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Business Report: 2015 was a year of reinvention and growth

Business Report brought to you by the Richmond Chamber of Commerce F or the Richmond Chamber of Commerce, 2015 started out with a bang.
Justin Trudeau
Liberal Party of Canada leader Justin Trudeau addressed the Richmond Chamber of Commerce on July 24, 2015.

Business Report brought to you by the Richmond Chamber of Commerce

For the Richmond Chamber of Commerce, 2015 started out with a bang.

After nine years at the helm, the Richmond Chamber of Commerce’s former executive director Craig Jones stepped down. During the transition period, 24-year chamber veteran Carol Young took on the role of acting executive director, and began the process of charting a new direction.

Speaking Up for Richmond Business

The chamber also continued its long-held role for speaking up for Richmond businesses.

Through listening intently to members and stakeholders, the Richmond chamber’s Policy Advisory Committee was able to draft policies: Increased Trade with Pacific Gateway; Enhanced Push for Mobile Business Licence and, Protecting the National Economy by Managing the Lower Fraser River. 

All three policies were adopted by the BC Chamber of Commerce at its annual general meeting in May. Increased Trade with Pacific Gateway was adopted by the Canadian Chamber of Commerce in October. 

Further to this success, after two years of successful operation, the chamber applauded Richmond City Council’s recent motion making the 2013 Inter-municipal Business Licence (IMBL) pilot a permanent program; in conjunction with the municipalities of Burnaby, New Westminster, Surrey, Delta and Vancouver.

This initiative has been a significant benefit to chamber members in the construction and trades sector, relieving a large administrative burden.

The Richmond chamber is proud to have been a provincial leader on this file dating back to 2007.

Navigating Change

The Richmond chamber also navigated great change this year.

Young started 2015 with strength as the acting executive director. Her two decades of experience, most recently as manager of administration and events, gave her the intimate knowledge of the organization she needed to hit the ground running and to lead with aplomb until a permanent replacement was found. 

That permanent replacement was announced at the Richmond chamber’s AGM in June: former manager of policy and communications Matt Pitcairn.

Pitcairn said at the time, “I am honoured and humbled to take on the role of executive director at the Richmond chamber. This community has given me so much, and I look forward to giving back. Local businesses are the back bone of our city and I plan to ensure we provide our membership with the utmost value and relevance at all times.”

Since his appointment to the role, Pitcairn has focused on engaging membership and the business community, working with the board of directors to develop a two-year strategic plan and find opportunities to work with the chamber’s community partners for new and relevant events.

Federal Eelection

One such event was July’s luncheon with Federal Liberal Party of Canada leader Justin Trudeau.

A non-partisan luncheon with the now prime minister was an exclusive opportunity for Richmond chamber members and interested citizens to ask their questions for the future of Canada directly. 

The Richmond chamber also partnered with the Richmond News to host an All-Candidates Debate at the Richmond Country Club. The large audience engaged candidates with their own questions via a smartphone app, Pigeonhole Live, which integrated seamlessly into the format. 

Members posed questions to the candidates with a focus on economic policies and with an eye to issues that impact local businesses.

Invigorating Speakers

Justin Trudeau was not the only exciting speaker to take the stage at the Richmond Chamber in 2015. Speakers in the past year included Craig Richmond, president and CEO of Vancouver Airport Authority, Tamara Vrooman, president and CEO of Vancity, Craig Wright, chief economist at RBC, Mayor Malcolm Brodie and Lynne Platt, U.S. Consul General to Vancouver.

Educating Business People

The Richmond chamber’s successful Lunch & Learn series continued throughout 2015, with entertaining and educational seminars presented by the experts. One very successful series was July’s Social Media Month, which took business owners through the ins and outs of managing their company’s online presence, presented by Mapa Social, a leading innovator in their field. 

Unparalleled Events

The Richmond chamber has always been known for world-class events and 2015 was no exception. Events such as a Chinese New Year Banquet Dinner, Dragon Boating Festival, and Mid-Autumn Festival were delivered in Richmond’s two most common languages – Mandarin and English and brought people of all backgrounds together to celebrate. The 13th Annual 911 Awards honoured our city’s first responders at a gala dinner in April.  Also, on the evening of Wednesday, Nov. 25, the Richmond chamber of Commerce, in partnership with title sponsor TD, recognized the top business performers in Richmond at the 38th Annual Business Excellence Awards.

Twenty seven finalists, all outstanding organizations operating in Richmond, were honoured in nine categories, along with the induction of one hall of fame member.

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