Nicole Sullivan, as South Dundas’s new Economic Development Officer (EDO), is here to help build our community.
The Leader met with Sullivan at her Morrisburg office on November 2nd to learn more about her and her plans for the area.
Sullivan is a native of Bells Corners in West Ottawa. She received her undergraduate degree from the University of Waterloo where she majored in human geography and minored in business and tourism. According to Sullivan, she “went into geography because it was a little more of a broad focus.”
As for her Masters degree, Sullivan went to the University of Guelph where she produced a thesis entitled “Immigration Attraction and Retention for Small Towns and Rural Areas.”
Her first job was actually a volunteer internship in Nicaragua where she worked “on an organic farm (which was) part of a bigger community development project.”
She was impressed with “how the community took what they had and built on it to improve their quality of life.”
When she returned home she “started looking at similar projects,” which is how she found her position as the Area Economic Development Coordinator for the Parry Sound Regional Economic Development Advisory Committee. This position was a year-long internship sponsored by FedNor.
According to www.fednor.gc.ca, it “is a regional economic development organization in Northern Ontario that promotes economic development, diversification and job creation and encourages sustainable, self-reliant communities in Northern Ontario.”
As for why Sullivan chose to become an EDO, she said, “I really like the variety of initiatives and how dynamic the field is; there’s a lot of space for creativity; (and, the position) allows for a lot of interaction with the community and I feed off that.”
In choosing South Dundas as her new home for both work and personal life, she admitted that she’s “always been attracted to small towns and rural areas.”
“I saw the opportunity and couldn’t resist,” she continued. “I was attracted to the tourism opportunities, the rich heritage, and the strong agricultural community.”
Sullivan, at the time of the interview, was only on her third day of her new position in South Dundas and was “still trying to get a feel” for how things work here.
She acknowledged that “people who live here know it the best” and she welcomes their input.
“Yes, if there’s a business that would like to provide some feedback, please come out.”
The EDO position is vast in its description as well as its list of duties. She explained that “it’s very diverse, from marketing to looking at industrial park to engaging with the community.” Sullivan believes that making it work is all about balance.
As for where she will start, it “depends on the community’s objectives and how it wants to move forward.”
At the moment she is “getting oriented to the community (and) learning about its priorities and dynamics.”
Sullivan “recognizes that economic development means different things to everybody” and she’s “really excited to be here and to get moving.”
“I’m looking forward to being part of the community.” Sullivan is hoping to find a place in South Dundas before the snow falls.