Let’s Celebrate Business’ Role In Vancouver Island’s History

November 23, 2021

BRUCE WILLIAMS

VICTORIA – After a year of heart-wrenching stories that cast a shadow on our country’s colonial history, Canadians are wondering how we can do better. How can we move forward without leaving anyone behind?

It’s a challenge we need to face together, but I believe we have been given an opportunity to be better.

Having more voices on the record will only benefit future generations as they learn from, and improve on, those who came before.

The new Business Hall of Fame, presented by RBC, shines a light on those leaders. People from diverse backgrounds who broke barriers, built communities, and created opportunities for the future.

This was an initiative I came up with shortly after taking on my role as CEO of The Victoria Chamber. The idea grew out of a need to acknowledge the importance of small business in shaping our modern economy and the character of our region. It builds beyond the Business Awards, which celebrate the hard work done every day by entrepreneurs.

Those winners and finalists represent organizations that have achieved excellence over the last year or decade. Their success inspires others and encourages all of us to strive to do good business and build a great community for all. The Business Hall of Fame takes a look at a lifetime of work and inspires us to try to be that next leader that will be looked at in several decades as being the catalyst for change.

Earlier this fall, we announced the inaugural cohort and are well underway in planning for a gala ceremony on Feb. 3, 2022. It’s going to be a great night celebrating the diversity of our region’s business history.

A committee of community leaders chose five people to be inducted in 2022: Chief Robert Sam, Ian Maxwell, Helen Beirnes, Clare Copeland and Ron Lou-Poy.

All of them have unique and inspirational stories that illuminate a history that includes diverse perspectives of the past. These are all pioneers who helped build our economy and pave the way for today’s entrepreneurs and organizations. They were innovators who broke through barriers blazed a new trail and helped our region become the truly extraordinary place it is today.

The five inductees for 2022 will be joined by previous winners of The Chamber’s Lifetime Achievement Business Award: Bill McCreadie, Gordy Dodd, Eric Charman, Mel Cooper, Murray and Lynda Farmer, Naz Rayani, Bob Skene, Keith Dagg, Terry Farmer, Cedric Steele, Gordon Denford, Alex A. Campbell, Robert H. Wright and John Chew.

Every year, the Hall of Fame will induct positive role models who have shown regional leadership, insightful vision and a sustained and significant commitment to the prosperity of our region. The selection process recognizes and respects the diversity of leaders who helped build business in Greater Victoria over the decades.

I truly believe that getting together this February will be an evening of joy and renewal, helping us work together to build economic resilience and growth for all. I hope you’ll join us there!

Bruce Williams is CEO of the Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce

Chamber Events

Thursday, Dec. 2 – Chair’s Holiday Reception – 4 – 6 pm @ Lion’s Den Restaurant (1925 Blanshard St.)

Thursday, Feb. 3 – 2022 Business Hall of Fame | 5 – 9 p.m. | Victoria Conference Centre (720 Douglas St.)

*Pre-registration and double-vaccination required to attend all in-person events.

 

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