Diane Ellis is taking over as the executive director of the St. Paul and District Chamber of Commerce, following the departure of Linda Sallstrom for the STEP (St. Paul Elk Point) Economic Development Alliance.
Ellis is coming out of retirement for the position. While she’s already started at the Chamber, she doesn’t move from St. Albert to St. Paul until next week.
“I didn’t like being retired,” said Ellis. “So I decided to throw my name in and see what happened.”
Ellis said she’s looking forward to getting out and meeting all the business owners and business people in St. Paul and the surrounding areas.
“I have a large interest in the Aboriginal communities around here, both Metis and First Nations. I don’t know people here, but I know people who know people. So I’m looking forward to getting to know them as well, and to bringing them in. A lot of them have businesses and I’d really like to see them be part of the Chamber of Commerce if they aren’t already,” said Ellis.
Her experience before her retirement included 10 years as the publisher of an Aboriginal magazine as well as time in the retail and real estate industries and 31 years working and volunteering with the Alberta Chambers of Commerce.
“But don’t add those all up because I did some of them at the same time,” laughed Ellis.
Asked what the first impressions of St. Paul have been like, Ellis said she used to live in Vermilion and so wasn’t entirely unfamiliar with the region but she was surprised to see so many businesses located right on Highway 29 as you drive through St. Paul.
“To me it’s like coming home even though I’ve never lived here I just feel like I’ve come home. I plan to stay,” said Ellis.
Asked what she’s looking forward to now that she’s here and has a place to live lined up, Ellis said she’s looking forward to attending a rodeo again and would like to get involved with Communities in Bloom.
“I haven’t been involved with that committee for a few years but I see that you have one here so I want to get involved with that, as well as all the other things that the Chamber is involved with. I’d love to see a Rotary Club start-up here one day because it’s a great organization for business people. I’m not going to try to start with the first month I live here, that’s for down the road.”