June 1, 2016
Community counts, and not many people exemplify this attitude like Wanda Leese. Living in Enfield but working from WBLI’s Dartmouth office, Wanda is now volunteering her expertise to the East Hants Chamber of Commerce in her new role as President.
In the position since March, Wanda has hit the ground running, and has been an integral force in promoting East Hants businesses, such as with the Chamber’s inaugural Open East Hants Day which, like Halifax’s “Open City” event, encourages locals to learn about and try local businesses.
“People are really interested in supporting local businesses,” says Wanda. “There’s even a Facebook group (created by residents) called ‘East Hants Wants to Know’, where people can provide names of local suppliers for most anything you need. And there’s still so much potential. The residential part of the area has grown, but people often just went to Halifax for their services. Now, local businesses are popping up to offer East Hants residents great options that are closer to home. And the Chamber is really interested in supporting that growth in any way we can.”
In addition to guiding the Chamber’s efforts to foster local business growth, Wanda has also been a driving force behind the Hants East Assisting Refugees Team (HEART) Society. To date, they have raised the funds to sponsor two Syrian refugee families, and will soon have enough funds for a third.
“That was something that we are seeing with the Syrian refugee crisis — that it really has brought the community together,” says Wanda. “It’s much the same with what we’re seeing now, with the Fort McMurray wildfires. The people of East Hants have a strong sense of community, and I’m proud to be a part of that.”