Bruce Williams is CEO of the Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce
I hope everyone is enjoying summer and has had a chance to shift gears to new projects in your professional and personal lives. A change of pace can offer a new perspective, allowing for course corrections that keep you and your business on track.
The work never ends at The Chamber. There is always something next on our list — and I wouldn’t have it any other way. As a 160-year-old organization, we thrive by staying in a constant state of renewal. One way we do this is through annual elections that add fresh voices to our Board of Directors. Every summer, we open up applications for candidate nominations ahead of a fall vote by our members.
This year, we have four seats up for election.
Whoever is elected will serve a two-year term. We stagger the number of positions up for renewal each year to balance continuity with new voices. The quality of our board members is phenomenal, with business and community leaders representing organizations of all sizes. We have also recently made strides in our reputation as a welcoming place for all people amplifying a diversity of voices. I’m proud of our efforts to become an organization where everyone who shares our vision and mission can belong. We believe in working together to build good business and great community for all, and we strive to be the region’s most diverse and influential business association.
That focus is reflected in the composition of our current Board. It is composed of strong individuals, passionate about business, 47% of whom identify as women, 33% from communities that have been under-represented in the past and 20% are new Canadians who chose to build their lives in our region. It takes effort to do the right thing, but the payoff is well worth it. I might be biased, but our Board continues to amaze me with how it overcomes challenges with inspiring creativity and innovative thinking. This year has been fraught with an economy beset by punishing interest rates and pervasive inflation. It’s a confusing time for businesses and, thanks to the support of our Board, The Chamber has worked to shine a light into the shadows of uncertainty. We hosted the Bank of Canada’s Economic Progress Report in June and B.C.’s Minister of Jobs, Economic Development and Innovation in May. We continue to seek information so we can share it with our members and, hopefully, help them make sense of the confusion.
This year’s Board has also delivered a major win for our region. Funding is finally in place for the redevelopment of Belleville Terminal. This is big news that has huge importance for the future of Greater Victoria. The Chamber has been working to modernize this facility for decades. It’s the gateway to Canada for international visitors arriving in the Inner Harbour and a key transportation link with the United States. Finally, after many years of advocacy efforts, we can expect a new Belleville Terminal to be open for business by 2028.
If you’re a member of Greater Victoria’s business community and want to make a difference by joining the region’s most influential business association, I encourage you to learn more at victoriachamber.ca.
The column originally appeared in the July edition of the Business Examiner.