Nichole Heinen is the new director of the Pequot Lakes Chamber of Commerce. Her tentative start date is in early June.

Heinen brings a wealth of management, communications and customer service experience with a national financial firm in Minneapolis. In 2020, she moved back to her hometown area of Pequot Lakes along with her husband, Cory.

Heinen said in a news release that she looks forward to serving the community, expanding area events and helping businesses succeed and grow.

“I couldn’t be more excited about Nichole,” Matt Kilian, president of the Brainerd Lakes Chamber of Commerce, said in the news release. “She has an impressive background and is tremendously positive, creative and outgoing. What really stood out is her passion for the area and her enthusiasm to work with area businesses and organizations.”

A Pequot Lakes High School graduate, Heinen’s father also attended the school and her grandmother, Mayme Bartella, taught there. She has deep roots in the community and is often seen out and about visiting with people.

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“This move feels so right,” she said. “Nothing is more important than family and community.”

In her free time, Heinen enjoys traveling, fishing, hunting, boating, UTVing and snowmobiling. Her grandfather is Minnesota fishing legend Marv Koep. Heinen said she also loves spending time with her two nieces, Marley and Faye, and her two goldendoodles, Stella and Daisy.

Sue Galligan, Brainerd Lakes Chamber events and connections manager, will serve as the Pequot Lakes Chamber’s interim director, a role she held from 2008-2013. Galligan is now working with lead volunteers to plan the 2021 return of Stars and Stripes Days on July 3-4 and Bean Hole Days on July 13-14.

Heinen will take over for Katie Wassermann, who resigned in March.