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Prospective Board Director Questionaire 2022

Please find below additional information about the Board of Director Candidates.

( * ) denotes current Board Members seeking re-election.

Courtney Baxter

Image of Courtney Baxter
Position | Manager, Marketing
Business | Westman Communications Group

Why do you want to join the Board of Directors at the Brandon Chamber of Commerce?
I have had the privilege of spending more than 20 years living in Brandon. I grew up here and was happy to return after university in 2015 to work for Westman Communications Group (WCG), a successful and growing local organization. WCG values a strong focus on community, and I have played a key role in driving forward momentum in their support efforts. Strong leadership in any organization drives forward momentum. The business community needs a voice, not only in Brandon and Southwest Manitoba, but also in our larger communities provincially, nationally, and globally. I want to be a part of that momentum and a part of that voice.

What experience do you have that qualifies you to be a Director with the Brandon Chamber of Commerce? Where canyou add value to the board and to the membership?
As the Marketing Manager, I have had the opportunity to prime the growth marketing strategy for WCG. I have navigated challenges and seen success, and these experiences can add value through new ideas for expansion and development strategies for the Chamber membership. Diversity on any leadership team, whether it be age, gender, education, industry, or size of business adds greatly to the depth of considerations by any board. It expands the connections between the Chamber and the organizations it represents and provides increased representation and value for the Chamber fees paid by the members. I believe that as a young female manager at a large Brandon-based business, with social advocacy and arts involvement, and my desire to be a part of my community leadership, I would be an excellent addition to the Chamber Board.

Describe your passion for Brandon & area business, and your desire to help our economy continue to grow.
Our focus at WCG for the past several years has been the expansion of our Internet services to underserved communities. Whether it is in Brandon or the surrounding rural area, the importance of broadband has become increasingly apparent. It’s essential to education, remote work, and business growth. High-speed internet promotes long-term growth and sustainability for our communities and businesses, and a digital presence allows our local businesses to reach their current market and discover new markets near and far. Broadband connectivity has become a passion point of mine in terms of community growth, but it is not the only factor, and I aim to bring my leadership, marketing, and community activism experience to the Board to further promote growth as we continue to navigate the effects of this challenging pandemic together.

Tell us something fun & interesting about yourself! What do you like to do for fun?
I grew up in the Brandon arts community and danced for several years during my youth with the Brandon School of Dance and Brandon Dance Ensemble. That passion for the arts never stopped, nor did my love for being a part of the Brandon community, so even in my university years while living in Winnipeg, I drove back every weekend to teach classes at the Brandon School of Dance. When I moved back to Brandon, I spent time on the Ensemble Board and was Artistic Director for a year. Being a part of the arts community and watching the growth and development of each of my students has been a highlight for me and the reason I committed as much time as I did to this part of my life!

Industry: Media/Communications

Skills & Experience:
Post-Secondary Education, Previous Board Experience (Brandon Dance Ensemble), Previous Volunteer Experience (YWCA Brandon, United Way).

Primary Skillset:
Communications/Public Relations, Fundraising, Marketing/Promotions/Social Media, Product Development/Management, Public Speaking, Sales, Strategic Thinking/Planning.

Emelio Brown

Image of Emelio Brown
Position | CEO l Client Success Manager
Business | IntriTech Digital Marketing l Juggernaut Computers

Why do you want to join the Board of Directors at the Brandon Chamber of Commerce?
I have started my own business from the ground up with direct support from the local business community and the Brandon Chamber of Commerce. Starting a business can be very challenging and I would love the opportunity to help other businesses thrive and overcome these challenges. Being a board member at the Brandon Chamber of Commerce would put me in a position to serve and promote local economic development.

What experience do you have that qualifies you to be a Director with the Brandon Chamber of Commerce? Where can you add value to the board and to the membership?
I am the CEO of IntriTech Digital Marketing and Juggernaut Computers. In addition to that, I am also a director at the Rural Manitoba Economic Development Corporation. Technology plays an integral part in the contemporary business environment and can be the difference between success or failure with the inevitable changes in the way how we do business. With my expertise in technical strategic development, I will bring my knowledge of the tech industry and current growth trends.

Describe your passion for Brandon & area business, and your desire to help our economy continue to grow.
The Brandon business community is very sentimental to me as a new entrepreneur, and I am proud to create my business roots here. My passion is fueled by the many ways in which the local businesses support Brandonites directly and indirectly. This includes fostering entrepreneurial activities which result in job creation, a higher standard of living, and building a strong community identity.

Tell us something fun & interesting about yourself! What do you like to do for fun?
In my spare time I love to spend as much time outside as possible. This includes playing soccer, biking, hiking, and traveling.

