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Photo courtesy: www.tourismkelowna.com Photographer Brian Sprout - Picture BC Photo courtesy: www.tourismkelowna.com Photographer Brian Sprout - Picture BC Photo courtesy: www.tourismkelowna.com Photographer Brian Sprout - Picture BC Photo courtesy: www.tourismkelowna.com Photographer Brian Sprout - Picture BC Photo courtesy: www.tourismkelowna.com Photographer Brian Sprout - Picture BC Photo courtesy: www.tourismkelowna.com Photographer Brian Sprout - Picture BC Photo courtesy: www.tourismkelowna.com Photographer Brian Sprout - Picture BC Photo courtesy: www.tourismkelowna.com Photographer Brian Sprout - Picture BC

Welcome to the Kelowna Chamber of Commerce

The Chamber works to ensure the Okanagan region will become the most economically prosperous region - and the most desirable place to live and work - in Canada. As the area's leading membership driven business organization, we are committed to providing value to our members.
 

Events

Get involved & expand your reach with over 60 Chamber events each year! Connect with the Community calendar too!

 

Chamber News

Keep informed with all that’s happening at the Kelowna Chamber!

 

Join Today!

Become a member, and join the other 1200+ members that strengthen the community and build better businesses!


  • Changing a Community based on what we Buy
    Oct 24, 2014

    Business is changing. Is this a bad thing? Heck no! There’s been a serious trend towards blended value return on investment and large social impact. We’re seeing collaboration from multiple sectors. We’re seeing sponsor dollars being spent towards engagement, as opposed to signage, and we’re taking an added consideration into our purchasing.

    How do we incorporate social and financial practices into our bottom line? How do we change a community based on what we buy? This morning at the Okanagan Changemakers Buy Social Breakfast, we talked about social purchasing and the idea of moving towards a blended value business model, incorporating price and quality, as well as green and social practices. So, how can our supply chain and what/how we buy really effect out community, and by how much?

    Buying local keeps 2.6x the money in the economy. To put a dollar figure on things – for every $100 spent locally, $46 stays in the local economy, whereas the alternative, we only see $18 staying local. That’s a huge leap!

    So what exactly is “local”? Local comes in 3 different forms:

    1.       Local

    Local refers to those businesses that are directly supporting the local economy. Those sole proprietorships, farmers markets, those who support local artisans in their organizations as often as they can.

    2.       Largely local

    These are bigger operations, still based in BC but are businesses that may have branched out or expanded into other locations.

    3.       Local champions

    These are businesses that support local through B2B interactions. This could be ordering your office supplies through a local company.

     

    By supporting local purchasing, we can make an impact. “If you can get front lines to buy in, the rest is just enabling them,” as put by Roger Wheeler, attendee. Local purchasing, and encouraging this, is not only going to change at the CEO level. This shift needs to be both a change in leadership goals, as well as a change in awareness for those making the daily purchases. Educating administrative and support staff, anyone who takes care of ordering, and having the front line employees backing this end goal is what is going to make this happen.

    With more demand, there will be more orders. With more orders, we will see more social impact. Can it really be that easy?

    We want to hear your thoughts! #BCBuylocal and join the discussion.

    For more information on buying Local: http://locobc.com/

  • Playing "Matchmaker" to Young Professionals and their Futures
    Oct 21, 2014

    Kelowna: arguably one of the most beautiful cities in BC. With rolling hills full of vineyards and bike paths, and an incredible entrepreneurial spirit -  it’s no wonder that so many students and young professionals are choosing to call it home.

    There’s just one problem; an associated stigma that in order to get a job in Kelowna, you have to leave Kelowna. Though this may not be entirely true, it is in fact, a handshake community. And for some young professionals this can be detrimental during their post-grad decisions.

    So why not break through that stigma then? Do we really want these students leaving to Alberta?

                                             

    With Launch Students into Business, the Kelowna Chamber will be playing ‘matchmaker’ to young professionals and their futures.

    “Having that interaction with business professionals is crucial. At the end of the day it really comes down to who you know, not just what you know,” says an Alumni student from Okanagan College. “There’s a benefit to the professionals too; It allows them to be seen in the eyes of these young professionals and is a great tool for recruitment and learning who the upcoming talents are.”

    Becoming a connector for the Launch Students into Business program is easy. You give 45 minutes of your time to a student for one-on-one meetings that they they steer, and afterwards provide them with two referrals to other industry professionals you feel they should know.

    If it’s such a handshake community, why not give these students the opportunity for the handshake? 

