Citizens for a Livable Cranbrook Society provides grassroots leadership and an inclusive process, with a voice for all community members, to ensure that our community grows and develops in a way that incorporates an environmental ethic, offers a range of housing and transportation choices, encourages a vibrant and cultural life and supports sustainable, meaningful employment and business opportunities.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Michael's Musings

Karin Penner 'one of the best salespersons' plans to retire

By Michael J Morris

Congratulations to Karin Penner on the announcement that she plans to retire as manager of the Cranbrook and District Chamber of Commerce after more than 30 years in the position. She plans to retire in December 2014;

In 1988, instead of travelling to Florida for Spring Break, I drove  from Ontario to British Columbia to take a look around Cranbrook, through a snowstorm almost all the way, topped off with a thrilling ride "down" the mountain from Highway 1 to Radium in the middle of the night.

After recovering from the harrowing experience of driving through a snowstorm and coming down the mountain, one of the first people I met was Karin Penner, and she was a major factor in my decision to relocate here.

She is undoubtedly one of the best salespersons for a community I have ever met, prompting me to finally ask, "Are you from here?" to which she replied with a huge smile, "Born and bred".

Karin took time to answer all my questions, and when I mentioned that I was involved in hockey for many years in Ontario, she jumped on the opportunity: "We have two hockey teams and they are both in the playoffs" and the junior Colts and senior Royals just happened to have home games while I was here.

I went but didn't bring them much luck. Both lost.

Most recently Karin was honoured with a gift from  Mayor Wayne Stetski and members of council officially marking her 30 years as chamber manager as well as at a special chamber luncheon. On both occasions, I said to myself, "About time!"

Karin's list of accomplishments is long so I will just mention two -- in 2011, the local chamber was named Chamber of the Year by the BC Chamber of Commerce and in 1997 she was presented with the Gerry Frederick Memorial Executive of the Year Award.

In a news release announcing Karin's retirement, current  chamber president Dave Butler said in part, "Karin's dedication to the chamber, the chamber staff and volunteers, to area businesses and to the entire community is unparalleled..."

After my first trip to Cranbrook, I returned to Ontario but came back in 1989, arriving on the BC Day holiday weekend, in much better weather. I have lived here ever since. In a newspaper article I wrote about my visit  after that first trip, the headline was, "I was a stranger and you welcomed me." Thanks Karin, and all the best in your retirement.  My email is

Full disclosure: I am not now and never have been a member of the Citizens for a Livable Cranbrook Society; however, I did conduct a workshop for its members for which I was paid.

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