To our Chamber members - thanks for the memories.
I will complete my 18-year term as CEO of the Comox Valley Chamber of Commerce August 31st. I have been honoured and privileged to represent our membership and the business community. Thank you.
As this chapter closes, I wish to thank the 18 boards of directors I have worked with, the members I have represented and the community leaders and organizations. I am grateful for the opportunity to work with many accomplished individuals in the Comox Valley. Leading the Chamber of Commerce has been a privilege.
What I have enjoyed most about Chamber life, is the Chamber networks (Island, Provincial and Federal), the mentors, friendships, connections and partnerships made over the years and the strategic alignments and collaborations which were created for the benefit of the Comox Valley business community.
There have been so many highlights in my career at the Chamber:
- Winning 2010 Chamber of the Year in BC due to the Chamber’s bagless initiative and “Grab your Bag” campaign!
- Being nominated twice for Canadian Chamber Executive of the Year award; in 2019 by the Chamber board and staff, and in 2010 by Chamber peers.
- 2010 Comox Valley Olympic Spriit Committee – working to promote and support the 2010 Olympics in the Comox Valley and the grand finale! Attending the 2010 Olympic closing ceremonies with an Olympic team.
Chamber events, roundtable advocacy discussions, business walks and collaborative projects have evolved from a demonstrated need in our community. From showcasing award winners, creating strategic partnerships, and advocating for local business, the Chamber has been responsive to the current needs of our businesses and community.
The most important aspect to me over the past18 years of my career at the Chamber has been to choose collaboration. To first seek to understand, listen, evaluate, and to form connections. The Chamber is a pillar in this community, we lead by example. A Chamber’s role is to provide economic development, business resources and advocate for better business. During the pandemic, this became more apparent than ever. The pandemic impacted all of us in many ways. Individually and collectively. While this was a challenging time, it was also exhilarating in the sense that we were compelled to literally throw ourselves into what we knew best, to advocate for our members, to dig deep to understand their needs and to respond quickly. We did just that! Changes were happening at a rapid pace, and it was proving hard for businesses to keep up. We led the charge in pivoting and providing support within a week of the pandemic and we haven’t stopped. I am proud of the Chamber team, grateful to the “experts” who stayed with us, on the calls, by email, providing advice and resources. It was more apparent than ever that we were all in it together. That’s the benefit of membership. We’re ALL in, for you, our member.
In closing, I wish each member prosperity and abundance in the years to come.
The Chamber team is still here to serve you.
All the best to our members and the Chamber in this next chapter. See you all “around the valley”
Dianne Hawkins, CEO