Industry: Media/Communications, Services – Business/Other/Technology

Skills & Experience:
Post-Secondary Education, Business Ownership, Previous Board Experience (Rural Manitoba Economic Development Corporation).

Primary Skillset:
Board Governance, Business Operation, Communications/Public Relations, Community/Economic Development, Fundraising, Marketing/Promotions/Social Media, Sales, Strategic Thinking/Planning, Technology/IT.

Chris Coulter

Image of Chris Coulter
Position | Office Manager/Partner/Sales Associate
Business | Royal LePage Martin Liberty Realty

Why do you want to join the Board of Directors at the Brandon Chamber of Commerce?
I would like to be more involved in community. It is very important to me as a business owner & resident of the city that we are working together to continue to help our city grow & be a great place to work & live in.

What experience do you have that qualifies you to be a Director with the Brandon Chamber of Commerce? Where can you add value to the board and to the membership?
Being a partner here at Royal LePage I have experience with business development, training, and creating/maintaining a successful atmosphere. Born & raised in Brandon I have worked with many other business owners & have good relationships with the majority of Brandon’s business owners.

Describe your passion for Brandon & area business, and your desire to help our economy continue to grow.
I believe strongly that our city can reach it’s highest potential with the generational business owners, and also the work ethic of new Canadians that have chosen our city to live & work in. I look forward to the opportunity to work towards successful growth in our city.

Tell us something fun & interesting about yourself! What do you like to do for fun?
I am married to my husband Dale for almost 29 years, & we have one son Tyler. We enjoy travelling to watch our son play professional hockey in the winters & you’ll likely find me on the golf course in the summertime!

Industry: Real Estate/Development

Skills & Experience:
Post-Secondary Education, Business Ownership

Primary Skillset:
Business Operation, Communications/Public Relations, Marketing/Promotions/Social Media, Sales.

Andrea Epp*

Image of Andrea Epp*
Position | Owner/Lawyer
Business | Epp Law Office

Why do you want to join the Board of Directors at the Brandon Chamber of Commerce?
I have a passion for this community and I think it is important to assist the Chamber in the work that they do to support and promote business in this community.

What experience do you have that qualifies you to be a Director with the Brandon Chamber of Commerce? Where can you add value to the board and to the membership?
I am a business owner and have been a part of the community for over 20 years. My legal background will also be an asset to the board when it comes to policy review and potential liability issues.

Describe your passion for Brandon & area business, and your desire to help our economy continue to grow.
I have seen the landscape of business in Brandon change significantly over the past few years to embrace technology and diversity. This is an exciting time for business owners to embrace their creativity and individuality and I am so excited to see that continue and develop. The people in Brandon should be very proud of the global impact that our small community has made in recent years and I look forward to witnessing how that will continue to grow in the future.

Tell us something fun & interesting about yourself! What do you like to do for fun?
I like to keep busy and I love to learn which means that I have enrolled in some interesting classes over the and have gained some interesting skills. From woodworking to mukluk making, and even learning some Spanish!

Industry: Professional – Legal/CPA/Financial Advisors

Skills & Experience:
Post-secondary education, Business Ownership, Previous Board Experience (Brandon Area Community Foundation, Crime Stoppers, Helping Hands).

Primary Skillset:
Legal, Fundraising, Business Operation, Advocacy/Lobbying/Policy Development.

Samantha Falloon

Image of Samantha Falloon
Position | Managing Partner
Business | Myphone.ca l TELUS & KOODO Authorized Dealer

Why do you want to join the Board of Directors at the Brandon Chamber of Commerce?
I’m passionate about small business in our community. I’d like to connect with other owners and understand others issues and how we can improve overall. I’d like to be a part of supporting and improving our business community.

What experience do you have that qualifies you to be a Director with the Brandon Chamber of Commerce? Where can you add value to the board and to the membership?
Running a telecommunications company in Westman has given me the unique experience of running a small local organization while be connected with a National organization. I gain insight from both TELUS but also business owners across Canada.

Describe your passion for Brandon & area business, and your desire to help our economy continue to grow.
Small business is the backbone of our community, it creates jobs, supports families and reinvests back into the community. Supporting locally owned business in Brandon is supporting the community at large.

Tell us something fun & interesting about yourself! What do you like to do for fun?
I’m always up for something fun and love to try new things.

Industry: Commercial/Retail/Wholesale

Skills & Experience:
Post-secondary education, Business Ownership, Previous Board Experience

Primary Skillset:
Business Operation, Sales, Human Resources, Technology/IT.

