SBIA hires a new executive director

Donna Petrie has dual role of events liaison for the Town of Sidney

New Sidney Business Improvement Association executive director and events liaison Donna Petrie out front of her new office at the Beacon Avenue Visitor Centre.

There are two sides to Donna Petrie’s new job in Sidney.

First, she is the new executive director of the Sidney Business Improvement Association (SBIA) and is tasked with implementing the organization’s marketing plan for downtown business. Second, Petrie holds the joint position of events liaison for the Town of Sidney, looking to coordinate local events and market everything that goes on to a wider audience.

The SBIA and Town of Sidney are jointly funding the position and Petrie began her new job out of the Beacon Avenue Visitor Centre on Monday, March 24. Petrie has 19 years of experience in the tourism industry on the Island and says she understands the challenges that come with running a small business.

“I was very honoured to be selected,” she said in an interview. “I’m looking forward to helping the members of the BIA do well.”

Petrie has worked in hotels, helped in the startup of a small business and worked for Tourism Victoria, to name only a portion of her experience. She said one of the most important aspects of her new job will be to create better relationships between businesses, event operators and tourist attractions.

“I really want to be hands-on and accessible,” she said.

“My work will be to encourage people to activate their membership in the SBIA and help them with being active online.”

She said she will respond to requests by SBIA members and even act as a trainer or facilitator, if needed. She is also tasked with coordinating the SBIA’s marketing efforts, from negotiating for the best possible placement to attracting travel writers and bloggers to provide profiles of what makes Sidney and the Saanich Peninsula great.

There’s a common goal in the community, Petrie said, and that’s to have a vibrant community and the ability to show it off.

“We all want the same thing. We want Sidney to be successful.”

In her role as Sidney’s events liaison, Petrie will help promote cultural, arts, sports and other events in town. She will be working with the town’s new Sidney Event Advisory Board and will not only ensure existing events get the support they need, but help new events go through the approvals and regulations in a more streamlined fashion. Petrie said she won’t be running events, but helping ensure the success of those that happen each year.

Petrie said the job will keep her busy five days a week but noted her hours will be flexible as she will be attending most events – whether they be in the evenings or on weekends.

Petrie said she’s looking forward to her new role in Sidney and on the Peninsula, adding she is ready to help achieve the common goal in sight within the community.

“There’s certainly no lack of passion here,” she said. “I’m here to help with how we are going to get there.”