Skip to content

Estevan chamber director is to focus on creative and consulting endeavours

The current executive director Jackie Wall announced that she will finish out her contract, which ends Dec. 31. The board will be seeking a new executive director for 2025.
Estevan Chamber of Commerce executive director Jackie Wall, middle, pictured accepting a national chamber award in 2022, has announced she will finish out her contract at the end of the year. File photo

ESTEVAN — The Estevan Chamber of Commerce will be undergoing a leadership change at the end of 2024.

The current executive director Jackie Wall announced that she will finish out her contract, which ends Dec. 31. The board will be seeking a new executive director for 2025.

"I am looking forward to focusing on the creative endeavours that have been developing in my art studio, like publishing more books, creating original artwork, expanding my e-commerce product line, and instructing artisan workshops. I will also be expanding my consulting company to further support organizations and businesses through workshops, creative coaching and strategic doing," Wall shared in an interview with Mercury and SaskToday.

Wall has been an integral part of the chamber's leadership team since June 2015.

"I was fairly new to Estevan and I was looking for new opportunities," Wall recalled. "I do have a bachelor of commerce degree, so I've always been interested in business. I've owned my businesses and I had always thought that I would have the right skill set for being the executive director of a chamber. So, when the job posting came up, I applied for it."

Through almost nine years at the helm of the local chamber, Wall and the local business community encountered different states of the local economy.

"Oil plummeted just shortly before I came in, so I knew it was going to be a huge challenge within the community as to how we were going to move forward in regards to the boom and bust cycle of oil and gas. Everyone, of course, was hopeful that oil was going to recover quickly. But as we know, that didn't happen," Wall said, recalling her early years with the chamber.

"The chamber was also undergoing a lot of changes at that time. It was one of the first ones to discover that we were looking at the end-of-life for the power units. And we started asking SaskPower questions as to what their plans were moving forward. This was even before the GHG [greenhouse gas] legislation.

"So, the chamber has always been very proactive in watching our economy and looking at ways to advocate for the community and to collaborate to move our economy forward."

Wall's contributions have significantly impacted the local business community. Her professional leadership has been recognized beyond Estevan. She was celebrated as the Executive of the Year for chambers with fewer than 500 members by the Chamber of Commerce Executives of Canada during the Canadian Chamber of Commerce's national convention in Ottawa in October 2022. A few weeks later, Wall received the Queen Elizabeth II Platinum Jubilee Medal for her outstanding service in economic development.

During her tenure, Wall has overseen several key initiatives. The Estevan chamber membership grew to be one of the strongest in the country, with a retention rate and membership per capita higher than the national average. She helped build a strong organization that operates with financial and administrative sustainability. Wall played a pivotal role in addressing future energy needs in the region.

She also forged strategic relationships, provincially and federally, with governments, the Saskatchewan and Canadian chambers of commerce, and key stakeholders. Wall also served as a director on the Saskatchewan Economic Development Alliance board and executive for eight years. Also, she worked collaboratively with the City of Estevan, the RM of Estevan and local organizations during challenging times to drive economic resiliency and support the membership.

Current chamber president Sheena Onrait expressed her gratitude for Wall's leadership.

"The Estevan Chamber of Commerce has been very fortunate to have Jackie at the helm for the past number of years. Her dedication and vision have positioned our chamber well, both in terms of membership growth and regional influence," Onrait said.

Wall is grateful for her time with the Estevan chamber.

"For nearly nine years it has been my pleasure to serve the membership of the Estevan Chamber of Commerce. It has been a true honour to represent the chamber and our community on a provincial and federal scale. The Estevan chamber has been serving this community for 120 years and is in a strong position to continue that legacy," Wall said.

"It's been really exciting nine years of growth for me professionally. I've learned so much, but the biggest thing was getting to know so many people in the community.

"I will still be around, I will just be serving in a different capacity," she added.

Wall noted that while the next years are going to bring many changes, she is confident the chamber is in good shape to support membership in challenges and opportunities coming Estevan's way.

"There are many opportunities that could be happening very shortly. This is the year where we're supposed to get the announcement that we're going to get the [small modular reactor] nuclear facilities. Several other projects are being put forward and developing. I like to focus on what is possible, and how we can work to collaborate to bring people together," Wall said. "That was a huge part of bringing Coffee Talk into the chamber. So, I would just encourage everyone to have honest, positive and collaborative conversations to move our community forward.

"It's going to take everyone to move things forward and to make changes. … I would encourage people if they have questions, or if they have ideas, go to the economic development office, come to the chamber. The more ideas and the more collaboration we have, the better our community is positioned."

The chamber board is in the midst of a strategic planning process. The recruitment process will commence after the annual general meeting and will be led by incoming board president Denise Taylor and vice president Tania Hlohovsky Andrist.

Wall said she will be assisting the board with the leadership transition.

"I am so passionate about the chamber that I really do want to work with the board and, of course, the new executive director to make sure that they feel confident and comfortable as they move into the position. So, how ever I can serve that, that is really what I want to do," Wall added.

The AGM is scheduled for March 20.