Brenda Vander Zanden has been hired as the promotions and events manager for the Manawa Area Chamber of Commerce.
As a part-time independent contractor, her duties include planning, promoting and executing profitable events for the chamber.
She will also help recruit new chamber members and serve as a volunteer with the Manawa Downtown Revitalization Group.
“This type of position is growing in popularity in chamber of commerces throughout the U.S,” Vander Zanden said. “The daily demands on small, independent business owners are great. There aren’t enough hours in the day already, so asking for additional time to plan events and coordinate manpower without it compromising business operations is difficult.”
Vander Zanden has 20 years of experience in managing and planning events. She and her husband owned and operated Manawa Mercantile, so she also has retail business experience.
In October 2013, Vander Zanden retired from the Little Chute Area School District.
“One of my personal goals was to volunteer in Manawa in some way,” she said. “Event planning and promotions was the component of my previous position I enjoyed the most. This was an incredible opportunity to continue doing what I love and hopefully contribute to Manawa in a positive way.”
Vander Zanden’s biggest challenge has been getting to know all the faces that go with the businesses. She has also been busy identifying the viability and availability of local resources (talent, property and people).
“My goal is to offer something every month or more often, and there will be opportunities for every age group,” Vander Zanden said.
Upcoming events include the 14th annual Manawa Fall Festival on Sept. 20, featuring a city-wide fall rummage sale and the new Motor Madness Car Show.
According to Vander Zanden, there are a wide variety of events in the planning stages for 2015, including a mud volleyball tournament, human foosball, Strut Your Mutt dog show, gardening contests, family movie night and a summer concert series.
She invites people to call her with their ideas for other events.
“’Make it Manawa’ is more than our catchphrase, it’s the way we accomplish things,” Vander Zanden said. “This is about Manawa continually reinvesting in itself – residents and businesses alike. Everyone is responsible for making that happen.”
She encourages residents to get involved and volunteer at area events.
She challenges Manawa residents to “come out and attend local events and see what’s happening.”
Vander Zanden has lived three miles north of Manawa since December 1990.
Her husband Roy is employed at the Appleton Post Office and is retired from the U.S. Air Force. Her daughter Kris is a graduate of Little Wolf High School and currently resides in Clintonville.
The Vander Zandens are Shriners and members of the Manawa United Methodist Church. In their spare time, they are certified BBQ judges and travel throughout the summer for local contests.