Meet One of Our Chamber Board Members - Kevin Zaharia

by Chamber Staff 26. January 2015 05:52

MEET ONE OF OUR BOARD MEMBERS

KEVIN ZAHARIA, Lafarge Canada

Why did you get involved in The Chamber?

I was looking for a closer connection to the business community. There are a lot of benefits interacting with other business people.

What’s the one thing everyone needs to know about The Chamber or would be surprised by?

I’ve been around The Chamber for two years. Everybody thinks it’s all about business and the bottom line, but there’s a lot of charity involved in the background, whether it’s the CEO Sleepout or finding residences for the homeless. The Chamber is very community-oriented – it’s all about making Winnipeg a better place to live.

What’s the most important issue facing business?

It all depends on the type of business – there are different dynamics. But there seems to be a lot of political red tape. If you want to put up a new building or open a new business, we seem to be close-minded … the attitude is we’ve always done it this way. In my personal opinion, the University of Manitoba was the wrong location for the new stadium and the thought process was wrong. It seemed just because we could get the money, we didn’t consider the traffic implications and we forgot about all our efforts to redevelop downtown.

What’s the best business/career advice you’ve ever received?

Win the lottery … I guess, it’s if you work hard, prove what you can do and try to ignore the naysayers, success will come your way. But it all comes down to hard work.

What would people be surprised to learn about you?

That I do a lot of volunteer work and support programming for kids, so they have a place to play, keep busy, develop skills to be better people and stay out of trouble.

What do you love most about Winnipeg?

I’m born and raised here. It’s a fantastic city, very friendly. It is a city on-the-move, good things are happening. People rally together to help each other, unlike other big Canadian cities. Winnipeg is very close – it’s a small city in a big-city environment. Working for a multinational, I don’t know how many times I’ve heard people say they didn’t want to move here, but now they don’t want to leave.

 

 

 

 

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U of M Nominated for Global Entrepreneurship Congress Cities Challenge

by Chamber Staff 19. January 2015 12:36

 

 



The University of Manitoba submitted an application in late December for the Global Entrepreneurship Congress Cities Challenge and should hear back by the end of this month if they are successful. They also had a video created, thanks to Steve Langston of Dirty T-shirt Productions, that speaks to the entrepreneurial climate of Winnipeg. The link to the video is: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yWlZuZfPX00&feature=youtu.be.  

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Meet One of Our Chamber Board Members - Rob Tetrault

by Chamber Staff 14. January 2015 06:24

ROB TETRAULT, Chambre de commerce francophone de Saint Boniface

Why did you get involved in The Chamber?

Because I’m passionate about representing the St. Boniface Chamber on the board of The Winnipeg Chamber.

What’s the one thing everyone needs to know about The Chamber or would be surprised by?

That it’s been around for more than 140 years, representing the interests of business.

What’s the most important issue facing business?

The advent of e-commerce and social media, and how business is changing or not changing because of that.

What’s the best business/career advice you’ve ever received?

It was from my mom. She said make sure you wake up every morning passionate about what you’re going to do that day. Otherwise, you need to find another career. I took her advice. I was a lawyer and didn’t like it, so I started my own wealth management practice.

What would people be surprised to learn about you?

That I’m three-time Canadian champion of Settlers of Catan, the board game. Lately, I haven’t played as much because of family and teaching at the Asper School of Business.

What do you love most about Winnipeg?

I love the fact that Winnipeggers, whether they know someone or not, will typically go out of their way to provide help when it’s needed.

 

 

 

 

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Meet One of Our Chamber Members

by Chamber Staff 14. January 2015 06:13

We are pleased to introduce one of our Chamber members, Jason Coward, co-owner of Living Real Estate of Winnipeg

What does your organization do?

Our company is licensed with the Manitoba Securities Commission, Manitoba Real Estate Association and Winnipeg Real Estate Board to provide residential, condominium and commercial real estate sales and investment in Winnipeg and the greater capital region.

What company or business person most inspires you?

Gary Keller, author and entrepreneur. He has authored several best-selling books and is the founder of the largest real estate company in North America. I appreciate the way he runs his company and his focus on family, business and faith.

How did you get the idea for your organization or why did you choose to get involved?

The idea was born out of what we, my wife Lynne and I, believed to be a lack of resources at the real estate company we were previously associated with. Their business model, like most others in our market, didnt go much beyond providing administrative support. Throughout our careers, we have sought out cutting-edge education and training from outside companies, such as Richard Robbins International, Craig Proctor and MAPS Coaching.