    Furthering the effort to get students connected, UBCO will be holding an event on November 4th promoting jobs in the Okanagan. Career Days is a way for UBC to offer transformative learning experiences for students while developing meaningful, mutually beneficial partnerships with the community.

    The Speed-Networking & Social will be this year’s biggest networking event at UBC’s Okanagan campus. You’ll discover how UBC students and soon-to-be graduates can be an ideal addition to your workplace—either in internship, co-op, or long-term roles: they’re bright, motivated, hard-working, and educated in the latest theories and technologies. More generally, this event is about engaging UBC students with surrounding communities.

    To register for Career Days

    ubc.ca/okanagan/management/community/connecthire/involvement/ubco-careerdays/participating-organizations/registration.html

    To learn more about Launch Students into Business: http://www.kelownachamber.org/chamber/launch.aspx

    We are so lucky, being surrounded with so much innovation and inspiration on a daily basis. Whether it be your morning commute over the lake, or looking out onto the rolling hills of vineyards and biking trails, it’s hard to argue that the Okanagan’s beauty isn’t worth fighting for. 

  • Women in Leadership – What does it mean to you? Who do you think of?
    Oct 17, 2014

    It’s not about how “anything he can do, she can do better,” nor is it a battle of the sexes. It’s asking the question and taking the time to see what needs to change in order to enable more and more women to take the leap and rise into these positions.

    The Kelowna Chamber of Commerce Women Leadership Network is taking on this challenge with help of a research student at Okanagan College.  We are looking to develop that helping hand and encouraging peer mentoring.

    One of our initiatives, the Inspire Series, will be a catalyst to foster this nurturing environment. Throughout the year we will be hosting a circuit of events bringing women in leadership together in small, intimate groups. We’ll hear from women who have inspiring lessons to share, the events that shaped their lives, what they learned about themselves and being a leader.

    Casual exchanges vary as we get to know each other beyond our job titles. Before and during dinner, new acquaintances strike conversations that are as diverse and varied as the professional women attending.  After our speaker, there is an opportunity to ask questions and talk about women in leadership, the challenges we face, and the remarkable journeys taking place all around us.

    Who are the women in leadership that you look up to? We’ve all had mentors, or those who have provided the leg up. What was it they did that furthered you along, what is it about their leadership style that allowed for the culture of growth? Every journey has variables, but its collaboration and peer mentoring that will bring us together.

    So, I pose you the question: what do you feel needs to change? 

    -KCC Contributor 

  • Throwback Thursday! Kelowna Chamber Past Presidents Remember the year of their Reign
    Oct 09, 2014

    Recently the Past Presidents of the Kelowna Chamber got together over a nice hot breakfast at Deli-City to discuss the current initiatives of the Chamber, past accomplishments and milestones, and discussed our goals for the future. They had some great insight and advice, and reminisced about the community as it was, while they were Presidents of the Chamber.

    Read on to meet some of the Kelowna Chamber's Past Presidents, learn of the highlights of their terms as presidents, and realize the changes they advocated for. You will likely recognize many of the names, as these individuals are still influential in our community, proving their leadership is not one-dimensional and that their title was well earned:


    Nick Frost- President in 1983. One highlight from Nick’s time was the relocation of the Chamber from a little office building on the other side of the bridge to where we are now. The position of Vice President was also created during this time. Walter Gray was his Past President.

    David McLean- President in 2005. The University of British Columbia’s Okanagan campus was being launched during this time and the Chamber put in a lot of work to help make that happen. David said that Ken Bessason was his Past President and was a great mentor.

    James Patterson- President in 2008 which was also the 100th anniversary of the Kelowna Chamber. A few highlights from James’ year were the opening of the bridge, passport office and the removal of the Coquihalla tolls. Laura Thurnheer was his Past President.

    Laura Thurnheer- President in 2007. A highlight from Laura’s year was the passing of the second crossing. Kevin Crookes was her Past President

    Ken Bessason- President in 2004. Ken was on the board for the Chamber for 6 years and was also on the BC Chamber board for a couple of years. He is now selling real estate. His Past President was Ken Ficocelli.

    Steve Thompson- President in 1997 and is a current MLA. Steve said the Chamber was a great training ground and that strong advocacy is critical. He is pleased to continue representing the community. Lorne Ettinger was his Past President.


    Wes Shields- President in 2010. Wes was successful in taking issues that were unpopular with the Canadian Chamber but were very beneficial for our community, to the AGM and having them passed. Norm LeCavalier was his Past President.

