Penticton’s downtown business association is going to be on the lookout for a new executive director, after Kerri Milton announced she is taking a position in Victoria.
“I got headhunted by the City of Victoria to be the executive director for the Downtown Victoria Business Association,” said Milton, who expects to be leaving in mid-July. “I was not looking for the opportunity, it came looking for me.”
Milton said the job offer is a good fit and came at a good time.
“I am from the island. My family is there. My kids are getting to be an age where they are already looking to go to the University of Victoria or Camosun college, so that would allow them live at home and continue their studies, which is a huge help.”
Leigh Follestad, president of the DPA, said they are sad to see her go, but understand her reasons.
“I am not happy about it, I wanted to keep her forever, but realistically it was such a fantastic opportunity for her that she needed to take it,” said Follestad. “The offer and the situation for her made absolute sense and it was completely the right decision to make.”
Follestad praised the work Milton has done for the DPA over the last three years, that her organizational and management skills have put the group on a sound footing, with a smoothly running office and well-trained staff.
Milton’s move is a loss for the DPA, according to Follestad, but she will be a great find for the City of Victoria.
“I am thrilled to welcome such as talented person as Kerri Milton to our downtown community. Kerri’s background of entrepreneurial success and private sector leadership, combined with her direct experience in leading a BIA, makes her ideally suited to support and relate to all DVBA stakeholders,” says Suzanne Bradbury, chair of the DVBA in a release. “The DVBA Board of Directors feels that Kerri’s unique combination of competence, energy and insight make her the ideal candidate to usher in a new chapter in the emerging story of Victoria’s beautiful downtown.”
Milton said the new job is going to be a big challenge, with lots of positive change happening in Victoria’s downtown.
“It is a really iconic downtown, so it is exciting to be part of it,” said Milton, who will also be leaving her position with the Penmar community arts society, which recently voted to continue their quest to create a performing arts centre, despite losing the old PenMar Theatre as a location.
Talks with a new investor and exploring new opportunities are ongoing, she said.
“Hopefully they (the Penmar society board) will be able to just keep going on that path. There are lots of exciting things happening there,” said Milton.
Follestad said that despite this being a busy period for downtown Penticton, the changeover shouldn’t cause problems. The first section of the downtown revitalization will be complete before she leaves, and Milton will still be with them through the busy July long weekend.
The DPA is getting started on the search for Milton’s replacement, which they hope to have in place by the end of June.
“With the right candidate and how well-trained the staff are I don’t think it will be too bad,” said Follestad. “With her being here for a couple of weeks to help in that transition, I am confident we will be OK.”