Published On: Friday, 06 October 2017

BC Chambers Executive Conference Displays Talent

BC Chambers Executive Conference Displays Talent

- Christine Petkau is Executive Director of the Summerland Chamber of Commerce and Tourism Summerland. She can be reached at

SUMMERLAND - At a recent event, a community member asked me if my job was full-time. They were surprised that, in Summerland, we have 700 Chamber members and via a contract with the District of Summerland, are also responsible for tourism and various economic development activities.

This isn't unusual. Throughout BC, there are many Chambers that are responsible, not only for their business membership, but also for their local Visitor Centre, the Destination Management Organization, or both.

And in 2016, a BC Economic Development Survey indicated that a majority of Chambers in BC communities under 50,000 in population also have some or all of the responsibilities for their community's economic development portfolio.

The diversity and skill set of senior Chamber staff was really brought home to me at this year's BC Chambers Executive Conference held in Invermere a few weeks ago. Hosted by the Columbia Valley Chamber of Commerce at the stunning Copper Point Resort, the conference is an annual reminder of the depth of talent amongst the group I am privileged to call my colleagues. 

Throughout our days together, the conversation, both in workshops and during social events, was about improving the environment in our province and country for our business members.

We discussed advocacy issues, such as the proposed recent federal tax changes, excellence in governance, best practices in financial reporting and stewardship, media relations, creative ideas for member services and engagement and how to #makepolicysexy.

Some of the Executive Directors in attendance were travelling on to federal policy sessions at the Canadian Chamber of Commerce Convention in Halifax where they will continue to advocate for businesses and our colleague from the Langley Chamber had been nominated for a national award.

And our colleague from the Whistler Chamber was travelling on to Sydney, Australia as one of only a handful of nominees in the world for an innovation award at the World Chambers Congress.

Chambers of Commerce in BC and throughout the country are an amazing network with their fingers on the pulse of what is happening in our communities and in our province. At your next Chamber event, give your Chamber Executive Director a high five - they'll appreciate it.