Editorial | 2018 Successes Position Chamber for Continued Growth

2018 was the most successful year for the Tri-Cities Chamber in every objective measure. The Chamber achieved our highest number of members at 993 members and counting and the highest revenue total to date. Last year also saw the addition of two new segmented programs and a re-energization into our advocacy efforts. This growth is proof that the business community places high importance on the role and responsibility of the Chamber.

The Chamber recognized the ever-changing faces of business and entrepreneur leadership in our community. The Tri-Cities Young Professionals program (TCYP) and the Women in Business Committee (WiB) were developed in 2018 to engage and grow segmented demographics in the Tri-Cities. The TCYP is comprised of over 100 members and features a calendar of events that are highly relevant to those members. They held a Soirée in the fall to celebrate a very successful inaugural year.

Our Women in Business committee built on the successes from past years. They host a number of events that are focused on the issues that are uniquely connected to women in business. Of course, our signature “Women in Business” event is timed with International Women’s Day in March. Our goal is to increase male attendance to drive awareness and action for women leadership development throughout the Tri-Cities.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the hard work of our Policy Committee and Policy Resource, Alex King this past year. The change in our Provincial government in 2017 culminated with a number of tax and regulatory changes directly affected business… and we heard you loud and clear. The Chamber participated in a number of policy activities such as taking positions on minimum wage, the Employer Health Tax, assessment issues for the members along the Austin Heights corridor, homelessness andthe issues affecting businesses around 3030 Gordon Ave, to name a few. We helped the community to make more informed decisions by hosting three debates for the municipal elections and one debate between Proportional Representation and First Past the Post groups.

As your incoming Chair for 2019, I feel very fortunate to work with such impressive individuals, businesses and non-profit organizations. I look forward to building upon the successes of 2018. 2019 will be the year we finally eclipse the 1000-member milestone. Our mandate continues to be to shape the future of business in our community. We will achieve this vision by focusing on our strategic objectives of, clarify and strengthen our brand, to maximize value to our members, and to promote the Tri-Cities as the best place to live, work and play.

As the world continues to shift under our feet, we must synthesize the value we create for our members through strong advocacy work, education, and business development opportunities. It’s more important now than ever for us to bring these three pillars of the Chamber into one delivery promise. 2019 will include a Federal election, the potential for a provincial election, and the adaption to the change of city council and mayors in the Tri-Cities and across the region. Our members expect that we advocate for a healthy business and investment climate, and if necessary, to help educate them on how changing regulation will impact them directly.

As always, we will provide our members with the ability to connect in a meaningful way. With more than 85 events, from education to networking to celebrating business excellence, there is something for everyone. But, it’s up to you to help make these events special. We are stronger as a community and we have power in numbers. Stay informed, ask questions, ask for help, but most importantly, stay engaged.

On a personal note, thank you to Catherine Ackerman, the 2018 Chair. Catherine, I am grateful for the leadership you’ve demonstrated this past year. Your passion for the business community in the Tri-Cities is evident in the number of events you attend, the level of ownership you take in the role, and the standard you set for the Directors. I would also like to thank our 2017 Chair, Carlo Zarrillo. He helped shepherd us through a strategic planning process in 2016 followed by holding us to delivering on the vision. We have a Chamber today that is set to hit new heights due to your leadership and commitment to the community. Finally, thank you, Michael Hind and team. I have been fortunate to call you friends and colleagues. I have witnessed your ability to manage numerous initiatives and timelines with excellence and enthusiasm. Thank you for allowing the Chamber to realize its potential.

Happy Holidays, and I look forward to working with you in 2019.

 

Randy Webster, 2019 Chair