We saw an opportunity to build a real estate brokerage focused on education, training and a team concept. We like to refer to Living Real Estate as a training and education company that just happens to be in the business of real estate. Everybody within our organization is willing to share and contribute to each others success in reaching goals in life and business.

What is innovative about your business?

Real estate company business models in the ’70s and ’80s focused heavily on sales training for their associates, and for that, the brokerage owners took a larger split of incoming revenue -often a 50/50 split. Current business models offer very little, if any, training and seem more concerned with reducing services to their associates and costs to the company. Although this model has appeared to be financially successful, we feel it’s not sustainable and has left a void in the market. Our brokerage offers ongoing, cutting-edge education and training for realtors. Living Real Estate of Winnipeg does not require its associates to sign service contracts. We offer a very competitive split with a “cap,” so they know how much it will cost them to conduct business year-to-year. We do not get paid until they get paid. That’s a great incentive for any company to contribute to a realtor’s success. Its like “giving” starts the “receiving” process.

 

Whats the most difficult part of your job?

Hearing stories about individual real estate salespeople signing brokerage service contracts that they don’t fully understand and that lock them in to crippling terms, which heavily favour the brokerage. These contracts can result in massive debt and ultimately lead to bankruptcies. We have a salesperson who came over to us owing almost $5,000 to another brokerage after just one year of being licensed.

 

Whats the most important issue facing our community today?

Winnipeg has seen some impressive growth over the past decade. Increased involvement of local business leaders and their associates in the community is critical to building on those successes.

Why did you join The Chamber?

As a new company, were looking to become part of the business community, and The Chamber, even though we didnt know a lot about it, focuses on commerce in the city. It also provides networking opportunities and the option to be part of a group benefits program.

 

 

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Meet One of Our Chamber Members

by Chamber Staff 9. January 2015 07:49

We are pleased to introduce one of our Chamber members, Robin Paisner, owner of Blossoms

What does your business do?

I make fresh fruit and vegetable arrangements that look like bouquets. They vary in size from small (coffee-mug size) to large. I also make cakes out of fruit that are iced and decorated with chocolate and whip cream to look like traditional cakes. As well, I do party favours, fruit boxes and more.

What company or business person most inspires you?

I’ve never sat down and really thought about it, but oddly enough, I’d say Sam Katz. As a businessman, he’s a smart man ... in that he wanted a ballpark for the Goldeyes and fought an uphill battle to get it. Through a sheer force of will, he produced the best ballpark and fan base around. I also admire Brian Scharfstein of Canadian Footwear, who convinced me of the value of joining The Chamber, and Gail Asper of the Asper Foundation.

How did you get the idea for your business or why did you choose to get involved?

I was in radio/broadcast for 35 years doing on-air news and sports, but it’s a young person’s business. In 2009, I decided to go back to university and I got my ESL certification. I tried teaching part-time, then opted to do a bit of this and that, including baking. Next, I decided I wanted to own my own business and be my own boss.

I was on Kijiji and came across a brief ad for Blossoms. I thought I could do it. The company was started by two women in New Brunswick, who initially did fruit bouquets as a hobby. They didn’t actually franchise, choosing instead to provide a licence agreement, which in my case is a three-year contract. I get to use their recipes, their logo and they manage the website. It’s a “cookie-cutter” approach to the business.

What is innovative about your business?

I am able to customize what I do – probably 90 per cent of what I do is custom work, whether it’s making substitutions for different fruits, providing sugar-free or gluten-free chocolate or developing a theme based on the individual’s interests.

Whats the most difficult part of your job?

Being the only person in the shop – I do all the buying, cutting and other prep work of the fruit; I make the chocolate decorations; I bag and tag all the products; I update Facebook; I return all the phone calls; I pay all the bills; and I wash the floors. My husband, who has a full-time job as an electrical designer, does the deliveries. So it’s hard.

Whats the most important issue facing our community today?

Competition from American franchises and big box stores, as well as e-commerce websites – it’s killing small business.

Why did you join The Chamber?

I know Brian Scharfstein from Canadian Footwear and he came in to see me. He suggested I join The Chamber, but I told him I couldn’t afford to become a member and that I saw it as an Old Boys’ Club. He sold me on the value, so I said OK … maybe it would not be such a bad idea.

 

 

 

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Leadership Winnipeg Through the Eyes of Faith Hatid

by Chamber Staff 9. January 2015 06:17

Leadership Winnipeg helps me a lot to be inspired and to have a thorough understanding of what can I do to help my community and myself. Being in this program helps me to overcome my fear of public speaking and to gain confidence. As Francisco Dao says: “Self-confidence is the fundamental basis from which leadership grows. Trying to teach leadership without first building confidence is like building a house on a foundation of sand. It may have a nice coat of paint, but it is ultimately shaky at best.”

