Winkler Welcomes You coordinator retires after 26 years

Winkler & District Chamber of Commerce Office Manager Dianne Friesen, Executive Director Tanya Chateauneuf and outgoing Winkler Welcomes You coordinator Joyce Bergen. (GREG VANDERMEULEN/Winkler Times)

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After 26 years of welcoming newcomers to the community, Winkler Welcomes You coordinator Joyce Bergen is stepping down.
“It’s been a wonderful journey,” Bergen said.
It’s been a job that she’s enjoyed. “To me a stranger is a friend I haven’t met yet,” she said.
Through her time as the coordinator she met many people.
In the 26 years she’s welcomed 4,484 newcomers, 407 newlyweds and 894 first babies for a total of 5,785 visits. And it’s a responsibility she takes very seriously.
“I feel like when I go to somebody’s home I am being community when I make a visit,” she said. “That first impression is the only opportunity we have to be a first impression.”
And people have appreciated her visits and the community.
“I’ve heard many many positive comments from the newcomers that I visit about how friendly Winkler is.”
Bergen also works at Regional Connections as a settlement worker and said her two roles have been a “wonderful marriage”.
But after more than a quarter century it was time to step away. “I’m looking forward to spending more time in the garden this year,” she said.
Bergen said she still remembers many of her visits including the first baby. “She’s in college now,” she said.
There have been changes along the way.
Bergen said more couples are both working than when she started, and the diversity in the community continues to grow.
“People are just coming from so many different parts of the world,” she said. “It’s just wonderful.”
Every single visit was a positive experience for Bergen. “I never had a bad experience,” she said.
Winkler & District Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Tanya Chateauneuf said they are looking for a replacement.
“She truly is going to be difficult to replace,” she said. “She had made it what it is today and we’re so grateful to her for as long as we’ve had her.”
The new candidate can expect to do at least 25 visits per month, and should be an innovative thinker, knowledgeable about the community, organized, outgoing and friendly. People who can speak Low German and/or other languages will also get special consideration.
To learn more, or to apply, email