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A Message from the Chair of the Board

In the year of a pandemic, a tragic year for so many, I recently read that Collins Dictionary unveiled its word of the year: “LOCKDOWN” explaining that “it encapsulates the shared experience of billions of people who have had to restrict their daily lives in order to contain the Coronavirus.”  Others have chosen a different word to describe 2020, one that we speak to daily at the Ottawa Board of Trade: “RESILIENCE”, a word that encapsulates, in an even deeper and often emotional sense, the shared experience of billions of people this year.  And while RESILIENCE is the quality that was summoned in us by all the challenges of 2020, RESILIENCE is going to be just as relevant, if not even more relevant, when the pandemic is over.  RESILIENCE is the quality that is going to carry us forward into 2021.

At the Ottawa Board of Trade led by our President & CEO, Sueling Ching and our devoted Staff, we are not looking to simply bounce back and conquer the deep uncertainty, anxiety and challenges created by the adversity of this pandemic and resultant lockdown   …   we need to bounce forward and to become even stronger.  Yes, we pray that a vaccine will bring this tragic pandemic to an end, however we need to continue to recognize the fact that our individual and collective resilience is a vaccine that we already have in our immune system to manage the inevitable “ups and downs of life”.

As our business community enters the next phase of economic recovery, the Ottawa Board of Trade developed #OttawaNEXT as a go-to resource to help local business leaders empower themselves. #OttawaNEXT is about connecting businesses to the right answers, opportunities and support—quickly and easily—during this next phase of recovery.  And in particular, as Ottawa’s small & medium-sized businesses are bearing the brunt in our fight against COVID-19, this holiday season is an opportunity to specifically provide them with some support from all of us.  We need these SME’s to survive the upcoming winter season in order to contribute to our recovery. It is up to ALL OF US.

On behalf of the Board of Directors of the Ottawa Board of Trade, we thank Sueling and her dedicated team of Staff & Volunteers for their incredible work throughout 2020 as well as the work we know that lies ahead of us into 2021.  Further, we thank all our Community Partners, including Mayor Watson and his Council Colleagues and City Staff, for their ongoing encouragement, collaboration and support.

The Ottawa Board of Trade started to scale-up our advocacy work in early 2020, consistent with the strategic imperatives that we established as a Board of Trade following the successful implementation of our consolidation.  COVID-19 caused us to both elevate and augment our work including our accountability to the Ottawa business community.  Through these efforts, in collaboration with Community Partners, we have come to recognize that the strength of our resilience, together with our COVID-Courage, offers us a chance at true transformation   …   allowing us to go deeper, connect with what we truly value, and to grow and expand Ottawa as the best place in the world to live, play, work and invest.  We do so through an ongoing spirit of partnership & engagement with our business and community leaders, working together to leverage our strengths and optimizing our collective resources with every size of business and at every level of government.  Through strategic focus, disciplined & co-operative objectives, strong partnerships, and the articulation of appropriate advocacy and representations at all levels of government, we will continue to fuel our future and contribute to our leadership responsibilities as the voice for business in Ottawa and the National Capital Region.

To everyone in our great community as we cherish the Gift of Ottawa through what I’m sure will be an emotional holiday season, I wish you - based on your observance - a Happy Chanukah, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year 2021.  But most of all, I wish you safety, security, strength, health, courage and resilience.


Sincerely, Ian Sherman

Proud Chair, Board of Directors, Ottawa Board of Trade