On Dec. 19, we had Steve Vieweg, director of Executive Development at the I.H.Asper School of Business, at our session. He talked about being a good leader and strategic ways to be effective in a work environment and how innovation is very important.

We also had Geoff Ripat, program manager of Spark, also known as CCEDNet, The Canadian Community Economic Development Network. A national association of several hundred organizations and individuals in every province and territory, CCEDNet is committed to strengthening communities by creating economic opportunities that enhance social and environmental conditions.

Dawn Bourbonnais, communications and outreach co-ordinator of Volunteer Manitoba, a leader and catalyst for engaging all Manitobans in volunteerism, talked about how they can support groups and individuals in the voluntary sector to develop and enhance their capacity to anticipate, understand, celebrate and meet community needs in Manitoba. They also contribute to the community by connecting people with volunteer opportunities, promoting volunteerism and providing leadership and counselling in the voluntary sector.

My favourite part was when Kevin Chief, Manitoba’s minister of Jobs and the Economy, talked about his experiences, challenges and hardships. He shared how he seeks out people who have positive potential and who inspire you. No matter what you do or who you are, you need to think of yourself as a champion because everyone is good at something.

Lastly, we had Tom Carson of Insights talk about getting the best from your team … how you can apply and identify the four distinct energies exhibited by different people on your team. By understanding your strengths and weaknesses and those of your team, you can develop effective strategies for interaction, which will help you to better respond to various situations.

What an inspiring day and looking forward for the next session.

 

Faith Hatid, senior manager, Country Inn and Suites

 

 

 

 

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Leadership Winnipeg Through the Eyes of Jennifer Aarhus

by Chamber Staff 7. January 2015 08:09

What an inspiring day! On Dec. 19, our Leadership Winnipeg class was privileged to hear from some amazing leaders in the community. Our agenda included presentations from: Steve Vieweg, director, Executive Development, I.H. Asper School of Business; Geoff Ripat, Spark; Kevin Chief, Manitoba’s minister of Jobs and the Economy; Dawn Bourbonnais, communications and outreach co-ordinator, Volunteer Manitoba; and Tom Carson, Insights Discovery (part 2).

Needless to say, each speaker had an amazing story to tell and a very inspiring message.

One of the most important things I learned from this session was Steve Vieweg’s information on the power of “enquiring dialogue.” I found this aspect to be interesting - while at a meeting, pose your statements as questions and introduce your questions with observations to create a more open and inviting atmosphere. I thought this approach would be easy to achieve in any kind of meeting and would be very important to establish when trying to convey equal ground.

I would have to say that the most inspiring part of the day was when Kevin Chief spoke to us. His enthusiasm and passion for his community was very moving. He spoke about a “circle of knowledge” and that there are a lot of things that cannot be done by just one person. Everyone has their own understanding of things and connections to various people, so that if you connect with them on some level, you are able to learn from their expertise. He spoke about how everyone - no matter whom you are and where you come from - should have access to post-secondary education. He spoke about three important values: belonging, talent and independence.

It was interesting to learn more about Spark from Geoff Ripat. Spark is a service of the Canadian CED Network Connections for Community. They match volunteers who have specific skills to a non-profit organization which may need help in that particular area. I think this is a great opportunity for someone to use their expertise in something specific and for an organization that may not have the funding to obtain it otherwise.

Dawn Bourbonnais from Volunteer Manitoba reiterated just how important volunteers are to the community. Volunteer Manitoba is an organization that provides a variety of training services such as organization development, customized training, CONTACT community information, a volunteer library and referral and outreach by involving individuals with opportunities to volunteer. One specific statistic that stood out for me from the presentation was in 2010, 13.3-million Canadians volunteered, which totalled 2.1-billion volunteer hours.

I am looking forward to the upcoming sessions with more presentations from the leaders of our community.

Jennifer Aarhus

 

 

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Leadership Winnipeg Through the Eyes of Roberta Pauls

by Chamber Staff 6. January 2015 12:19

The fourth session of Leadership Winnipeg started off with Doneta Brotchie sharing wisdom from past Leadership Winnipeg sessions, and I was immediately aware that it was going to be a great day. She shared advice like “work hard, work broadly,” “commit to lifelong learning” and “delegate and empower your people.”  It was a full day of learning about leadership, our personality types in team projects and ways to get involved helping others in our community.

