Meet the new President and CEO of the Little Falls Chamber of Commerce: Purva Watten
16 Jan 2023
News, Economic Development, Community
One trip to Little Falls was all it took for Purva Watten to decide it was where she wanted to live.
She’s actually been asked often why she settled down here. The decision was made when she and her husband, Chris, who works at Camp Ripley, were still looking to put down roots. They visited the Dam Festival, and there was no question after that.
“I moved here, basically, because of the people,” Watten said.
“The day we attended the Dam Festival is when I made the decision, ‘Let’s move to Little Falls,’” she continued. “It’s been my home ever since. I’ve been here since 2016, and I’m in love with just everything this town has to offer. It doesn’t surprise me how wonderful, amazing and involved people are in this community.”
Watten will now be able to share that love for the community on a daily basis. She was recently hired as the new president and CEO of the Little Falls Area Chamber of Commerce.
It’s an opportunity for which she said she is “very blessed.”
“When I saw this job opportunity come up, I basically just lunged at it,” Watten said “That’s something that I’ve been wanting to do. I’ve been wanting to pay it forward because of all of the amazing people and community I’ve gotten here.”
The road that brought Watten to Little Falls was a long one. A native of India, she first visited the United States in high school as part of an exchange program during the 2009 - 2010 school year. She returned to India when the year ended, but she was back — this time, for good — in 2012 when she enrolled in the hospitality and tourism management program at North Dakota State University.
Prior to taking the helm with the Chamber, Watten worked as a director of sales at a Marriott Hotels property in the St. Cloud area. There, she had the opportunity to be involved before the hotel even opened, giving her a chance to see all that goes into getting a business off of the ground.
Her first experience with the Chamber of Commerce was in college. She knew right away that it was right up her alley.
“I’ve been wanting to work in this field since I got out of high school,” Watten said. “It has been my passion to work with the people and for the people.”
Central Minnesota might seem like the last place someone from India — which has a mostly tropical climate — would want to settle down. For Watten, her first trip to the Land of 10,000 Lakes gave her a dose of exactly what she was looking for when she enrolled in the exchange program.