The new general manager of the Simcoe & District Chamber of Commerce is looking forward to applying the people and organizational skills she gained at Fanshawe College in London and the Nature Conservancy of Canada to her new position.
Linda Branderhorst is also looking forward to completing this stage of her working life in the community where she grew up and attended high school.
Branderhorst’s first day on the job was on March 25.
“I’m so excited to be back in Norfolk,” she said. “This was where it all started for me.”
As an administrator with Fanshawe, Branderhorst was an event planner and community liaison for supporters and benefactors of the school. Responsibilities included organizing events for the distribution of student awards, golf tournament fundraisers and the like.
She served a similar function with the Ontario office of the Nature Conservancy of Canada. There, a key responsibility included identifying grant opportunities and writing applications for them.
Branderhorst takes over from former chamber GM Jim McGimpsey.
In 2017, the Simcoe chamber and the Simcoe BIA experimented with a joint administrative structure where McGimpsey also served as executive director of the BIA.
The organizations concluded last November that their objectives differed significantly and amicably dissolved the partnership.
McGimpsey remains with the BIA while Branderhorst is the first dedicated chamber GM since the retirement three years ago of Yvonne DiPietro of Simcoe. DiPietro was with the chamber for nearly 30 years.
Branderhorst is thrilled that DiPietro has offered the benefit of her experience anytime she can be of help.
“Yvonne is going to be a great resource,” Branderhorst said. “She’s passed along her phone number and said she’ll be a resource for me. She’s terrific.”
In a news release announcing Branderhorst’s appointment, chamber president Alan Duthie said: “Linda is a wonderful addition to the Simcoe and District Chamber of Commerce.
“Her local roots, coupled with her management and operations experience in the public and non-profit sectors, is a tremendous asset to our organization and membership.
“We’re excited about the opportunities that lay ahead for the chamber. Our commitment to strengthening the business community locally, advocating for our members, and continuing to provide valuable relevant information in this changing market is key for the chamber moving forward. A number of members have already expressed their positivity for the forward momentum of the chamber, which tells us we’re on the right track.”
In other chamber news, Duthie welcomed Catherine Akins and Gail Bouw to the board of directors. He says: “Their diverse professional experience and commitment to the community make them perfect fits for our board.”