City of Victoria officials are looking for more and better methods of engaging with city residents and visitors.

The hiring of Kendra Grahl as the city’s new strategic communications and engagement manager is a big step in that direction, according to City Manager Dana Hardie.

“Kendra is really going to help us get to the next level with the valuable skills and experience she brings,” Hardie said. “We’re excited for her to start.”

Grahl, 33, is the Strategic Communications and Design Lead at the University of Minnesota, where she manages strategic communications and design efforts for its strategic partnerships and research collaborative.

Grahl, who started her new position Nov. 16, was raised in Mound and now lives in Minnetrista with her husband Aaron.

“One of my goals will be to help develop and implement a strategic communications plan that is directly aligned with the City Council’s agenda regarding strategic priorities,” Grahl said.

Grahl said she is familiar with the Victoria area and its amenities in drawing residents, visitors and businesses.

“I see this as a great opportunity to join in the effort to continue to build the sense of community that already exists,” she said. “I just really want to showcase what Victoria has to offer to visitors to the area as well. I just really love it out here”

Grahl takes over, in part, the position held by Gwen Campbell, the city’s former communications and human resources manager, who retired at the end of October.

“Gwen was involved with so many things, so we took a good look at it and decided to kind of take her position in a different direction,” Hardie said, adding that HR duties would be “covered by committee in the short term.”

Grahl’s position will focus on communications and “proactive community engagement,” in part, developing a larger social media presence, Hardie said.

“The idea is having residents and business owners get engaged outside of just coming to a council meeting,” she added.

Hardie foresees more use of video on the city’s website as a manner of “getting information to people in a way that's more meaningful and can be absorbed quickly. We are looking at ways to better support our businesses and residents, and to show others what a cool place Victoria is.”

There were more than 120 applicants for the position. Grahl feels fortunate to have been selected.

“Victoria is just a gem of a city and it has a story to tell,” she said. “I have been provided a great opportunity to help tell that story.”

Community Editor

Mark Olson, the Chaska and Chanhassen community editor who has worked in Carver County for 20 years, makes any excuse to write about local history. In his spare time, Mark enjoys perusing old books, watching blockbusters and taking Midwest road trips.