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Estevan chamber and SE College shine light on their strategic plans

Estevan Chamber of Commerce is getting ready to celebrate their 120th anniversary with Southeast Success Summit in May. Details discussed at the AGM.

ESTEVAN — The Estevan Chamber of Commerce summed up the results of 2023 and touched on plans for the near future at the annual general meeting at the Southeast College's Estevan Campus on March 20, with several dozen members present.

The new board of directors was installed at the meeting. Denise Taylor is the new president, Tania Hlohovsky Andrist is the vice-president, Linda Mack is the treasurer, and Twyla Bauman, Ashley Gallaway, Cory Casemore, John Williams and Melanie Tribiger are the directors.

Outgoing president Sheena Onrait thanked the membership, noting it was a good year, marked by engaging events and significant milestones, such as the Estevan Business Excellence Awards, Coffee Talks, and other networking opportunities and discussions.

"I'm confident that our collective efforts will continue to deal progress and prosperity, not only for our members but the broader Estevan community," Onrait said.

Chamber executive director Jackie Wall talked about the chamber's successes in 2023 and their plans for the future. Wall pointed out that engagement and participation continued to be strong, and the membership kept growing.

"The 2023 EBEX Awards saw more nominees than ever," Wall said. "We congratulate all the winners and we look forward to EBEX in 2025."

Other events such as the Farm Family Appreciation Evening and Networking on the Green golf tournament saw strong support as well.

"Your chamber has one of the highest membership rates per capita in the country and one of the strongest retention rates as well," Wall said. "The chamber is also in a very good position financially with a healthy operational reserve fund."

Wall noted the new strategic plan is in the final stages of approval.

"The way the world operates and works has dramatically changed over the past few years, and this strategic plan took a look at how this is impacting our members, how the chamber could better serve the membership, and how we can operate to the best of our capacity. The Estevan chamber operations will look a little different moving forward into 2024-25," Wall said.

She also reminded the guests that the Estevan Chamber of Commerce is celebrating its 120th anniversary this year, and on May 30 they are organizing the Southeast Success Summit. The day will feature two events.

"Join us as we celebrate the southeast with a day of one-hour sessions that will focus on success for our region. Later that evening there will be a 120-anniversary banquet, a special greeting on behalf of our province brought to us by Premier Scott Moe. Registration is now open for both of those events on our website," Wall said.

Mack presented the 2023 financial statement. Revenues were $238,878, including $87,067 for memberships. Expenses were $216,392 for a net income of $22,486.

The guests also listened to a guest presentation by the SE College. Onrait, who is also the VP of communications and strategic enrollment with the college, started the 2023-2028 strategic plan presentation.

"Our strategic plan started with a lot of community consultation, both at our community levels and our staff levels and our government levels as well. It was led by our board of governors and our CEO," Onrait said.

Their vision is "Changing lives, building strong sustainable communities to lead in a changing world." Their mission is "Transforming our communities through innovative educational opportunities."

At SE College, they practise professional ethical conduct, the plan description says, and they are guided by the following core values:

Innovative – proactively and courageously responding to changing needs within an environment that encourages continuous improvement;

Collaborative – creating genuine, meaningful interactions and partnerships that embrace equality, diversity and inclusion to achieve mutual goals and superior outcomes;

Sustainable – supporting economic growth, social well-being and environmental viability through transparent accountability and responsible stewardship.

Guiding principles for the next five years are social, economic and financial, and environmental sustainability.

The college team also introduced three core priorities outlined in the strategic plan.

Jennifer Logel, vice-president of human resources and organizational development, touched on Priority 1: Enhance the organizational culture, which enables the college to better serve their workers, clients and communities across the region.

Dean Loberg, vice-president of academic, teaching, learning and IT, talked about Priority 2: Advance strategic collaboration, which includes deepening relationships and advancing partnerships to better identify emerging trends, understand learning needs and collaborate to develop successful solutions.

Merissa Scarlett, one of the college business and program development consultants, touched on Priority 3: Strengthen community capability, and she talked about micro-credentials and other innovative educational programs and opportunities offered through the college.

More information about the college and their programs can be found on their website at