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Volunteer Profile

Lori Fernandes

When Lori started working in the Oakville office for Aon Risk Solutions, she openly admits she didn’t know anyone in the community. She’d spent the bulk of her career working in Toronto and Stoney Creek and did not live in Oakville. She strategically joined the Oakville Chamber of Commerce, known for its networking opportunities, to build her client base.

“It was a wise decision,” Lori admits when asked about the value of her membership. “Without the Chamber, my client base would not be where it is now. I’ve been amazed at how many fantastic business connections I’ve made through the Chamber.”                      

It helps that she has 19 years of experience in commercial insurance to offer, and a keen ability to identify risk and provide innovative solutions to commercial accounts. Her business portfolio reflects an expertise in manufacturing and supply chain, as well as experience in health care, public sector, construction, transportation, technology and hospitality.

As a Chamber member, Lori represents her employer, Aon Risk Solutions – a global provider of risk management services, insurance and reinsurance brokerage, and human capital consulting. Although better known for working with the world’s largest corporations, the company wanted to expand its services to small and medium-size businesses. For Lori, joining the Oakville Chamber of Commerce has been instrumental in implementing that strategy.

Lori regularly attends the Good Morning Oakville (GMO) monthly networking breakfasts, sponsored by AON, which she says have provided the greatest opportunity for growing her client list.

“There are always new members to meet at GMO, and we’re all there for the same reason – to build our business. In addition to every new member I meet, there’s potential for a referral outside the Chamber. I’ve learned that it’s not just the small or medium-size business I’m connecting with at an event, but it’s who that business might know, too. This network reach has benefited me greatly over the past two years.”

As a volunteer member of the Chamber’s Small Business Committee, Lori is a big advocate for the Small Business Week events offered through the Chamber. “Every year, the high-calibre guest speaker draws a large turnout of professionals and business owners. Between that and the trade show, members are guaranteed fantastic networking.”

Lori’s volunteer commitment goes far beyond the Chamber. She currently sits on the Board of Directors for St. Joseph’s Villa Foundation, St Joseph’s Villa Gala committee, and the Oakville Hospital Gala sub-committee.  In 2012, she co-championed a successful campaign to win funding for St. Joseph’s Villa / S.I.M. (Seniors in Motion) from the Aviva Community Fund.  She is a past member of the Advisory Board for Canadian Insurance Top Broker publications and the Past Co-Chair of WICC (Women in Insurance Cancer Crusade) Hamilton-Niagara chapter.   

Despite her hectic schedule, Lori finds time to relax with her husband and twin 18-year-old sons. You may also find her on the greens, enjoying a round of golf.

Although she is not an Oakville resident, she has come to know and appreciate this town and its business community. The Chamber of Commerce continues to be a valuable relationship for both Lori and Aon and they look forward many more years of working together.

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