Happy New Year. May we all enjoy a healthy and prosperous 2021, armed with many lessons learned and the knowledge that creativity, collaboration and communication are the foundation for our collective success.
It has been my honour to serve our business community as the President & CEO of the Ottawa Board of Trade. Certainly, my first few months in this role were not as planned. However, like many of our businesses, our organization had to be resilient, dig deep and pivot in order to meet our mandate to advocate for business and economic growth. And if there was ever a time in our 160 year history that the voice for business needed to be strong, it was 2020.
I wish to extend heartfelt appreciation to you – our members. I hope you are taking full advantage of our member driven advocacy, benefits and communications. As you know, the nature of our work ultimately supports all businesses as well as the entire community. However, as we are an independent, non profit association, it would not be possible without you. You provide our primary funding, you invest your energy, expertise and time to our economic priorities and initiatives. You promote the message of the value of working together. Thank you!
This year we have been focused on supporting our business community with recommendations on policies and programs as every level of our government endeavoured to counter the impact of COVID on our community and our country. We deepened our partnerships with local stakeholders as well as our colleagues at the Ontario and Canadian Chambers and with all the major Chambers across Canada. We delivered countless meetings, presentations, letters and webinars to keep on top of the key issues and opportunities in an ever changing environment.
And the results were effective. We experienced an unprecedented level of communication and collaboration from business, community and political leaders. We witnessed the rapid roll out of key support programs and in many cases, key changes to the programs in a timely manner. We were able to work with partners to launch funding, training and local buying programs for businesses. We quickly changed our commutations and events to keep our community connected and informed. Most importantly, we highlighted the importance of business in our community health agenda.
Looking forward to 2021, we are engaging in a new strategic plan for our organization that will enhance our ability to support our community recovery and contribute to a cohesive economic agenda for the Ottawa region. High on our agenda will be city building, talent development and supporting entrepreneurship. This last year has presented differently for everyone – with many challenges – but also with a renewed ability to focus in on key business and social issues. It is our intention to leverage what we have learned and forge a new path toward economic prosperity that is sustainable and inclusive. Stronger together.
Sueling Ching, President & CEO, Ottawa Board of Trade