It was early in my career when I discovered the world of community development, non-profit organizations and volunteerism. I did a work placement at an agency that helped people get jobs, counselled those who needed debt management and created student volunteer projects. I fell in love with mission based work. The idea of earning your living while helping others was genius. I did that work for 11 years and I thought I would never leave.
And then came the opportunity to work for a Chamber of Commerce. Even though it is a non-profit, I thought that business owners, our main client group, had it ‘made in the shade’. They had all kinds of money and time and very little to stress over. What I found was a group of people who not only worked hard to build their business but did double duty by getting involved with their community and lending their talent for the sake of everyone’s benefit.
And that was when I fell in love with business. I quickly learned that business was the driver for every aspect of community well-being. This economic engine provides jobs, learning and social support. But what was most exciting at the Chamber was our ability to optimize the collective vision, passion and expertise of these leaders to influence decision making and determine the future of our communities. And that is what is still so exciting today.
The importance of one strong voice of business in our city, our province and our country is perhaps more critical today than ever before. The pace and scope of change in our global economy requires a level of collaboration, communication and creativity many of us have never known. Add to that a one in a lifetime pandemic that has revealed the fault lines in our businesses, communities and government and we have a situation with deep and far reaching impact.
The role and the responsibility of business and community leaders is to work with our government to ensure we maintain public health and ignite the economy. We must look for ways to minimize the impacts of COVID and maximize opportunities before us. The Ottawa Board of Trade is connected and experienced enough to leverage the strengths of our business community to lead the our way to back to economic, mental and physical health.
We are grateful for our members, stakeholders and volunteers for making it happen.
Yours in prosperity,