During her time at Cochrane Tourism, Jo-Anne Oucharek lead in the development of an award-winning destination brand and launched a thriving tourism mentorship program.

Now, after six and a half years, Oucharek is stepping down from her position as Executive Director.

Oucharek said she had a big goal in mind when she took on the role.

"My goal six and a half years ago was to have the province, which is Travel Alberta recognize Cochrane as an emerging destination. And that happened this past year with Cochrane being one of the new tourism development zones, which is Cochrane, Sundre, Bighorn. So I decided it was time to step away and let somebody else take the leadership role and take it to that next level."

In addition to helping to put Cochrane on the map, Oucharek helped create a tourism mentorship program which has supported 35 local small businesses, event organizers, and not-for-profit groups since starting four years ago. 

Five years ago she started a big push to really showcase how beautiful Cochrane is said Oucharek. 

"We asked the community back in 2018, what do they love about Cochrane and you know, what would they love to see as their wish list? And and so we started to recognize that we didn't have really great imagery for all the beautiful things and all the things to do here in Cochrane. So for the last five years, I have been working with content producers, videographers, photographers, who are all local. Jackie Matechuk works for us, Brayden Tozer works for us. They all helped to create beautiful imagery and videos for showcasing what Cochrane is and I think that's a big part of not only why come people come to visit but when people do come to visit, they love it so much they decide to stay."

As far as what's next for Oucharek?

"I actually don't have a plan. I just need to take some time to breathe. I will continue of course with my photography, that's a big part of my life and a big passion of mine."

Callandra Caufield will assume the role of Executive Director on April 1st. 

Caufield brings with her 25 years of experience in the tourism industry.

"I love Cochrane, our community is amazing, residents are amazing, our businesses are amazing. It's been a pleasure to work for this community for the last six and a half years and part of me is a little sad but part of me is excited about where the organization is going because Callandra, the new executive director is going to be amazing. She is the right person to take this to the next level with her extensive experience in the tourism industry." said Oucharek.