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Aug. 5, 2020 | Wednesday
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NOTL chamber narrowing search for new president
Paul MacIntyre, chair of NOTL Chamber of Commerce, and former president Janice Thomson, who left the chamber to join Niagara Falls Tourism. (Dariya Baiguzhiyeva/Niagara Now)

Niagara-on-the-Lake’s Chamber of Commerce is looking for a president who will carry on Janice Thomson’s legacy, says Paul MacIntyre, chair of the chamber.

After 18 years running the chamber, Thomson has left to become president and CEO of Niagara Falls Tourism.

The interviews for the chamber’s new president started three weeks ago, MacIntyre told The Lake Report. The hiring committee, comprised of four board members plus Thomson, has interviewed 10 people so far. 

“We don’t want to put somebody in this position out of a sense of urgency. We want to pick the right person,” he said.

Candidates from all across Ontario have been applying for the job, said MacIntyre, and they seem to grasp the “essence” of NOTL even if they’re not from the Niagara Region.

MacIntyre said it’s been tough choosing from many strong, high-skilled candidates.

He said having business acumen, good communications skills and strong tourism-related and marketing skills are just some of the requirements for the successful candidate.

The board feels like it doesn’t have to rush to pick a new person, said MacIntyre.

“From a management perspective, it’s not how the business runs when you’re there. It’s how it runs in your absence that really determines if you’ve done a good job,” he said in an interview. “We’re not going to rush but we’re in a hurry.” 

He said a new president is likely to be hired “within a month.”

Getting to know everybody in the community in the first three months is what MacIntyre wants the new president to do “out of the gate.”

It’s important to “get to know what’s so special about Niagara-on-the-Lake before you can start strategically planning,” he said.

Thomson’s advice to her successor is to “really understand the DNA of Niagara-on-the-Lake.”

“To understand the heritage, the history, the agriculture. What’s our roots, our customer service mandates … making sure that people come here and have a positive experience and leave wanting to return,” she said.

“Just, frankly, relax and enjoy that because that’s the pedigree that Niagara-on-the-Lake already has. Just stay the course, follow the strategic plan, work with the board…just follow their lead and you’ll enjoy your career,” Thomson said.