From a nomination for the Kootenay Women in Business Award last May, to a stealthy termination in November, 2012 proved to be a roller coaster year for Maggie Stayanovich.
The ex-executive director of Trail and District Chamber of Commerce (TCOC) reached out to the Trail Times to comment on her behind-the-scenes termination, albeit bound by a confidentiality agreement with the TCOC.
“If my leadership was in question, why was this the first time I heard about it?” said Stayanovich. “As I was being asked to leave.”
A November meeting at the TCOC began a series of events, which left the organization without its executive director, two-thirds of its paid staff and only half of its volunteer board.
The evening began according to agenda, with board members approving the “strategic plan” and 2013 Community Market proposal, both a part Stayanovich’s vision for the community.
“I was so pleased, we spent several months putting a new plan together,” she said. “It is what I use for guidance in the long term plan for the organization.”
At the end of the meeting, an in camera session was requested, at which time Stayanovich and fellow board member, daughter Thea Stayanovich, were asked to leave.
“I was asked to leave, along with Thea, as there was a possible perceived conflict,” said Stayanovich.
Much to her surprise, three days later, Stayanovich said she was “debriefed” and advised that the board decided to release her from contract effective immediately, and that all in camera would remain as such.
“I was told, as was the membership, our partners and the public, that the board felt with a new strategic plan, that they wanted to go with new leadership,” said Stayanovich. “Yes, I was very surprised to say the least.”
“In the grand scheme of things, change is always good,” said Lisa Gregorini chamber president in an earlier interview with the Times.
“We do have a new strategic plan so, it is always good for a new person to come in and take on the operational side of that.”
The fall out from Stayanovich’s dismissal lead to the resignation of five board members.
“The membership is entitled to know why she was released, given that she was an integral part in the development of the strategic plan and its implementation into the community,” Pastor Shane McIntyre, who resigned from the board following the dismissal, said in an email.
During her time of turmoil, Stayanovich was humbled by many words of kindness, home visits and hugs of support, but she said she is ready to move on.
She said she loved her job, and was dedicated to the community, partner and members of the chamber, although one question remains.
“How did we go from Chamber nominated for Chamber of the Year in May, to this?”