McKinley Winkle, Helena Area Chamber of Commerce

Lacey Middlestead For the Independent Record

A smile spreads across McKinley Winkle’s face as she turns to look out the window behind her. Just outside her office at the Helena Area Chamber of Commerce tower the red brick buildings comprising downtown Helena — the very heart of the community she loves best.

A Helena native, Winkle graduated from Montana State University in Bozeman with a degree in business marketing. Wanting to stay within the community that raised her, she returned to Helena after graduation.

At the suggestion of a family friend, Winkle inquired with the Helena Area Chamber of Commerce about possible job openings. She ended up landing the position of director of Helena WINS (Workforce Innovation Networks) in August of 2020. The goal of Helena WINS is to help area employers attract, develop and retain workforce talent.

Having started her work at the Chamber during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, Winkle faced a unique set of circumstances.

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“I didn’t know anything different, so it was both an advantage and a disadvantage,” said Winkle of coming to work for the Chamber in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic.


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