In early February Shaulyn van Baaren assumed the BID Manager's role at the Devonport Business Association. Shaulyn takes over from Toni van Tonder, who vacated the position following her election to the Devonport Takapuna Local Board in late 2019. Channel’s Aidan Bennett met with Shaulyn in Devonport in late January.
Shaulyn van Baaren is a Canadian, but her love affair with New Zealand started 20 years ago. In 2000 she came to New Zealand to do an overseas work term (two months) that was part of completing her degree in Sports Administration (specialising in event management and marketing). During the two months she spent at Massey University Shaulyn made everlasting friendships, met her now husband (Andre), and decided to stay longer than first planned. She flatted in Eversleigh Road. Devonport and the peninsula was her 'hood. She loved it. Andre’s family has been in Devonport for 40 years.
In 2006 Shaulyn returned to New Zealand for six weeks and then she and Andre went back to live in Canada. In her home country Shaulyn built a career in marketing and event management. This has included working in corporate marketing, on major sports and business events (including the Olympic Games in Vancouver in 2010), running her own events and her own businesses. Most recently she was running her own trade show business.
Along the way Shaulyn and Andre have also built a family. They have two daughters and two much-loved husky dogs who made the move from Canada.
“At some stage we were always going to come back to New Zealand; it was never a matter of if, just when,” explained Shaulyn, when quizzed on what brought them back to New Zealand. “About 18 months ago Andre said he would like to move home, so here we are. We arrived back mid last year. We’ve traded the mountains of Calgary for the beaches of the North Shore! Moving back to Devonport was not-negotiable. We live at Narrowneck and love it.”
So why did Shaulyn van Baaren apply for the DBA role?
“One event I went to last year shortly after we arrived was the Devonport Business Association run fashion show on the wharf. It was a great event organised expertly by Toni [van Tonder]. So when I saw her role advertised it really interested me. They were obviously big shoes to fill but I did feel I had the skills and experience to do it well. While I am new to living back in New Zealand I am not new to the community. I have experienced Devo in a few roles – as a young person, as a visitor and now as a local resident. I feel I understand the place and have the community's best interests at heart. I also have some big Pollyanna dreams!”
“My focus over these first few months will be to ensure the wheels of the organisation keep going, and to meet, connect, listen and understand where our business community is at and where they want to be. Obviously our focus is growing business, making locals feel part of the business community, so they buy local, and also growing Devonport as a tourist and visitor destination. I am also very much looking forward to playing a part in showcasing and maximising Devonport’s appeal to people we anticipate will visit for the America’s Cup early next year. It is shaping up as a great event with some exciting opportunities for Devonport.”
Shaulyn started her new position on Monday February 3rd. For more information you can email her on email@example.com or visit: www.devonport.co.nz