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New BID manager loving the Devonport lifestyle

Flagstaff Team

Warming to Devonport… new BID manager Shaulyn van Baaren

Devonport’s new BID manager Shaulyn van Baaren is loving the summer temperatures.

The warm weather is a stark contrast to her native Canada, which is currently being hit with a cold snap of 45 below.

But van Baaren is no stranger to Devonport. She moved here last June with husband Andre and daughters Maeve (6) and Ella (3). Although she has had a close association with the area “either as a resident or a tourist” for the last 20 years.

Andre grew up in Devonport, going to Vauxhall School and Takapuna Grammar. The family has settled in Narrow Neck, just around the corner from Andre’s parents, with Maeve going to Vauxhall School.

Shaulyn first came to New Zealand to work at Massey University as part of her university course. A three-month stay turned into a year. For part of that time she lived in Devonport, before heading home. She was introduced to Andre through mutual friends and when he visited Canada in 2005 they hit it off. Shaulyn worked in events management in Calgary, including projects that culminated in her attending the Olympic Games in Vancouver in 2010. She eventually ran her own company – SvB Events – primarily organising corporate functions and fundraising for large companies.

However, having young children combined with a downturn in corporate spending in Canada in 2017 sparked a rethink, and the van Baarens decided to move to New Zealand.

“Devonport was very much part of the package,” says Shaulyn.

In Canada, the family had already “downsized” localities from Calgary to a small town – Carstairs, Alberta. “It’s about the same size as Devonport.”

With the family integrated well into Devonport, Shaulyn saw the job description for the BID development manager role just vacated by Toni van Tonder.

“It could have been written for me… it really suits my skills and experience.”

She starts on 3 February and has a desk at Wharf HQ, upstairs at Devonport Wharf, for six months.

“I’ll be out and about visiting people, but I’ll be around generally during business hours from Tuesday to Thursday.”

For the first few months, she will be following the Devonport Businesses Assocation’s strategic plan, while she meets local businesses to establish their wants and needs before putting her own mark on the role.

Making the most of opportunities presented by the America’s Cup, which starts in 13 months time, will be a key area of focus. In her downtime, Shaulyn can be found out enjoying Devonport with her family, socialising with friends or at one of the local beaches.

This article originally appeared in the 31 January edition of the Devonport FlagstaffDownload PDF.