Cariboo North LIberal MLA Coralee Oakes visits with Uli Witall of M&M Meats after speaking at the Williams Lake and District Chamber of Commerce luncheon meeting at Signal Point Thursday.

Cariboo North LIberal MLA Coralee Oakes visits with Uli Witall of M&M Meats after speaking at the Williams Lake and District Chamber of Commerce luncheon meeting at Signal Point Thursday.

MLA credits Chamber of Commerce for mentorship

Cariboo North MLA Coralee Oakes said the most significant change in her life since being elected has been leaving her Chamber family.

Cariboo North MLA Coralee Oakes said the most significant change in her life since being elected has been moving out of her Chamber of Commerce family.

Oakes served as executive director in Quesnel and was part of the Chamber of 14 years, she said.

“There are far more fun days than extremely difficult days being an MLA, but what gets me through is being able to reach out to my chamber family – folks and mentors and coaches that have known me most of my life and at least my professional life,” Oakes told members of the Williams Lake and District Chamber of Commerce Thursday.

When Premier Christy Clark called Oakes in June, giving her three hours to get to Vancouver because she wanted her to be the Minister of Community, Sports and Cultural Development, Oakes was stunned, she said.

“I was being given this incredible responsibility of ensuring communities are vibrant and great places to live and it absolutely stunned me,” Oakes said.

Oakes started to think about the work that chambers of commerces do in communities.

“It’s about building strong communities,” she said. “I have to admit I have a lot of experience with that because I have had a lot of good mentorship over the years from the chamber of commerce movement.”

She thanked the chamber for giving her the confidence, skills and abilities to be successful in her role as a minister.