    Lawrence Salloum
    - President in 1973. One of Lawrence’s main influences during his time was having the Chamber play a major role in the development of the Coquihalla.

    Catherine Comben- President in 1996. Focused on partnerships during her time. She has recently been elected into UBCO Senate. John Merritt was her Past President.

    Lorraine McGrath- President in 2001. Lorraine was particularly proud of the wine resolution that was passed unanimously at the Canadian Chamber Annual General Meeting during her year. Todd Sanderson and David Rush were her Past President’s and they worked on a 3 year strategic plan. Lorraine also sat on the board for the Chamber.

          Paul Mitchell- President in 1988. A couple of highlights from Paul’s year included encouraging and forming better relationships with First Nations and the agreement to build the Connector.

          David Bond- Past President and current Partner at KPMG.  

          Curtis Darmohray- Current Chamber President and Partner at Pushor Mitchell. Curtis still has a busy 6 months remaining on his term as President. 

          Current CEO of the Chamber, Caroline Grover thanked all of the Chamber Board Presidents for their hard work and expressed that she couldn’t imagine what life would be like if all of their efforts and accomplishments weren’t in place today. Can you?  

     -KCC Contributor 

1.       Local

Local refers to those businesses that are directly supporting the local economy. Those sole proprietorships, farmers markets, those who support local artisans in their organizations as often as they can.

2.       Largely local

These are bigger operations, still based in BC but are businesses that may have branched out or expanded into other locations.

3.       Local champions

These are businesses that support local through B2B interactions. This could be ordering your office supplies through a local company.

 

By supporting local purchasing, we can make an impact. “If you can get front lines to buy in, the rest is just enabling them,” as put by Roger Wheeler, attendee. Local purchasing, and encouraging this, is not only going to change at the CEO level. This shift needs to be both a change in leadership goals, as well as a change in awareness for those making the daily purchases. Educating administrative and support staff, anyone who takes care of ordering, and having the front line employees backing this end goal is what is going to make this happen.

With more demand, there will be more orders. With more orders, we will see more social impact. Can it really be that easy?

We want to hear your thoughts! #BCBuylocal and join the discussion.

For more information on buying Local: http://locobc.com/

  • Playing "Matchmaker" to Young Professionals and their Futures
    Oct 21, 2014

    Kelowna: arguably one of the most beautiful cities in BC. With rolling hills full of vineyards and bike paths, and an incredible entrepreneurial spirit -  it’s no wonder that so many students and young professionals are choosing to call it home.

    There’s just one problem; an associated stigma that in order to get a job in Kelowna, you have to leave Kelowna. Though this may not be entirely true, it is in fact, a handshake community. And for some young professionals this can be detrimental during their post-grad decisions.

    So why not break through that stigma then? Do we really want these students leaving to Alberta?

                                             

    With Launch Students into Business, the Kelowna Chamber will be playing ‘matchmaker’ to young professionals and their futures.

    “Having that interaction with business professionals is crucial. At the end of the day it really comes down to who you know, not just what you know,” says an Alumni student from Okanagan College. “There’s a benefit to the professionals too; It allows them to be seen in the eyes of these young professionals and is a great tool for recruitment and learning who the upcoming talents are.”

    Becoming a connector for the Launch Students into Business program is easy. You give 45 minutes of your time to a student for one-on-one meetings that they they steer, and afterwards provide them with two referrals to other industry professionals you feel they should know.

    If it’s such a handshake community, why not give these students the opportunity for the handshake? 

    Furthering the effort to get students connected, UBCO will be holding an event on November 4th promoting jobs in the Okanagan. Career Days is a way for UBC to offer transformative learning experiences for students while developing meaningful, mutually beneficial partnerships with the community.

    The Speed-Networking & Social will be this year’s biggest networking event at UBC’s Okanagan campus. You’ll discover how UBC students and soon-to-be graduates can be an ideal addition to your workplace—either in internship, co-op, or long-term roles: they’re bright, motivated, hard-working, and educated in the latest theories and technologies. More generally, this event is about engaging UBC students with surrounding communities.

    To register for Career Days

    ubc.ca/okanagan/management/community/connecthire/involvement/ubco-careerdays/participating-organizations/registration.html

    To learn more about Launch Students into Business: http://www.kelownachamber.org/chamber/launch.aspx

    We are so lucky, being surrounded with so much innovation and inspiration on a daily basis. Whether it be your morning commute over the lake, or looking out onto the rolling hills of vineyards and biking trails, it’s hard to argue that the Okanagan’s beauty isn’t worth fighting for. 

