By Mo Cranker
Alta. Newspaper Group
The Medicine Hat Exhibition & Stampede has found its new general manager.
Hatter Kara Brake will take over the duties Feb. 16, and she is excited to start her new career.
“This is an amazing organization with a huge, rich history and it has an amazing reputation in Medicine Hat,” said Brake. “Being asked to come into this position is a real honour and I’m just so excited for this.”
Brake interviewed for the job a couple of weeks ago and was offered the position shortly after. She has 12 years of experience in the events industry, including time spent planning the 2016 Alberta Winter Games and the 2017 Special Olympics Summer Games. Most recently, she had been working as the manager of the Medicine Hat Sport and Event Council.
“There’s a lot of growth I can see with this job,” said Brake. “We know there are buildings that aren’t utilized as much as they could be, and I think the challenge coming out of this pandemic to get more events into the facilities is something I’m ready to face.
“It’s so important to help the organization grow and I am going to grow with it.”
Brake is the first female general manager in the Medicine Hat Stampede’s history – a glass ceiling she is proud to break.
“There’s definitely a bit of extra pressure and there’s pride in it, too,” she said. “I may be the first female, but I don’t think it will be any different from any other general manager there.
“I wasn’t hired because I’m a woman, it’s because of my experience in the city and my ability to do this job.
“I’m looking forward to proving that anyone can fill the position, it doesn’t necessarily have to be a man.”
Brake has a special connection to the Stampede.
“I grew up going to the Stampede,” she said. “My wedding song, ‘The Future’ by Lonestar,’ we actually heard it for the first time at the Stampede at a concert.
“The Stampede holds a spot in my heart and it’s a blessing to be able to work for this organization.”
Though she hasn’t worked a day as general manager yet, Brake says she has plans in mind.
“I’d like to bring events we haven’t had in the community before,” she said. “Maybe something like Timbersports or a silent disco.
“I think spectators and people who go to events are looking for something a bit different.”
Brake will take over from Jim MacArthur, who held the position for 23 years.
“It’s big shoes to fill, for sure,” she said. “This will be a challenge for me, but I’m really looking forward to it.”