Rachel Potvin steps down as Chamber of Commerce president

Outgoing North Dundas Chamber of Commerce President Rachel Potvin, at the organization's February AGM. Zandbergen photo, Nation Valley News

Lands U.S. job with maker of technology that restored her sense of  hearing

WINCHESTER — On the stage of Saturday’s Local Business Expo, North Dundas Chamber of Commerce President Rachel Potvin went public with her resignation from the organization as she embarks upon a career with the American firm whose technology restored her sense of hearing from total deafness.

She and husband Conrad and their two children will move to Ohio in the coming months. Their current business and residence of the last few years, the Maple Ridge Centre — the former Maple Ridge Senior Public School — will hit the market shortly.

The 41-year-old Potvin informed Chamber board members of her new position with Advanced Bionics (AB) earlier this month. She’s bowing out from her local role effective the end of April.

Currently undergoing training with AB for the next few months, she has already become a frequent flyer, on behalf of the company, in preparation for her official role as a cochlear implant consumer specialist. A star example of the technology functioning at the very highest levels, most people that meet Potvin for the first time would never know that she’s naturally deaf.

Cochlear implants are sophisticated electrodes and microprocessors that restore hearing bionically. Potvin lost the last vestiges of her own natural hearing a couple of years ago. Deafness runs in her family — Potvin originally hails from Nebraska — and two of her siblings also have cochlear implants.

In Winchester on Saturday, a smiling Potvin said she’s already had the gratifying opportunity to demonstrate the benefits directly to a prospective American client — an individual wowed  to learn they were, in fact, talking to a recipient of the technology.

She said AB was so eager to employ her,  the firm instantly agreed to handle her Canadian-born husband’s green card application process — eventually allowing Conrad to work south of the border once the family moves to the U.S.

North Dundas Mayor Eric Duncan congratulated her on the new job and lauded the outgoing Chamber president for hatching the idea of a trade show in Winchester.

“She was one of the key figures in getting this off the ground last, and we’re going to miss her,” said the mayor, introducing Potvin to the stage.

“I have to say, I’m really, really proud of everyone’s that’s here, of our community, and I am going to miss you all hugely … but I’ll be watching y’all from afar,” Potvin said in her remarks before the official start of the Expo.

Follow her ongoing experiences on her blog, 2earsarebetterthan1.wordpress.com.

Rachel Potvin, as featured in a promotional social media post issued by Advanced Bionics, her new employer.

Mayor Eric Duncan wishes Potvin well in her new job, at the start of Saturday’s Local Business Expo.



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