  • Women in Leadership – What does it mean to you? Who do you think of?
    Oct 17, 2014

    It’s not about how “anything he can do, she can do better,” nor is it a battle of the sexes. It’s asking the question and taking the time to see what needs to change in order to enable more and more women to take the leap and rise into these positions.

    The Kelowna Chamber of Commerce Women Leadership Network is taking on this challenge with help of a research student at Okanagan College.  We are looking to develop that helping hand and encouraging peer mentoring.

    One of our initiatives, the Inspire Series, will be a catalyst to foster this nurturing environment. Throughout the year we will be hosting a circuit of events bringing women in leadership together in small, intimate groups. We’ll hear from women who have inspiring lessons to share, the events that shaped their lives, what they learned about themselves and being a leader.

    Casual exchanges vary as we get to know each other beyond our job titles. Before and during dinner, new acquaintances strike conversations that are as diverse and varied as the professional women attending.  After our speaker, there is an opportunity to ask questions and talk about women in leadership, the challenges we face, and the remarkable journeys taking place all around us.

    Who are the women in leadership that you look up to? We’ve all had mentors, or those who have provided the leg up. What was it they did that furthered you along, what is it about their leadership style that allowed for the culture of growth? Every journey has variables, but its collaboration and peer mentoring that will bring us together.

    So, I pose you the question: what do you feel needs to change? 

    -KCC Contributor 

  • Throwback Thursday! Kelowna Chamber Past Presidents Remember the year of their Reign
    Oct 09, 2014

    Recently the Past Presidents of the Kelowna Chamber got together over a nice hot breakfast at Deli-City to discuss the current initiatives of the Chamber, past accomplishments and milestones, and discussed our goals for the future. They had some great insight and advice, and reminisced about the community as it was, while they were Presidents of the Chamber.

    Read on to meet some of the Kelowna Chamber's Past Presidents, learn of the highlights of their terms as presidents, and realize the changes they advocated for. You will likely recognize many of the names, as these individuals are still influential in our community, proving their leadership is not one-dimensional and that their title was well earned:


    Nick Frost- President in 1983. One highlight from Nick’s time was the relocation of the Chamber from a little office building on the other side of the bridge to where we are now. The position of Vice President was also created during this time. Walter Gray was his Past President.

    David McLean- President in 2005. The University of British Columbia’s Okanagan campus was being launched during this time and the Chamber put in a lot of work to help make that happen. David said that Ken Bessason was his Past President and was a great mentor.

    James Patterson- President in 2008 which was also the 100th anniversary of the Kelowna Chamber. A few highlights from James’ year were the opening of the bridge, passport office and the removal of the Coquihalla tolls. Laura Thurnheer was his Past President.

    Laura Thurnheer- President in 2007. A highlight from Laura’s year was the passing of the second crossing. Kevin Crookes was her Past President

    Ken Bessason- President in 2004. Ken was on the board for the Chamber for 6 years and was also on the BC Chamber board for a couple of years. He is now selling real estate. His Past President was Ken Ficocelli.

    Steve Thompson- President in 1997 and is a current MLA. Steve said the Chamber was a great training ground and that strong advocacy is critical. He is pleased to continue representing the community. Lorne Ettinger was his Past President.


    Wes Shields- President in 2010. Wes was successful in taking issues that were unpopular with the Canadian Chamber but were very beneficial for our community, to the AGM and having them passed. Norm LeCavalier was his Past President.

    Lawrence Salloum
    - President in 1973. One of Lawrence’s main influences during his time was having the Chamber play a major role in the development of the Coquihalla.

    Catherine Comben- President in 1996. Focused on partnerships during her time. She has recently been elected into UBCO Senate. John Merritt was her Past President.

    Lorraine McGrath- President in 2001. Lorraine was particularly proud of the wine resolution that was passed unanimously at the Canadian Chamber Annual General Meeting during her year. Todd Sanderson and David Rush were her Past President’s and they worked on a 3 year strategic plan. Lorraine also sat on the board for the Chamber.

          Paul Mitchell- President in 1988. A couple of highlights from Paul’s year included encouraging and forming better relationships with First Nations and the agreement to build the Connector.

          David Bond- Past President and current Partner at KPMG.  

          Curtis Darmohray- Current Chamber President and Partner at Pushor Mitchell. Curtis still has a busy 6 months remaining on his term as President. 

          Current CEO of the Chamber, Caroline Grover thanked all of the Chamber Board Presidents for their hard work and expressed that she couldn’t imagine what life would be like if all of their efforts and accomplishments weren’t in place today. Can you?  

     -KCC Contributor