It’s the end of an era at Tourism Rossland.
Deanne Steven was first hired as the executive director of Tourism Rossland in 2007, when the organization was founded, but now after 10 years, she’s leaving to join Selkirk College’s Business Department faculty.
“The courses that I have for next winter are perfect for me. It’s marketing, international business and developing a business plan,” Steven told the News. “I’m looking forward to it; it’s a neat group of instructors out there, and a pretty vibrant student group too. There’s a lot of international students, and so I’m looking forward to the change.”
Steven will begin her new job at the start of the winter term on Jan. 9 and will be working on her lesson plans over the holidays. She has previous teaching experience, having taught for Selkirk’s resort and hotel program in Nelson and for Simon Fraser University, and in addition to an MBA, she has a diploma in adult education.
Asked why she decided to leave Tourism Rossland, Steven said, “It’s a good job. It’s been really challenging. We’ve had a lot of obstacles, a lot of which we’ve overcome. It’s been 10 years. Non-profit work is really hard too because you’re always looking for funding all the time.”
“But you know we’ve gotten a lot of great things done,” she added, “and I think it’s a good time to be leaving it. The organization is in a great place. It’s got secure funding for the next few years, so I feel like I’m not just kind of running away from it; it’s in a good place.”
Steven is most proud of what she and Tourism Rossland have been able to do in regards to addressing transportation issues that impact Rossland’s tourists.
“[The Free Ride Bus] really has made a big impact on our community. It’s allowed us to have guests that we wouldn’t be getting otherwise,” she said. “It’s provided an amazing service for locals. It built a really great partnership with … Mountain Shuttle.”
Steven also helped establish the Spokane shuttle, helping solve the problem of getting people to Rossland, as well as helping them get around town and out to Red Mountain. But as proud as Steven is of the Free Ride Bus, she’d like to see BC Transit ultimately provide transportation to and from the ski resort.
“We are already as a community paying for community busing, and so I think there needs to be a push in that direction,” she said. “It doesn’t seem right to me as a taxpayer, or as a community member, that we have to do it this way. We really have to put that pressure on BC Transit to provide a solution.”
With Steven’s impending departure, Tourism Rossland is now seeking a new executive director, and the closing date for applications was on Tuesday. In the event that a new executive director is not found before her departure, Steven says the Rossland Tourism board of directors will let the public know who to contact regarding Tourism Rossland matters.
“I’ve been busy making amazing Dropbox handover notes for somebody, complete with all my notes with who is good to work with,” said Steven.
She also told the News she is grateful to the Tourism Rossland board of directors.
“Our board of directors has been amazing,” said Steven. “We’ve had some of them for the entire time — for all 10 years — and they’ve always been able to think outside of the box and run with crazy ideas, and they’ve been a really great group of volunteers. So I really appreciate the board over the years.”