CHAMBER CHAT: Year marks one of Nanaimo chamber’s best

NANAIMO – Greater Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce celebrated its 125-year history in 2014.

By Kim Smythe

2014 has been one of the best years we can remember in our 125-year history. We marked our anniversary a number of ways and took time to examine our past and plan our future.

We started by rechristening our famous annual awards program as Nanaimo’s Business Achievement Awards. Thirteen local private and not-for-profit businesses were chosen from a list of finalists to receive acknowledgement in a variety of categories. (Check for the 2015 call for nominations on our website now.)

We published our annual Gateway magazine with a nod to our heritage. Rather than simply promoting chamber programs and services, the magazine addressed  ‘looking back, moving forward’ and compared how we lived our lives now to then – economically, culturally and socially.

We used our annual general meeting as a time to name six new board members and to celebrate success stories with Nanaimo Economic Development Corporation, Young Professionals of Nanaimo, Community Futures, Downtown Nanaimo Business Improvement Association and Startup Nanaimo.

In May, we debuted Wine, Women and Song, an experiential trade show focused on those three topics. It was such a winner that we immediately scheduled another one for 2015. This preceded our annual June Golf Tournament held at the outstanding Nanaimo Golf Club.

In July we accepted the salute of the venerable Loyal Nanaimo Bathtub Society. It was a privilege to celebrate the 48th annual ‘running of the tubs’ and it motivated us to become more involved in the future of this event in Nanaimo.

In October, our Business Expo demonstrated an eruption of economic energy at the Vancouver Island Conference Centre and received big high-fives from the business community.

We created two new series of professional development opportunities – Lightning Talks and Spark Sessions. We made new strides forward in economic development with Team Nanaimo, and excelled at government advocacy playing a lead role in getting out the vote for the civic election.

All in all, we turned it into a year to truly celebrate success. The chamber thanks you for everything you did to take part in the celebration, and invite you to be part of the success as we enter 2015 and the next 125 years.

Kim Smythe is CEO of Greater Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce