Chamber’s New Board Well Equipped For New Challenges
VICTORIA – What will 2021 mean for businesses in Greater Victoria? If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that we can expect the unexpected.
Thankfully, The Victoria Chamber can count on the experience of our expert Board of Directors. On Jan. 1, our new board took on the role of providing guidance for our 157-year-old organization. We continue to be led by Chair John Wilson, CEO of Wilson’s Group of Companies, a family-owned company with 40 years serving the community. John has had a front seat for the challenges our tourism businesses are facing and is a strong voice laying out the issues and support needed.
It’s become clear that as our economy recovers from the pandemic, not all industries are faring the same. This is a real concern and goes against the spirit of resilience all of us shared at the beginning of the crisis. If we are truly all in it together, we need to make sure all businesses have a chance to recover.
With immunization efforts in full swing and the promise of summer prosperity in sight, we need to hang on to our most vulnerable industries — especially ones as capital intensive as transportation operators whose fleets have been grounded through no fault of their own. If these businesses are allowed to fail, our entire economic recovery will be affected.
Helping steer our board this year will be two newly elected directors: Ann Squires Ferguson, CEO of Western Interior Design Group, and Richard Michaels, President of Maccrim Solutions. Also new is Raul Caballero, owner of Oui Jewelry, who will serve as a non-voting board member in his role as chair of the Prodigy Group, a Chamber committee. Returning to the Board in 2021 are: Vice-Chair Kris Wirk, Partner at Dusanj and Wirk; Past Chair Dan Dagg, President and CEO of H2 Accelerator; Secretary Christina Clarke, CEO of Songhees Development Corp; Treasurer Moira Hauk, Regional Manager South Island for Coastal Community Credit Union; Rose Arsenault, Branch Manager at Agilus Work Solutions; Ian Batey, Owner and Principal of IPB Consulting; Pedro Marquez, Vice President of Global Advancement and Business Development at Royal Roads University; Tom Plumb, President and CEO of Kinetic Construction; Capt. (N) Sam Sader, Base Commander of CFB Esquimalt.
We are also very thankful for the support we have found from our Chamber Champions group — partners who have upped their engagement with the Chamber to guarantee we remain robust throughout this turmoil and beyond. Our Champions are TELUS, MNP, CIBC, RBC, Big Wheel Burger, Seaspan, Knappett Projects, Kinetic Construction, CHEK TV and the University of Victoria.
Business Restart Series:
As CEO of the Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce, I’m stoked about the direction provided by our Champions and all of our board. We know better days are ahead, but, as the riot in Washington DC reminded us, there remains plenty of uncertainty. With the inauguration of President Joe Biden on Jan. 20, the world begins a new era of relations with the United States.
A few hours after the inauguration, The Chamber hosts Perrin Beatty, the CEO of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce and formerly Canada’s Secretary of State for External Affairs. This promises to be a great opportunity to gain expert insight into what’s in store for the special relationship between Canada and the US. If you’re interested in being part of this historic event, you will need to register at victoriachamber.ca. I know I’m looking forward to speaking with Perrin and asking about what it will take to re-open our borders and what needs to happen before we can welcome U.S. travellers back to our city. I hope you’ll join us.
Nominations for the 2021 Business Awards are open until Jan. 25. Don’t forget to nominate a business, including your own, that went above and beyond in 2020. This year’s event promises to be exceptionally inspiring!
Bruce Williams is the CEO of the Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce