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Lalum steps down as Chamber president

The Park Rapids Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce and Tourism announced that current President & CEO, Nicole Lalum, will be stepping down at the end of the month.

Lalum informed the chamber board of directors and staff last week of her departure from the organization after nearly four years at its helm.

She has accepted a position with Explore Minnesota Tourism, the state's tourism office as a Regional Tourism Manager. The position will cover community outreach and tourism efforts in the northwest and central regions of the state. It is also the position within the state office that coordinates the Governor's Fishing Opener, which was hosted by Park Rapids in 2013.

"It has truly been an honor and privilege to serve our members. The renewed energy within the Chamber is exciting and contagious," Lalum said. "I'm proud of everything that we've accomplished. The work is by no means finished, but I am confident that you'll find a qualified replacement for my position and move forward in our 'New Story,' continuing to be an influential champion for our members and our community."

She added, "This is a great place to live and a great place for business. The staff that I work with at the office is phenomenal. Our board is committed and the volunteers are top-notch. I'm going to miss the day-to-day interactions with everyone I've met who love this area so dearly."

Lalum joined the chamber in 2013. Previously, she served as the director of sales and marketing at Thumper Pond Resort in Ottertail. Her experience in marketing tourism was a good fit in the chamber leadership position.

The chamber is the destination marketing organization for the region, welcoming thousands of visitors each year and promoting the entire area on a regional, national and international scale.

The chamber serves more than 325 members in the Park Rapids Lakes Area and works to ensure a sustainable, thriving community for businesses, investors, residents and visitors.

"As a board, we are reluctant to see Nicole go, but she's leaving us in a really good place," says Butch De La Hunt, chair of the chamber board of directors, "We've added over 80 members to the chamber since she took over and we've improved or started several initiatives that support our members and promote the community. As an association, we're organized with a solid program of work in place. Of course, we're disappointed to see Nicole go but we wish her well in her new endeavor. The exemplary staff at the chamber with help from the board and volunteers will ensure that the transition is as seamless as possible for members and the community."

The Chamber Board is already beginning its efforts to replace Lalum as details are being finalized for selecting a new leader. The goal is to welcome a new president and CEO on board as soon as possible.