Message from the Chair
Glenn Windrem Trucking
So, I get asked, “Why the Chamber?” I had been a member for a while but years ago I was starting to question my purpose with the Chamber and had a conversation with a pretty good friend, Tony Smith. He told me, “If you want the Chamber to really work for you, you have to get involved.” He recruited me onto the Golf committee. At the first meeting I introduced myself and after the meeting I got a call from the Manager of Membership Services, Barb Moncrief. She said, “I have met someone that I think would be a good fit for you.” That was just a small example of what can happen. I followed Tony into a couple more committees and finally I thought I was ready for the Board of Directors.
Over the past few years I have said that I have gotten more out of being on the Board than what I have put in. You get to work with and learn from some great business people and leaders. And going through the process from a new Board member to Chair you get to learn more about the Chamber, government, and policies, and to see interesting debate and decision making from a diverse group of people with different perspectives and views.
As the Vice Chair I was invited to go to the Canadian Chamber’s Annual General Meeting in PEI. It really opened my eyes to how broad the Chamber network really is, and the policy debate? Well, seeing a policy resolution get introduced and debated, and seeing views from across the country and how influential and organized the Ontario caucus is was really impressive. I was also extremely impressed with how respected our President & CEO Stuart Harrison and Policy Analyst Sandra Dueck are in the Chamber world.
Yes, the networking events that we offer allow you to meet like-minded people, but really that is such a small portion of the business of the Chamber of Commerce. Our policy & advocacy work is our true benefit. What I appreciate about this work is that we do it to benefit all businesses, not just the Membership.
I know over the past few years our Chamber has been trying to find our identity, after the major loss of the Licensing Bureau. I don’t think Stu has enjoyed this comment from me, but when we lost Licensing that is when the Board of Directors got exciting and interesting. We actually had to become creative and innovative, and take risks to see what works and recreate our identity in this community. It took some time but 2015 looks like the year that all the work of the past 4-5 years may come together.
- Our Board of Directors and committees are becoming more strategic instead of operational.
- We are looking at more mission-based events instead of simply fundraising events.
- Empowering our great staff, allowing them to be creative and have decision-making power. Empowering our staff takes pressure off volunteers to make simple event-related decisions. This makes them more effective and means less labour costs for our events.
In summary, after several difficult years we have set up 2015 to be a stabilizing year. My goal, and the goal of the Board of Directors is to stand up at the 2016 Annual General Meeting and present a balanced, or perhaps even profitable, budget.
In closing, I want to say thank you for the opportunity to be your 2015 Chair of the Board of Directors and now let’s get to work!!