Each year the Chairs of our Committees, Task Forces and Forums are asked to provide an update on the issues and events their groups have focused on throughout the year. The following presents some of the key highlights of their initiatives.
The Transportation Forum was comprised of leading professionals from air, road, water and rail transportation sectors. The Forum provided opportunities for an easy exchange of valuable information and ideas across all transportation sectors.
This past year resulted in tremendous success for the Transportation Forum as many advocacy initiatives came to fruition. This includes the opening of Route 1 Interchange and improved access to Route 1 on the West Side of the Port. The Forum also played a significant role in the Transportation sector of True Growth 2.0 plan, effectively establishing targets and identifying efficiencies.
The Governance Committee oversaw structural and organizational changes necessary to ensure that the Kennebecasis Valley Chamber of Commerce, the River Valley Chamber of Commerce, the West Side Business Association and the Saint John Board of Trade effectively partnered to become one new regional business organization. Overseeing the structural changes to all organizations, the governance committee produced new by-laws to provide guidance to the new organization. With input from each of the four business association, the new governance now reflect the needs and goals of the four former organizations.
The Governance Committee provided leadership, structure and council through the motions to dissolve the three regional chambers, and the expansion of territory and name change for the Saint John Board of Trade.
The Branding Committee assumed the responsibility of all visual and creative aspects of the transition from the Kennebecasis Valley Chamber of Commerce, the River Valley Chamber of Commerce, the West Side Business Association and the Saint John Board of Trade to one regional business association. On May 7, 2014 at the Annual General Meeting, the Branding Committee shared the new name, logo, graphics and tagline to represent the synergies and vision of the newly named group. Careful consideration was taken to conceptualize a reflection of the strength of partnership coupled with a nod to our proud history. With invaluable input from all existing groups, we are confident our brand will stand the test of time.
The Communications Committee included members from the Kennebecasis Valley Chamber of Commerce, the River Valley Chamber of Commerce, the West Side Business Association and the Saint John Board of Trade. This ensured contribution from all four partners, a critical aspect for most committees during this process. The committee carefully crafted formal discussions, forums and open events, where we were able to both listen to our valued members and share information on the vision and growth. This inclusion proved vital to ensuring a smooth transition and unanimous dissolution of the former chambers and a successful transition for the Saint John Board of Trade.
The Women in Business forum continued to interact on a monthly basis to engage women in the Saint John business community and to highlight and develop issues of importance to women. Their membership included women from a wide variety of industries and sectors, including, but not limited to; financial, legal, self-employed, entrepreneurs and not-for-profit organizations. The membership met early in the year to determine a list of core topics that were relevant to our members and has led to a very dynamic year, covering a variety of timely issues such as, transportation, community involvement initiatives and special issues faced by women entrepreneurs.
In the community, the committee held their 12th Annual Bare Necessities Campaign and had an overwhelming response, collecting more toiletries and small products for local charities than ever before. It is with gratitude that a special thank you be extended to CIBC King Street Branch for hosting the event and all collaborators including RBC and CIBC, who hosted collection boxes.
The Golf Committee held another highly successful golf tournament on August 18th, 2016 with the tournament sold out for golfers and for sponsors. Aided by a sunny day, the committee held a number of successful fundraising initiatives including a 50/50 draw, and a very popular online auction.
The committee is already hard at work for the 2017 tournament to be held on August 17th, 2017.
The Outstanding Business Achievement Awards were held on October 13, 2016 with a crowd of over 400 guests at the Saint John Trade & Convention Centre. The 2016 award recipients were: Chairs Award, Bird Construction; Big Heart Award, P.R.O Kids; Young Entrepreneur Award, Kate Thompson (Lordon's); Business Excellence Award, Black's Transfer; Emerging Enterprise Award, Downsizing Diva; and a tie for the Entrepreneurial Achievement Award, Human Performance Group & Taylor's Landscaping. Passion for Chance Award, ConnexionWorks!
The committee is already hard at work planning the 2017 event to be held in the fall to be held on October 12th.
The Chamber's Finance Committee worked diligently to ensure that our organization is at peak fiscal strength. The committee has overseen a change in pricing model that has introduced a sole proprietor membership that services many of our smaller member businesses. The new pricing model also preserves the sustainability of the organization for years to come.
The Finance Committee also played a pivotal role in the launch of our new organization by overseeing the financial merger of all four organizations.