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A ‘bittersweet’ farewell for GINCC employee

On the afternoon of Monday, Oct. 16, 2017, I arrived for my first day of work at the Greater Ishpeming-Negaunee Area Chamber of Commerce. I was excited and ready to tackle the Annual Dinner event, which was three days later on the 19th. Fast forward to today, more than two years later, and I’m on my last leg of my journey as the communications and marketing assistant. It is bittersweet to announce that this Friday, Nov. 1, will be my last day at GINCC.

It’s been such a crazy ride, to put it lightly. I didn’t know what I was getting into or what it would bring me, but I’m so glad that I’ve had the opportunity to be here for the past two years. I am an Ishpeming native, living here for the majority of my life aside from my senior year of college when I lived in Marquette. As I was growing up, I had this sense of wanting “more.” I wished I lived in a bigger area with more things happening, more stores for shopping, more people, etc. I didn’t feel connected to the community I lived in. Once I started at the GINCC, this attitude quickly turned around and I began to see the West End for the unique treasure that it is. I feel more pride than ever before of my hometown and surrounding area.

To the GINCC membership and everyone else I have gotten to know and meet through this position: thank you! Thank you for being so gracious and having patience with me as I learned my way. Thank you for being awesome to work with. Most of all, thank you for everything that you do, whether in your business, service club, organization, volunteering or other, that helps keep the West End a place of true generosity. Because of all of you, I now know the value and impact of community.

I want to say thank you to the GINCC Board of Directors, who have helped shape me in this position. Your dedication to helping the chamber be the best it can be through fundraising events, ribbon cuttings, committee meetings and more does not go unnoticed. A big thank you to Bob Hendrickson, GINCC executive director, for being a truly wonderful boss. Thank you for believing in me and giving me room to grow. It has been an honor to work and serve the community with you.

The decision to leave was not an easy one, and it took much thought and consideration. With winter coming up, I felt deep down that it was time for me to make a change. I’m no beginner to the U.P. winters; however, they haven’t seemed to get easier! I will be heading to Sedona, Arizona, to pursue opportunities in the marketing field, with the goal of becoming a remote marketing specialist. I will miss the chamber and all of the opportunities it has presented me. We have the best office mates (hi Pam and Judy!) and all-around office environment, which I will hold dearly to my heart because I know how rare it is to find.

Above all, I am deeply grateful for this position, this community and this journey. It’s hard to put it into words how much it has meant to me, but I hope this captures it a little bit. I have faith that whoever fills my position will appreciate the West End and be eager to serve you, as well. Thanks again, everyone! I’ll see you around.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Gabi Kautz is the communications & marketing assistant for GINCC. She currently resides in Ishpeming. She enjoys traveling, yoga and photography.