Wadena Chamber hires new executive director

The search for a new director started in August 2022.

Wadena Chamber of Commerce.jpg
The Wadena Area Chamber of Commerce is located in The Depot in Wadena's Burlington Northern Park.
Michael Johnson / Pioneer Journal

WADENA — The Wadena Chamber of Commerce has hired former Wadena-Deer Creek communications coordinator Dana Cantleberry as their new executive director.

Cantleberry is expected to start in her new role on Dec. 7, 2022.
She's currently the community education and marketing director for Bertha-Hewitt Public Schools. Prior to that she worked in communications and community education for the Wadena-Deer Creek Schools.
Wadena Chamber board vice president Renee Frethem said that the decision and announcement to hire Cantleberry was met with an incredibly positive response.
"This is such a good thing for our community," Frethem said following the announcement on Facebook. When she saw the outpouring support from the business community, it further solidified the decision. "It doesn't surprise me at all. We have a lot of confidence in her."
Frethem noted that there were nine applicants for the position and four were interviewed further. Chamber board member Kent Schmidt said that all those applicants were good candidates, but it was Cantleberry's drive to work hard in a community where she is well known and respected that helped her rise above.
"Our town is great, but I think she's going to make it that much greater," Schmidt said. "Whatever she is doing, she puts her all into it."
"I'm just so excited about the new chapter for our chamber," Schmidt added.

There's been a recent surge of new businesses in Wadena and the Wadena Chamber of Commerce is eager to welcome them.

Recent addition to the Wadena Chamber board is Glenn Whiteford. She also shared her positive outlook on the choice to hire Cantleberry.
"As a board, we knew it was crucial, the Chamber find the right person for the job," Whiteford wrote in an email response. "We believe Dana is that person through and through. We are excited for what the future holds for the Chamber and this town."
Cantleberry shared that she is very excited about the new opportunity.
More to come on this exciting development. Look for a feature in an upcoming Wadena Pioneer Journal on Cantleberry as she readies for the new role.

Apply now through September 15 for the position.

Michael Johnson is the news editor for Agweek. He lives in rural Deer Creek, Minn., where he is starting to homestead with his two children and wife.
You can reach Michael at or 218-640-2312.
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