Chamber Update: 6 months and counting!
September 8, 2018
As September is upon us, so is the season of refocusing our energy. Personally, the Fall has always brought a period of personal and business reflection and renewal.
It seems that at the Chamber it is no different!
The Chamber’s current Board of Directors has been in place since March 2018. Six months into the mandate, I offer this mid-mandate review for members and perspective members.
First, please allow me to introduce and welcome three new Board members to the Chamber. We are, for the first time, operating with a full Board complement of seven engaged and passionate business leaders:
Natalie Kelly, CPA, CA, Chartered Professional Accountant. Natalie answered our call in an hour of need and I could not be more grateful. Over the years, Natalie has become an invaluable resource for local business – going well beyond tax season. Natalie has, naturally, taken on Treasurer duties for the Chamber and has generously offered to assist with bookkeeping and accounting for the Chamber. With a keen interest in marketing and communications, Natalie will be an incredible spokesperson for the Chamber and our members.
Laura Wright, Sotheby’s International Realty Canada. Laura is a passionate realtor and works incredibly hard for her clients and colleagues. Laura was asked to join the Board in an extremely busy time for her, summer buy/sell season in the Bow Valley was in full swing. Without hesitation, Laura agreed to help. As a long time Bow Valley resident and business owner, we are very grateful for her energy. I know she and Kyler will be instrumental in our collective effort to drive members to over 300 members!
If you know Banff’s coffee scene, you know Kyler Brierley! Kyler and his wife Lauren have recently taken on ownership of Banff’s Good Earth Coffeehouse. He and his wife Lauren share a love for the mountains and this beautiful place we call the Bow Valley. Prior to this bustling business Kyler worked in the private sector for five years with a global organization. This was preceded by studies at the University of Calgary and time living abroad in Spain. Always a 'people person’ Kyler’s unique blend of athlete, global and local business experience, living in Canmore but operating a business in Banff will aid the Bow Valley Chamber of Commerce’s mission to provide a voice on local, provincial and federal issues while fostering support and connections within the business community.
Of course, our Board continues to benefit from the fantastic contributions of:
- Dr. Cheryl Cooper, a local Naturopathic Doctor/Director of Consensio Clinic. In addition to her practice, Cheryl is an in-demand Marriage Commissioner and finds time to give 100% to her role as Chamber Board member. Cheryl has spent an incredible amount of time spearheading October’s Thrive: A Festival of Health & Wellness in the Bow Valley.
- Gavin Harmacy, Owner/Operator of SkiUphill, and a Senior Manager at Apple. Gavin has incredible energy and believes that if our focus is on the right things then amazing things can happen – for the Bow Valley business community and beyond. We are very lucky to have Gavin committed to our technical and IT infrastructure and supporting the Chamber’s social media and web media efforts.
- Wendy Simpson, Business Coach at ActionEdge Business Coaching, and owner of Tapas restaurant. Wendy is an incredible source of business knowledge, offering both a local perspective and an institutional knowledge of business operations and advancement. Wendy is our corporate Secretary and keeps us on track and organized. Her honest style, calming influence and great humour are so welcome at Chamber meetings! We also love Tapas 😊
- And myself, Janet Nystedt. I am a local lawyer with Blackett Law - but don’t hold that against me!
Looking at the depth and breadth of experience, talent and drive of our Board, I am confident and excited about the possibilities and opportunity for your Chamber.
So, other than rounding out our Board, what have we been up to … well, actually a fair bit!
Events & Education
We were quite proud to have offered a full suite of events during our first six months on the Board. From January to June the Chamber offers a fairly consistent events and happenings calendar:
Chamber 101 – On demand! Want to learn more about what the Chamber offers and how we can help? New to the Chamber and want to maximize your investment? Book a Chamber 101 session at email@example.com
Our monthly Board Meeting is usually the first Wednesday of the month from 5:30 p.m to 7:30 p.m., the location varies, and we’ll start posting this online. All are welcome at the Board Meetings.
You’ll continue to receive a Chamber Newsletters and Chamber Events Newsletters every month!
Most of our members engage in our more active participation events:
- Quarterly Conversation Cafés. A breakfast meeting dedicated to local advocacy issues. Please let us know what might be of interest to you and your business.
- Monthly (ish) Business Bootcamp. Bootcamps are designed to be small group learning sessions with local experts – in recent past we have hosted accounting, HR, marketing and communications sessions for local business: what would help your business? In November, Sarah Phillips of Blackett Law will be running an estate planning seminar for small business owners.
