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Sep 29, 2015

Travel, Awards, Best Business Practices - Fall is Underway

We all say September 1 is the real start of the new year, and 2015 is no exception. Our tremendous staff at the Kelowna Chamber worked away during August to ensure all our September events filled up and shone; here we are staring October in the face, with an already impressive number of events behind us. Lots more to come.

Today I am NOT writing about the economy. I am going to focus on our immediate successes and near-field challenges in our run-up to wintertime.

September saw the Kelowna Chamber of Commerce succeed in the Canadian national “Chambers Competition”. We see taking part in this program as a way to join our collegial chambers as we all promote and share best practices. Along the way, being recognized for excellent work gives recognition to our staff, to our Board, and our Chamber members.

Standing out from our competitors and colleagues means more members want to join our organization, and to form partnerships with us. I am delighted to announce that the Kelowna Chamber was a national winner this year, and one of our rewards is a complimentary registration to the 2016 Canadian Chamber's annual meeting (Regina). We also will be making a presentation on our local work, as part of the award, to our colleagues at this year’s annual meeting in Ottawa. We are honoured!

At the same time (September, of course) we took part in the well-organized and well-executed CCEC (Chamber of Commerce Executives, BC) annual meeting hosted by the Greater Westside Board of Trade. Their Karen Beaubierdid a terrific job welcoming and organizing all and everyone. Our very own Allison Conroy, Communications Coordinator, won the 2015 Newsletter-Communication Award for Chambers of 500+ members. Allison does a stellar job, week in, week out, with our social media, and especially our electronic newsletter and our website. We are terrifically happy for Allison, and salute her hard, and creative work.

I mentioned travel – that is part of our September smorgasbord of work, as well. The Canadian Chamber has set up a Gateway to Asia Tour, which will give several of us a front row seat to look at the policies and realities of our resource sector and export infrastructure.

From September 29 to October 1, I will take part in meetings, presentations and tours in Vancouver, Prince Rupert and Kitimat. I am privileged to have been chosen to take part in learning more about the growing economies of Asia and how BC’s export infrastructure is playing an increasingly key role in our country’s ability to diversify our export markets, while creating economic ties to our region. Like so many of our business members, I want to see future economic growth in our valley as a result of these initiatives. Being chosen for this bursary and learning experience is very important to me and to our Chamber.

Working with our many partners continues to enrich our activities and our ability to reach our members. Chambers throughout the Central Okanagan are coming together with other business stakeholders on a regional initiative – the Central Okanagan Business Walk. This 4th Annual Business Walk, powered by the Central Okanagan Economic Development Commission (COEDC), sees more than 60 business leaders in the Central Okanagan volunteer their time for the morning to conduct conversational surveys with up to 400 businesses. Businesses are asked about their business environment and what they need to thrive. The results of the 2015 Business Walk will made available by the end of October. The COEDC hosts two smaller walks spring and fall, focusing on human resources issues for manufacturers and tourism, as well. All provide timely information for our members.

We continue to work with our growing list of members businesses on many fronts; hosting our 28th annual Business Excellence Awards in October; hosting a federal candidates forum in addition to multiple events every week to serve our wide range of member interests; and just generally, staying thoroughly and completely involved in the business life of our community. A full slate, and we are grateful for the opportunities to enrich our members’ business lives.