As my term as Chamber President comes to a close, I feel honoured to have served the membership through this very difficult time. It is disappointing that I wasn’t able to see you at events and connect with you in person as in previous years but hope that our regular communication helped you to know that we were continually thinking of you and your wellbeing.
The COVID-19 pandemic definitely turned 2020 on its end and forced all of us to adapt, reorganize and persevere through very challenging times. We can agree that when the pandemic began, we had no idea what to expect or what the implications would be for our businesses. The wave of information from all levels of government and local organizations was overwhelming and intimidating. This is where the Chamber staff rose to the challenge. I would specifically like to call out the dedication of Sherry Boyce-Found and staff who spent hundreds of hours attending online round table meetings, information sessions, and government updates to collect important information. Sherry and the staff dug through this information and organized and delivered it to us in a way that was easy to understand and utilize. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the Lakefield ServiceOntario staff for their dedication and hard work during this challenging time. And a heartfelt congratulations to Deb Lowcock, our ServiceOntario Supervisor, who celebrated 30 years with the Chamber in 2020!
As I write this report, I cannot believe that a year has passed since I was voted in as President of the Kawartha Chamber of Commerce & Tourism. I look forward to continuing to serve on the Board as Past President for 2019-20.
My involvement with the Kawartha Chamber started when my family and I moved to Ennismore. I remember speaking with Sherry as our boxes were being unpacked. I wanted to get to know this community – what businesses and services were available for us as new residents. The business directory was great, but I really wanted to get to know the businesses and volunteer my time to help grow economic prosperity in the region, so I joined the Board. I have participated in the Governance Committee, the HR Committee and the Marketing Committee. I will continue to Chair the Marketing Committee and look forward to Chairing the Nominating Committee to ensure our Board continues to meet the needs of our members.
The Marketing Committee has been working on a few initiatives and at a recent meeting, we reviewed some of the key reasons why businesses choose to join the Kawartha Chamber. It probably won’t surprise you that we agreed overwhelmingly it was because we support rural, small businesses in all sectors – including microbusinesses, solopreneurs & home-based businesses. The staff work hard to organize networking and professional development events that meet the needs of our members. One of the most requested sessions are our “Business Owners Sharing Solutions” (B.O.S.S.) series and our “Hops” are highly attended – giving members opportunities to tour businesses and speak with the owners.
I want to thank the 330+ Chamber members for allowing me to serve you as President for 2018-19 and a special thank you to the staff for making this term unforgettable.