- Everyone likes Bevvies & Business, on the third Wednesday of the Month! Interested in hosting and highlighting your business space, services or food/beverage? Contact firstname.lastname@example.org
- Most months we host a Learn @ Lunch on various topics that might be of interest to your business. In September, watch for a discussion on employee wellness and how supporting wellness translates to business success.
Our marquee event schedule is full for Fall 2018 as well:
Thrive: A Festival of Health & Wellness in the Bow Valley is taking place from October 25th to 28th. This is an exciting opportunity to engage with the many wellness providers in the Valley, network with peers in the industry, and showcase the Valley as a premiere health and wellness destination. Contact Dr. Cooper at email@example.com for more information, or to become an event sponsor.
Our September “Welcome Back” Bevvies & Business will take place on Wednesday, September 19th @ Tank310. Come check out the Grizzly Paw’s new space!
We’re test driving a new event management service with Showpass, a Calgary-based company … find the Tank310 RSVP here: https://www.showpass.com/bevvies-business/
And of course … It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas! Our final 2018 event will celebrate the season and offer a gathering of businesses – details coming soon!
Regional Engagement & Membership Development
Our Chamber is a regional Chamber, servicing the Bow Valley from Kananaskis to Lake Louise. We are cognizant that the Chamber has focused its efforts to date on growing membership in Canmore, and we are now actively looking to rapidly grow farther.
We are looking at a number of ways to start engaging more with Banff’s local business groups. Newly minted Board members, Kyler and Laura, are both Banff business owners, and our friends at the Crag & Canyon have very generously provided space in their publication for the Chamber to highlight current issues, news, events and happenings. We will be looking to start hosting more events in Banff – if any business would like to host, please get in touch!
In Canmore & Kananaskis, we have worked to keep membership renewal for 2018 at very strong levels. We believe we are strengthen relationships and collaboration with our peers and colleagues at BOWDA, Tourism Canmore Kananaskis and the Business Improvement Association. We were invited to provide input on the Town of Canmore’s Economic Development Manager hiring process, parking management plan and land use bylaw revamp. We are very excited to be exploring opportunities with the Rocky Mountain Ventures group and Community Futures Centre West.
We continue to enjoy partnership with Bow Valley College as a sponsor for our Business Bootcamp series, and Start Up Bow Valley.
Our efforts on advocacy have included membership engagement on Canmore’s land use bylaw updating project – specifically on temporary signage options. We are actively working with the Town’s planning department to (hopefully) ease the ban on temporary signage, in a way that makes sense and in keeping with both the safety and aesthetic goals of the Town.
Our Olympic engagement has proven quite interesting. We received a strong mandate from membership to support the Olympic 2026 Bid, and that’s what we’ve been doing! We continue the dialogue with the Yes2026Can advocacy group, with Town officials, and with the Calgary Chamber of Commerce and their education and information efforts with the IOC. If the opportunity to be a host community materializes, we will shift our efforts to assisting with sustainable business opportunities.
In Banff and Lake Louise, we have been part of the media dialogue on the challenges and opportunities of doing business in a National Park, and weighing in on Parks Canada’s National Parks Report. We look forward to working with the Banff National Park business community in the future to identify and engage on specific issues and concerns.
Administration & Finance
Taking cues from the Founding Board, we understood that year two of start-up operations is all about sustainability; and we took that Board’s recommendation to focus our Spring efforts on learning the administration and finances of the Chamber.
We’re still learning and making efforts toward efficiency, with a few notable decisions implemented:
First, we are moving to a virtual office in October, we hope to save money and encourage increased member engagement with more boots on the ground! We are grateful to our friends at EMC2 for hosting the Chamber to date.
Finally, we have implemented an online e-commerce store in Square for membership renewals and our Thrive Health & Wellness Festival, as a trial; and we have moved our bookkeeping to Quick Books Online.
We are confident and optimistic that as we continue to streamline and find efficiencies, we will continue to offer a professional and highly engaged offering for our members.
The past six months have been interesting and busy, and there is no end in sight!
Thank you for renewing your membership and for encouraging others to join the Chamber. We are quite confident that we add value to local business directly and to our larger business community – we welcome all business to BELONG!
I haven’t even mentioned the affinity programs, member-2-member discount opportunities, benefits offerings for health & wellness, and other fantastic programs offered to the Chamber.
More to come as we grow and succeed in our mission to help you thrive and prosper.
Want to help? We have so many opportunities for our members to assist the Chamber and assist the business community. And … Februaray is coming, and our AGM will require election of new and/or returning Board Members. Contact me if you’re interested in lending a hand @ firstname.lastname@example.org