The first hour of the day was spent learning about how to effectively manage a meeting. Good advice was shared about engaging in “enquiring dialogue” and how it is an effective way to encourage discussion with your board members during a meeting.

Next up was a presentation by Kevin Chief, Manitoba’s minister of Jobs and the Economy, who shared with us his experiences and advice on leadership. He suggested making sure that you are surrounded by people that see potential, and that you will get your energy from celebrating your success and achievements. He also stated it is okay to acknowledge that you do not need to know everything on your own. You can surround yourself with others that may hold the knowledge you need to achieve success.

We spent the afternoon learning about communicating in a team environment with people who have different personality types than ours, and how to draw on the strengths of others.

And last but not least, throughout the day we were provided with information from both Volunteer Manitoba and SPARK on ways to get matched up with volunteer roles that provide the best possible fit to match our interest and skills.

All in all, it was a very informative, inspiring day.

Roberta Pauls

 

 

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Jan Belanger Named Chamber's Director of the Year

by Chamber Staff 23. December 2014 11:06

Jan has spent the majority of her career with Great-West Life, most notably in her current role as vice-president, Community Relations for Great-West Life, London Life and Canada Life.

She’s consciously chosen to make Winnipeg her home. Because of its contained, central location in Canada, she views our city as a “geographical incubator” for many initiatives, and appreciates the inter-connectedness and a unique openness that exists here. In her view, Winnipeggers tend to come together on issues that matter the most. She believes we should recognize ourselves as a cosmopolitan community, thanks to our cultural and intellectual depth and experience, drawn from a diversity of backgrounds. Education, literacy and lifelong learning continue to be personal causes of interest and commitment for Jan. 

Great-West Life has a strong sense of community stewardship, enabling value to be created through community efforts. Jan believes businesses should align their external actions with their internal values and those of their stakeholders. 

Jan is a contributor and presenter on issues and trends in corporate social responsibility and corporate and voluntary sector relations. She is recognized for her commitment and approach to building stronger understanding between the corporate and voluntary sectors and is an advocate of moving issues forward through innovation, collaboration and knowledge exchange. As chair, board member or advisor, she has served on many local and national organizations.

Jan has been a Chamber director for the past three years. She enjoys being at The Chamber board table because of the diverse interests and candor, as well as the opportunity for people to take a “deeper dive” on business and community issues. In her view, The Chamber plays an important role to influence, be a catalyst and to facilitate. She is personally involved with Leadership Winnipeg, which for her is all about fosterng our city’s most critical future resource: strong future leaders in the community, business and public service. It’s important to give people a supportive hands-up and then step out of the way – offer knowledge, empower them and then watch the magic happen.

 

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A recap from the most recent Ambassador meeting...

by Admin 19. December 2014 13:44

A message from your Ambassador co-chair...

 

 

Rob Read, Ambassador co-chair

Hi everyone!


 

With the December meeting now just a fond memory we can look back at this past year and smile knowing we have done a great job in supporting The Chamber membership, and rising to the challenges each day brings.


 

This meeting was another example of how effective our Ambassador program has become. We have created and implemented a structure that will support the different critical areas we want to focus on, and I was impressed with the reports we got from each subcommittee team. As we move into next year we will continue to get the two-minute reports from each subcommittee.


 

I spoke with Dan Furlan this morning and he indicated he already had seven volunteers for the mentorship committee. What an excellent response! We will also need volunteers for both Ribbon Cutting and Milestone, and I thank those of you who have already stepped forward. These are both critical groups: one welcomes new members into The Chamber, and the other recognizes the long-term commitments that members have given. I have spoken many times of mentorship­-both giving and receiving-and all three committees support that.


 

Word on the street is that RaY (Resource Assistance for Youth) is doing a charitable walk on February 21st. They are hosting the Coldest Night of the Year, a 2, 5 & 10 km winter walk hosted in 80+ cities across Canada in support of their work here in Winnipeg with the hungry, homeless, and hurting. Try to get involved if you can.


 

We hosted another series of round table discussions focused on Retail, Procurement, Marketing, Networking, and Non-Profit. There were many good ideas shared in each area, and The Chamber will be reviewing these discussions and ideas to determine if there are some that could become policy moving forward. We can only be heard when we speak up.


 

Overall we had a fantastic meeting to end what has been a very successful year! Take pride in the amount of food collected for our hamper. There are people in our city that will have a much better Christmas because of your generosity. I look forward to seeing you all in 2015. Remember, my inbox is always open. Best wishes through the holiday season!


 

Rob Read

Owner Bison Fire Protection

Co-Chair of The Ambassadors

 


 


 

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