opportunity to learn more about what works and what doesn't, which will also enhance my future consulting work.
I've got a monthly column in the local newspaper in Ucluelet that unfortunately is not online, but I'll provide updates here and locally as the project proceeds. It's really not that hard to get me to spend more time in Ucluelet - I mean, have a look at this place: