A former Miss Oktoberfest says she was disappointed when she first heard news of changes to the annual K-W Oktoberfest ambassador program.
Meghan Hennessey was crowned Miss O back in 2010.
This year's ambassador program is open to to anyone between 19 to 29, who live within 40 kilometres of Waterloo Region.
"Initially, I think I was disheartened, disappointed. I want to stress that's strictly speaking because it's no longer a focus just for female identifying persons," she said while on the Mike Farwell Show on CityNews 570 on Thursday.
Hennessey said the Miss Oktoberfest program gave local women a stepping stone opportunity to help build their careers.
"Once I became Miss Oktoberfest, I gained a very well-rounded experience through public speaking opportunities. I was able to network with key business and community leaders, and not to mention, I got to do some pretty unique, pretty fun things---trying out a bow and arrow for the first time or shaking hands with the Prime Minister of Canada," she said.
Hennessey now works as a marketing and communications manager.
"There was a lot more than wearing a crown and sash, and I think, some people have a hard time seeing past that," she said.
Hennessey said she recognizes why new changes to the ambassador program were made.
"I understand that there are groups in the community, of course, that would like to see more representation. I think Oktoberfest was really trying to respond to the community," she said.
She said Miss Oktoberfest created a sisterhood support network that she hopes will carry over to this year's program.