CHAMBER CHAT: Awards honour Nanaimo business leaders

By Kim Smythe

And the winner is …

We’ll be saying that 13 times on the evening of Feb. 21 at the 14th Annual Chamber of Commerce Business Achievement Awards at the Vancouver Island Conference Centre.

Just this past Friday, the 66 nominees were announced and finalists introduced to a business crowd of more than 100 at a cocktail reception at the Grand Hotel. The awards recognize chamber members and non-members alike.

The chamber reformatted the event during the past year to update the presentation and style of the event, creating new categories and eliminating others to keep the awards relevant to today’s economy and recognize emerging business sectors. This year, categories for recognition include Customer Service; Exporter of the Year; Innovation; Spirit of Nanaimo; Workplace Excellence; Tourism Impact; Youth and Student Entrepreneurs; and of course, Lifetime Achievement.

The Feb. 21 gala will feature a cocktail and networking reception, live entertainment, a buffet dinner and the presentations themselves featuring a celebrity MC.

New awards have been designed and a new logo for the event bearing the likeness of a ram’s head. The significance of the image relates to the symbology of the ram -- a long held symbol of determination, action, initiative, and leadership.

The ram is also a symbol of Aries, the first sign of the Zodiac, further reinforcing ram-like attributes of leadership and authority.

This symbol embraces the return of the warmth of the sun as the March equinox approaches.

We felt these qualities related very well to the entrepreneurs and business leaders that the Business Achievement Awards are honouring and was an optimistic reference to the approaching spring season – another symbol of growth and renewal.

Members and non-members are invited to attend the awards and celebrate with colleagues and business leaders congratulating them on their efforts and success.

For more information, or to purchase tickets, please contact the chamber at 250-756-1191 or

Kim Smythe is CEO of Greater Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce.

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