Editor’s note: In 2020 it should be no surprise that more and more woman hold positions of power. Whether it’s business, politics, sports or the non-profit sector, woman continue to achieve new milestones. This story is part of a series of stories highlighting 16 women in Kelowna who are leaders in their fields. You can read all of their stories in our annual publication called Women in Business in the Feb. 28 issue of Kelowna Capital News.
Rutland has come a long way in the past seven years.
And, a majority of that community improvement comes from the hard work of the Uptown Rutland Business Association (URBA), specifically, it’s executive director Laurel D’Andrea.
D’Andrea, for the better part of eight years, has looked to improve Rutland for both the business and residential communities.
Despite her success, at the end of February, she will be leaving her position for a new challenge and adventure.
“It’s time for a change for the organization and it’s time for a change for me,” she said. “It’s the most stressful job I’ve ever loved. It’s got so many different facets to it.”
In her time with URBA, D’Andrea said the progress that has been made is incredible.
“I look at Rutland with a positive spin,” she said.
“I think Rutland is very loyal, a very passionate community.”
Among several of the projects she’s proud of, are URBA’s participation in resurfacing and adding bus bump-outs to Highway 33, helping with the development of Rutland Centennial Park and the Uptown Mural Project.
“The relationship that URBA has with so many of our stakeholders and with public officials has grown exponentially in the past seven years because of our board and our staff,” she said.
While looking forward to her new career as the executive director for the Kitimat Chamber of Commerce, D’Andrea said she can’t wait to keep up with how Rutland will continue to progress in her absence.
“I can’t wait to go online and see where Rutland is headed next,” she said.
“I think it’s headed for bigger and better things because there are lots of really strong business people in this community and they’re just going to keep moving Rutland forward.”
Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran described D’Andrea as a huge part of Rutland’s revitalization.
“There is a lot of events and planning and policy underway that have been implemented as a result of her hard work,” said Basran.
“I want to thank her for her commitment to the area and that organization, as well as many other charitable causes in our community.”