Washington Evening Journal
111 North Marion Avenue
Washington, IA 52353
WASHINGTON — The Washington Chamber of Commerce has a new employee. Mikayla Slechta has just wrapped up her first month as the organization’s outreach and communications coordinator.
Slechta said the position itself still is evolving.
“I think we’re just all trying to figure it out all together,” she said. “We’re still figuring out how to share the job between the city and the Chamber and exactly what I’m going to do every single day. It’s kind of been going day by day, seeing what works out, what doesn’t, (but) right now it’s broad.”
Slechta was hired as a “promotions and administrative support coordinator,” but the title was shortened by her first day on the job. The work involves keeping the city website running well and assisting with all sorts of Chamber affairs, a list that changes by the day.
Still, she said it came with a defined goal, despite a broad scope of responsibilities.
“Their hope for me is to be able to … bring more people to the community and get people to know more about the community who are here already,” she said. “It’s brainstorming and figuring out ways I can help both sides of things.”
That day-to-day variation was a major draw for Slechta, who said it felt good to break from a monotonous routine.
“I went from a job where you clock in at 7:30, you leave at 4 o’clock and you have a 45 minute lunch,” she said. “It’s the same thing every single day. This job is different all the time. Hours change because of events and different things like that. There’s always something different, and you’re never doing the same thing … I think that’s what I like most about it because I can’t ever get bored about one thing.”
From the start, she said the position drew out her passion more than her previous work.
“It just kind of fell into place,” Slechta said. “I knew that banking wasn’t what I was passionate about, and I wanted to find something that was … I love being able to have a creative outlook in my job, I find that very fun, just doing a lot of random little things to help the community, and I like being involved in the community.“
It’s a position she’s well-equipped for. A Washington native and hotel/motel committee member, Slechta moved back to the area after a brief time away in Wisconsin, where she lived with her then-boyfriend, now-husband.
“It was hard being away from home, and being away from my parents, family, friends,” she said. “I was only gone for three years, and when I came back, it was like a whole new community … You grow up thinking you know a lot about what’s going on, but there’s so much opportunity in Washington than I ever would have thought about.”
With everything going well, Slechta said she was grateful to have found the role.
“It’s just so crazy to me that, something I thought I would never actually be given the opportunity to do, I’m actually doing,” she said. “I always thought it was cheesy when older people told you to follow what you want to do, I thought, ‘That’s not real life,’ … I think just to follow this new passion of mine is really cool.”