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Jan 6, 2016

Best. Year. Ever.

Happy New Year! Before we bid farewell to 2015 and look onward and upward to the new year ahead, we must pay our respects; for 2015 was our most successful year, ever.


To that we owe thanks to our sponsors, partners, supporters, affiliates, volunteers and most importantly - our members!  Never in our history have we had more members, and more members joining. And, do they ever display a high degree of commitment to business excellence and community support! Every weekly meeting we hear the report of new members and comment on the diversity of businesses joining the Chamber. This helps us to grow and work together to create business solutions.

Another compelling proof that this has been our best year ever? Recognition from our colleagues, across the province, and across the country. Our Chamber networks are absolutely buzzing with questions, solutions, webinars, and the occasional award: notably in our case, BC Chamber of the Year. What an honour! And, the highest nominee count ever for our prestigious Business Excellence Awards, given out in October.

Learning. We’ve learned so much this year, particularly about the opportunities in Canada’s resource-based industries. Our CEO attended two trips to the oil sands, to see the pipeline operations along the coast of BC– and  brought back her knowledge and experiences to share with staff, businesses and residents of Kelowna. To stay up-to-date on our province's resource sectors, follow Resource Works. We support the sector in their mandates of responsible development, job creation, and the maintenance of a clean and healthy environment.

Identifying shortfalls should always be part of any look-back-and-plan-forward. What do we see? The need for speed – getting planned strategies into place faster, so the evolution and solution of what the plan is meant to fix, is done within a timeframe that delivers needed results, sooner. Actually, all the “shortfalls” are really centered around working with limited staff and resources – a familiar theme for so many of our businesses, small, medium and large. And like a lot of shortcomings, many of them are in our heads, based on the perception that we need to be further ahead than we are – regardless if we are in a really strong, productive position. So perhaps learning to accept where we are while pushing forward is the most sensible plan to make right now.

Looking ahead, the Kelowna Chamber is examining its branding. We realize that in this communications saturated world, we require a continuity of message, of look, and mission in everything we do. We’re hyper-critical of our own communications, so we are ensuring that what we look like to our audience, and how we are perceived has a strength and consistency that will reflect our very best face to our internal and external audiences.

As we look into our roster of speakers in our first quarter of 2016, we see MLAs, MPs (one new), our Mayor (new last year), and our Premier presenting our provincial budget. 2016 also brings a trip to Kelowna’s sister city in Japan, in cherry blossom time, which is sold out, and an exciting excursion in the summer to Haida Gwaii.

In the second quarter, we’ll host the province-wide BC Chamber annual convention and reception for attendees right here in Kelowna. If our hosting the national Chamber convention 18 months ago is anything to go by (yes, delegates are still talking about the party we threw for them), the provincial celebration will be another landmark.

A strong membership; a strong board; a supportive and knowledgeable staff – if the term ‘count your blessings’ is appropriate at this time of year, then, yes, we are doing that. We are now facing 2016 with excitement, learning, involvement, and advocacy. Here's to shared success, inspiration and a prosperous 2016.