Chris Finley*

Image of Chris Finley*
Position | V.P. Parts, Service, Precision
Business | Mazergroup

Why do you want to join the Board of Directors at the Brandon Chamber of Commerce?
I felt it would be a great opportunity to work alongside some wonderful people, to learn, and to support the Brandon business community. Having been on the board for the past 2 years, I’ve really developed an even greater appreciation for the Chamber and the value it provides our members. It’s been a wonderful experience, and I would appreciate the opportunity to continue for another term.

What experience do you have that qualifies you to be a Director with the Brandon Chamber of Commerce? Where can you add value to the board and to the membership?
I have been a dedicated director on the chamber board. There are only a few people that get this opportunity, so I don’t take it lightly. For the past 2 years, I have chaired the Workforce Alignment Committee as the only non-executive member to chair a committee. Through my role on the WFA committee, I also joined the IANE board (Interprovincial Association of Native Employment) to help support indigenous employment in Westman. As Vice President of Mazergroup, I feel that my experience in business and agriculture is a valuable asset to the board and our membership.

Describe your passion for Brandon & area business, and your desire to help our economy continue to grow.
I am born and raised in Brandon. My wife owns a small business in town. It’s such a great place to live, work, and raise a family. My desire to help the city and our economy has grown with my experience on the chamber and witnessing the difficulties so many businesses had these past 2 years. You really get to see first-hand the value of the chamber and the importance of the work we need to do moving forward in a post-pandemic economy.

Tell us something fun & interesting about yourself! What do you like to do for fun?
I’m pretty tall. Since my entire first year on the chamber was on Zoom meetings, a number of people were quite surprised to learn that I’m 6 and a half feet tall. My idea of fun is attending all of the wonderful (now in-person) chamber events of course! In addition to that, I have 2 young kids, so being active and outside with them is my happy place; Hiking, biking, swimming, boating, and playing sports.

Industry: Agriculture, Commercial/Retail/Wholesale.

Skills & Experience: Post-secondary education, Business Ownership, Previous Board Experience

Primary Skillset:
Accounting/Budgeting/Finance, Business Operation, Communication/Public Relations, Human Resources, Marketing/Promotions/Social Media, Public Speaking, Sales, Strategic Thinking/Planning.

Andrew Palmer

Image of Andrew Palmer
Position | Owner
Business | PBC Multi Media

Why do you want to join the Board of Directors at the Brandon Chamber of Commerce?
I’m here to work. My goal, if elected, is to be ever growing the membership, to regularly reach out to individual members, being accessible to everyone, to listen, to speak out, and to go the extra mile.

What experience do you have that qualifies you to be a Director with the Brandon Chamber of Commerce? Where can you add value to the board and to the membership?
I feel I have a lot to offer, and am excited to apply all that I have to help the chamber and its membership. Here’s a brief outline of my experience:
1) I’m a graduate of the University of Manitoba, with a Bachelor of Commerce (Honours) degree, and of Assiniboine Community College, with a Business Administration Diploma. In addition, I’m currently enrolled in Brigham Young University’s Bachelor of Applied Science of Applied Technology program.
2) I’ve served approximately 25 years in various leadership capacities with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In this capacity, I’ve helped in everything from community outreach to ministerial leadership and administrative support at both the local and regional levels of the organization.
3) I’m currently a Director on the Board for the Association of Directory Publishers, the first Canadian to ever have been nominated to serve in this worldwide organization. In this capacity, I’ve helped build, brand, and launch new products and services, assisted in membership development and more.
4) I’m the owner of PBC Multi Media, Manitoba’s Leader in Search. Our Brandon-based team has been serving the Westman area since 1996, assisting businesses of all shapes and sizes in connecting with their communities. As such, it’s been my mission and privilege to speak directly (and most often in person) with thousands of business owners in the local area, hearing and understanding of the individual trials and successes they’ve experienced.
5) I’m a family man. And that helps me keep my head screwed on straight, and my feet planted firmly on the ground.

Describe your passion for Brandon & area business, and your desire to help our economy continue to grow.
A strong business climate is a hallmark of a successful, vibrant society, benefiting every member of the community in innumerable ways. For example, when local businesses and the economy are doing well, philanthropic giving excels and employment opportunities expand, and mental health and happiness tend to follow. I want to help Brandon’s economy to continue to grow by serving on the Chamber board because Brandon’s worth it. This is an awesome place to live, to raise a family, and our community provides so many opportunities for happiness and success. In short, I feel the slogan from the tourism board got it right: “Brandon brings you back.” I also feel much of that is thanks to the entrepreneurially-minded business owners and their managers who’ve given so much to the benefit of all.

