Messages from the Chair of the Board and the President

A Message from the Chair

caroline-hughes-copy I would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to Immediate Past Chair Kerry Colborne for leading the Oakville Chamber over the past two years. Thank you for your wisdom and great sense of humour! I would also like to thank our retiring board members Lisa Azzuolo, France Fournier, Elaine Holding and Stephen Tkaczyk for their invaluable contributions to the Oakville Chamber. I welcome our new board members Todd Courage, Mary DeSousa, Doug Eglington and Rafal Piotrowski. I look forward to working with them and our other directors over the coming year. It is an honour to serve the members of the Oakville Chamber as Chair for the upcoming year. Having served as a Director since 2010 and as Vice Chair since 2012, I recognize the importance of this role and embrace the opportunity to build on the Chamber’s success. In the months ahead your volunteer Board of Directors, President John Sawyer, Chamber staff and I will continue to advocate on your behalf to all levels of government, be the voice of the Oakville business community, continue the momentum with membership growth, and networking opportunities. Chamber members can look forward to the many annual events to which they’ve come to expect, including BDC Small Business Week in October, the RBC Economic Update in January, the 22nd Annual Oakville Awards for Business Excellence in March and the 63rd Annual Golf Tournament in May. I am also excited to announce that we will be presenting a symposium on smart infrastructure in partnership with the Oakville Chapter of Professional Engineers of Ontario in November. Hosting top business, industry, community and government leaders at our events will continue to be a priority for our Board; and starting the year off with keynote speaker Dianne Craig, President and CEO of Ford Motor Company of Canada, was a great honour. Thank you for the opportunity and honour of serving as Chair of the board. I look forward to working with Chamber President John Sawyer and the Chamber staff on behalf of all of our members in the coming year. Caroline Hughes Chair, Oakville Chamber of Commerce

A Message from the President

staff-johnsawyer-largeThe Oakville Chamber of Commerce strives to be the preeminent voice of Oakville business. Representing over 1,100 businesses in our membership, we make it our goal to constantly find ways to create value for each member. The chamber offers a breadth of opportunities and benefits to suit every size of company – from solopreneur to large corporation. At our 2014 Chair’s Dinner, guest speaker and CBC news broadcaster, Peter Mansbridge said that the Oakville Chamber is “trying to encourage the ability for all businesses to do well. That’s why it’s become such a powerful chamber.” This simple yet profound statement is at the core of everything we do. The initiatives we offer fall under four categories, or what I refer to as the ABCE’s of the Oakville Chamber. They are: Advocacy, Benefits, Connection, and Education. Advocacy is of utmost importance to the work we do. We strive to stay on top of the issues that matter to local businesses by keeping a finger on the pulse of the broader political and business environment. Essential to this is our ability to build and sustain productive non-partisan relationships with all levels of government. In addition, we truly value the input of our members. The union of these two factors creates opportunities for constructive dialogue. Benefits also play in integral role to a chamber membership. Members have access to a variety of merchant discounts and member-to-member discounts, as well as a flexible and cost-effective group insurance benefits plan. Providing businesses the opportunity to connect with other companies and, potentially, grow their client-base is yet another way in which the chamber adds value to its members. We host over 70 events per year, including monthly networking events, prestigious annual galas, and roundtables that feature leading political figures. A number of these events are workshops led by experts in business development that provide educational opportunities to small businesses. I am looking forward to many more exciting events in the year ahead, as well as plans to build upon the success of this past year. The opportunities are available for all members to enjoy – and I invite each business to take advantage of all we have to offer. John Sawyer President, Oakville Chamber of Commerce