There is adventure in Tanya Oliver’s future.
For nine years Oliver has held her position as executive director of the Bonnyville and District Chamber of Commerce with pride. After almost a decade of serving the community, she is moving on.
“I will definitely miss Bonnyville, but we decided to take a chance and give it a try. I’m excited for what the future holds for us,” she said.
Oliver has accepted the chief executive officer position at the Grande Prairie and District Chamber of Commerce, but the decision didn’t come easy.
After 12 years of living in the community, Oliver and her family have grown strong roots.
“It was a really hard decision, because Bonnyville is home to us,” Oliver expressed. ”The people is what I will miss the most… People really care about Bonnyville. It’s such a vibrant community. I can only hope that Grande Prairie is like that, if not, maybe I can make some change there and bring people together. The magic of Bonnyville, when people want to do something and the community gets behind it, it’s incredible what Bonnyville can do.”
With family ties in Grande Prairie, it was hard to turn down the prospect.
“It’s just such an incredible opportunity for my family. I’m also really excited about being able to work for the chamber of commerce there. They’re very vibrant and active. It’s essentially what I get to do here, but on a grander scale,” described Oliver.
This is the first time in 12 years the position has opened up. When Oliver saw she had a chance to move back to an area she had lived in for so long, she knew she had to take it.
“I decided to apply for the position, because their executive director is leaving, and he has been there for 12 years. The only reason he’s leaving is because he’s retiring. Positions like this don’t just become available,” she detailed.
Oliver moved to the area 12 years ago, after accepting a job at RBC.
At the time, she knew very little about the local chamber, but after a coworker recommended it as a way to get to know people, Oliver felt right at home.
“When I started there (RBC), I was new to town and I was the senior account manager at the bank. I wanted to know how I could meet and get to know people. I asked our financial planner and she recommended that I approach the chamber and volunteer on the board,” explained Oliver.
When the position for executive director became available, Oliver knew she had to apply.
“I already had insight into what a chamber of commerce was, and I took a chance,” she reflected. “Originally what drew me to it, is it’s such a unique position. That’s still one of the things that I love about it.”
As she adjusted to her new place in the community, Oliver started to realize just how right she was for the job.
With a love for working with others, and a passion for taking initiative, Oliver began learning more about the job that would turn into a lasting career.
Working closely with the board of directors, she grew a strong relationship with their president Robyn Ducharme.
Oliver described Ducharme as a “mentor and leadership coach.”
Over the years, Oliver has continued to learn about herself and her position. One thing she never understood until she sat in the executive director’s chair was the impact the chamber has, not just locally, but provincially.
“The chamber network is so powerful. I had no idea, even when I first joined the board of directors, I didn’t have a clue how powerful it can be,” Oliver said, adding they’re connected to chambers across the province.
“The power to be able to come together to make change is exciting,” continued Oliver.
She added, “I really like that we’re partisan and we work with whatever government is in power. We’re not just a bunch of people complaining about problems they see, it’s always solutions-based.”
Even though she has grown to love the community, she knows that now is the time to make the move.
Oliver has three young children, and as much as she loves Bonnyville, she understands the importance of living close to family.
“All around, the opportunity is for my career, my husband’s business, for our children to be growing up around family… all of it. It’s the new adventure. I’m excited to see what the future has in store for us.”
She added, “It’s sad to leave, but I’m excited about the new chapter.”