Corri Falardeau was promoted to executive director of the Keizer Chamber of Commerce. She started working for the chamber just before the pandemic and says the community is ready to get back together for KeizerFEST in August. Photo by LYNDON ZAITZ of Keizertimes

Aside from the typical goals of someone taking on new responsibilities, Corri Falardeau is trying to live the advice from one of her favorite television shows, The Office.

“One of the characters says that when you feel good about your work and are productive, then you can go home. Even though she says it to Michael Scott, who doesn’t do those things, I think it’s true. Each day I come in with the goal of feeling good about my work and feeling accomplished when I go home,” Falardeau said.

Falardeau endured a trial by fire before assuming the executive director role at the Keizer Chamber of Commerce earlier this month. She was first hired by the chamber as an executive assistant on Feb. 17, 2020.

Six weeks later, the world plunged into a deadly and economically crippling pandemic. Aside from scrambling to assist businesses transitioning to new ways of life, membership in the chamber dropped.

“Despite that, we’ve had a great group of new businesses that are re-engaging because of the top-rate, excellent business support we offered,” Falardeau said. “It’s all been a huge learning experience.”

In addition to from hiring someone to fill in at her old job, one of Falardeau’s immediate goals is planning a KeizerFEST in August. The event will look quite different without an associated carnival, but planning is already going full-throttle.

“I really believe our community needs to get back together and have a great time,” she said. “I’m hoping that’s something we will provide this year. There’s just all the pent-up desire.”

The parade, pet parade and other pet events will return.

Before her hiring at the chamber of commerce, Falardeau worked in social services for nearly 15 years and provided home visits and parenting support for client families at Family Building Blocks. With a background in parent coaching, Falardeau is eager to continue and strengthen relationships between the chamber and students at McNary High School and CTEC.

“I would love to take us deeper into supporting kids that are coming through career technical programs and right into the workforce,” she said.

Next month, she will help welcome a new board of directors led by local realtor Bob Shackelford. Ballots are already in the hands of members.

“This will be a new experience for me, but I have a great board and everyone has been overwhelmingly supportive,” Falardeau said. “The amazing thing about this group is that we can put out a call for help that says we need five people. Ten will show up.”

Those with questions about membership or opportunities within the Keizer business community can drop by the chamber office at 4118 River Road North, call 503-393-9111 or visit keizerchamber.com.

Keizertimes Publisher Lyndon Zaitz contributed to the reporting of this story.