This past year, the Tri-Cities Chamber has spent time moving forward together with its resources educating, advocating and connecting our members.  We plan to continue and build on this trend in 2015. While we have had many great successes in 2014, we will continue to progress our brand as the largest and most comprehensive organization representing business interests’ in the region in 2015. There is still room to build on our strengths, advancing and developing our services to serve our members’ needs in the community.

One area where there is significant opportunity for the Chamber is connecting with ethnically diverse business communities.  The Korean, Chinese, Iranian and Filipino business communities (just to name a few) actively organize and support each other.  We have service and value to offer these groups and they, in turn, can offer value to our membership. In the coming year, we will be intentional in our efforts to create environments for cross-cultural business opportunities and to engage with these diverse communities.

Since spring, Michael Hind, Executive Director of the Tri-Cities Chamber and I have been working with Federal Senators and Members of Parliament to discuss the mode of communication for translating federal trade policy into real opportunities for our local businesses – small and large. We have participated in outreach and shared in work groups to create a platform for open discussion across a diverse selection of business communities.  We know that without bridging the gap and creating relationships into those communities, we will not be able to do business in the future.

For example, we believe that our actions will help the Tri-Cities take advantage of the opportunities made available by the new Korean Free Trade Agreement (KFTA). Under the guidance of the Honourable Senator Yonah Martin, the Tri-Cities Chamber has been working on creating the structure of a Korean Task Force on Business. Senator Martin’s passion and commitment to inclusivity and desire to create space for open and respectful dialogue has now opened the door for our Chamber to reach out, offer services, connections and opportunities for our members that will extend to Korea. The Task Forces goal will be to reach out and solicit participation from diverse groups across our region, and to work with representatives within federal, provincial and municipal governments to create a comprehensive view of the opportunities presented by this new agreement.

In 2015, you will see the Tri-Cities Chamber of Commerce focus on advocating to all levels of government, reaching beyond our geographic boundaries, expanding our services and growing our membership. Our energies will be spent working closely with members on what matters to them – growing and developing their businesses and our community.

It has been a pleasure to be the Tri-Cities Chamber of Commerce Chair for 2014 and I look forward to working alongside the incoming 2015 Chair, Rick Pasin.

Janine Davies
2014 Chair, Tri-Cities Chamber of Commerce