As of this summer, Downtown Williams Lake has a new executive director to carry on its vision of enriching the downtown core.
Jordan Davis was born and raised in the Okanagan and came to Williams Lake originally for work opportunities. Once here, she began building a reputation and background based off of collaboration between various social support organizations in town like the Boys and Girls Club of Williams Lake. Most recently, Davis worked for the Nenqayni Wellness Centre Society supporting local Indigenous and Metis youth as well as supervising a staff of clinical counsellors, intake workers and daycare workers.
“Lots of community engagement, team building, project building, curriculum building,” Davis said of her previous work experience. “[With the Boys and Girls Club] I did lots of education on harm reduction. A lot of that (harm reduction work) was spurred from the beginning of the public health emergency around opioid overdose in April of 2016.”
Davis has always believed in doing everything she can to promote and create a vibrant downtown core to help attract and retain people to the lakecity.
Building and working on new projects is her favourite part of community work, Davis said. Already, she’s begun work to introduce new ideas and projects to Downtown Williams Lake, like the newest mural project on Third Avenue South which she is particularly proud of.
“I really love this job,” Davis said. “I like managing a staff team, I like working with people and getting to know them. I love what we do here, I really believe in the events we hold in downtown.”
Her biggest challenge and most rewarding venture, thus far, was working with their summer student Keziah Froese and event co-ordinator Jasmine Alexander to bring the lakecity the 2019 Downtown Williams Lake Art Walk.
At Art Walk’s new grand opening this year, Davis loved looking out into the crowd and seeing all the happy and smiling faces. Pulling off events that make people feel good, like the upcoming Trick or Treat Downtown or Winter Lights Festival, are especially important to her.
Moving forward, Davis plans to work closely with businesses and other organizations to look at ways to increase engagement and foot traffic downtown and look at ways to remove existing barriers that prevent some people from enjoying it.
She also intends to make all the events Downtown Williams Lake organizes and hosts “bigger, better and bolder” and possibly introduce a new adult-oriented event —including entertainment and a beer garden — sometime in the next year.
“I think my role is to really help and support the local business community and a big part of my job is highlighting the attractiveness of shopping and hanging out and being in downtown Williams Lake,” Davis said.
Davis said she’s come to appreciate just how many businesses Williams Lake has within it and how much they have to offer. Many of the products some may order online she said can often be found in local businesses. She feels we need to keep looking for products in our own backyards as a way to support both local businesses and the community as a whole.