By Lethbridge Herald on January 19, 2021.
Downtown Lethbridge BRZ has welcomed Tulene Steiestol in her appointment as its new executive director.
With extensive experience in developing and delivering community-focused and business-driven strategic marketing campaigns, events, festivals and community initiatives that address, support and enhance business sustainability and growth, the Downtown BRZ says Steistol will make a good member of the team.
“We are absolutely thrilled to have someone of Tulene Steiestol’s calibre join us as our new executive director,” says Hunter Heggie, Downtown Lethbridge BRZ board chair.
“Tulene’s energy enthusiasm and experience are exactly what is needed right now in our city. She is the perfect person to enhance and expand what Downtown Lethbridge has done in the past, as well as having the skill set to help lead us in a new direction, guiding us through these changing times into a bright future.”
Steiestol’s career has primarily focused on serving the community in stakeholder-driven, not-for-profit tourism marketing and management organizations with world-class destination in the Alberta Rockies including Canmore and Jasper.
Steiestol says there are big shoes to fill after Ted Stilson’s retirement, but her goals for Downtown Lethbridge remain strong and achievable.
“I am thrilled to be part of the BRZ, and the gentleman Ted Stilson who left, he definitely leaves a good legacy,” says Steiestol. “My goal is to definitely maintain his hard work, especially him coming through with everything from the facade of buildings to signage — it is a really good looking space — but for me coming into this is to enhance it and really focus on those cash registers ringing in downtown.
“And now more than ever it is about finding those ways to drive the business and enhance the work that has already been done for downtown.”
Although COVID-19 has put challenges on events and activities throughout the downtown core, Steiestol says there is lots of opportunity for collaboration between organizations and local businesses to grow as a whole.
“Downtown, some of the things that I can see potential for are certainly there is room for collaborations.
“I think there are a lot of great organizations that are doing their own thing, but I think there are those opportunities to get on the same page and collaborate and make things better, and maybe even stretch budgets further to maybe make something bigger and better in that collaborative spirit,” says Steiestol.
“With the community recently getting the news about the Brier, being able to capitalize off of opportunities like that so when bigger events that might be coming to the community, how do we draw that traffic in that are locals and also visitors that will be up at the Enmax, but how do we get them to spend time into downtown.”
Steiestol has extensive experience in events, festivals and communications initiatives that have been recognized provincially by Alberta Tourism Awards, and nationally by Canadian Tourism Awards.
With her success of past initiatives and projects, Steiestol is hoping to bring some similar concepts to support more growth in Downtown Lethbridge.
“One thing in my career so far that I have been exposed to and played a key role in was my time in Canmore. Canmore Business and Tourism was responsible for the destination, but we were also the economic development arm for the community, and during my time there we had gone out into the community to do a lot of research and committee work to get a sense of what was missing in the community, and if there was one industry that we could really focus on,” says Steiestol.
“In Canmore, similar to Lethbridge, it was a lot of small business owners and what we determined through consultation was that there was interest in an event, specifically a culinary event, and with that it wasn’t just the restaurants that were participating, it was traffic coming in and we were able to highlight food offerings, as well as retail, art galleries and hotels that were able to benefit from it as well.
“It was a good example of high tides can float all boats.”
Steiestol is replacing Stilson, who retired at the end of 2020. For information about Downtown Lethbridge BRZ events, initiative and programs, visit downtownlethbridge.com
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