Tell us something fun & interesting about yourself! What do you like to do for fun?
Since the beginning of the year, I’ve been heading a pilot project using some extraordinarily powerful SEO (Search Engine Optimization) software. If successful, it will be rolled out to 20,000 locations, benefiting a worldwide audience. When I’m not visiting with a client or sitting in front of a computer, I enjoy playing games with my wife and four kids, doing fun stuff with our church group, and going on vacations. (Disney’s next on the list 🙂

Industry: Commercial/Retail/Wholesale, Media/Communications, Services – Business/Other/Technology

Skills & Experience:
Post-secondary education, Business Ownership, Previous Board Experience (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Association of Directory Publishers, JustServe.org, Brandon Family YMCA, Portage Youth Soccer Association

Primary Skillset:
Business Operation, Communications/Public Relations, Community/Economic Development, Marketing/Promotions/Social Media, Public Speaking, Sales, Strategic Thinking/Planning, Technology/IT.

Rich Pentney

Image of Rich Pentney
Position | Executive Manager
Business | Murray Chevrolet Cadillac Buick GMC

Why do you want to join the Board of Directors at the Brandon Chamber of Commerce?
I’ve always admired the board of directors for providing their service and guidance in the business community. I never felt like I was in a position to be a part of this, but feel I can provide some value now.

What experience do you have that qualifies you to be a Director with the Brandon Chamber of Commerce? Where can you add value to the board and to the membership?
I joined the auto business in 2000, being a sales person for a decade before joining our management team. In 2020, I became the managing partner of the dealership and have learned how to operate a successful business in a challenging environment. I’m comfortable that I can help provide some insight and knowledge with the board of directors .

Describe your passion for Brandon & area business, and your desire to help our economy continue to grow.
I actually love Brandon. I spend a lot of time in many different area’s and every time I come home, it brings me a sense of pride. Brandon Business is the life blood of our city. Community is important and we need successful businesses to add to the health of our community.

Tell us something fun & interesting about yourself! What do you like to do for fun?
Everything I do is fun. I always bring a positive attitude to anything that I do. My favourite place to spend time with my family is at our cottage at Lake of the Woods. I’m the most unathletic crossfitter you have ever met.

Industry: Commercial/Retail/Wholesale

Skills & Experience:
Post-secondary education, Business Ownership

Primary Skillset:
Business Operation, Marketing/Promotions/Social Media, Product Development/Management, Public Speaking, Sales, Strategic Thinking/Planning.

Lois Ruston*

Image of Lois Ruston*
Position | General Manager
Business | R&M Homes Ltd

Why do you want to join the Board of Directors at the Brandon Chamber of Commerce?
I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my first term on the board, and we have lots of great work to continue! Now, more than ever, our business community needs a strong chamber voice to represent all of our members as we find our way through the “new normal” in the years ahead. There are many challenges, and opportunities, that lie ahead for building our business community and I am hopeful to be re-elected to continue that important work.

What experience do you have that qualifies you to be a Director with the Brandon Chamber of Commerce? Where can you add value to the board and to the membership?
I have served on numerous boards and committees, locally, regionally and provincially and I look forward to bringing that experience from other organizations with regards to governance, organizational development, and future growth to a seat at the Chamber table. Having spent most of my career in the non-profit sector, I gathered experience in tourism development, recreation infrastructure, newcomer and settlement services and community development. I moved into the private sector two years ago, and am now gaining experience from the small business perspective as well. I look forward to lending the knowledge and experience that I have gained throughout my career to building a stronger Chamber of Commerce, and City of Brandon!

Describe your passion for Brandon & area business, and your desire to help our economy continue to grow.
As we forge a new path into the pandemic reality, I am passionate about finding ways that organizations and businesses can reinvent how they do business, and engage with current and potential employees. The workforce and business landscape is changing significantly, and I want to work with other employers to find ways to adjust and flourish into the future. I am also very passionate about economic development opportunities for Brandon and the region, and I look forward to the Chamber participating in initiatives that will grow our community into the future.

Tell us something fun & interesting about yourself! What do you like to do for fun?
We bought kayaks at the outset of the pandemic, and have enjoyed exploring the beautiful lakes and rivers of southwestern Manitoba for the past 2 years. We live in a beautiful region!

Industry: Construction/Architects/Planners

Skills & Experience:
Post-secondary education, Previous Board Experience (Brandon First, Tourism Westman and Travel Manitoba, member of the Rural Northern Immigration Pilot Advisory Committee, and currently a Director of the Brandon Chamber of Commerce.

Primary Skillset:
Business Operation, Community/Economic Development, Government Relations, Public Speaking, Strategic Thinking/Planning.