National Volunteer Week - Thank You to Our Volunteers

by Chamber Staff 8. April 2014 07:16


National Volunteer Week (April 6-12, 2014) is a time to recognize, celebrate and thank Canada’s 13.3-million volunteers. Volunteers strengthen our communities and make our country vibrant.

At The Chamber, volunteers are our lifeblood, whether our Ambassadors, board of directors, committee members or just those who support what we do and step up to the plate. A BIG thank you!!!

As it is National Volunteer Week, there is also an opportunity to give some thought to nominating a local business, not-for-profit or individual for the Prime Minister's Volunteer Awards.



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Meet One of Our Newest Members

by Chamber Staff 4. April 2014 08:31

We are pleased to introduce one of our newest members, Stephen Wilson, executive director, Graffiti Art Programming Inc.

What does your organization do?

We’re a community youth art centre. We like to use art in a way that is kind of new – our approach is copied around the world. We’re using art as a tool to assist young people with many of the issues they face. We use art to support a young person’s education. The scientific evidence is clear that if you enroll a child in theatre, music, art and dance, that they score 18 percentage points higher in subjects like math, science and English than those who have not had the same opportunity of taking art classes. When we look at the neighbourhoods where we offer our services, the high school graduation rate is below 50 per cent compared to 87 per cent for the rest of the city. That’s why we do what we do. We also do many, many other things. I’d like to highlight the fact we use young artists to do custom, commercial painting jobs. We are for hire.

What company or business person most inspires you?

I can easily say that would be Bob Silver – No.1 because he’s using his experience as a highly successful businessman to support the efforts of agencies such as ours. He really is quite influential in guiding the city and province as a whole.

How did you get the idea for your business or why did you choose to go into this business?

The job I had before was a dead-end job and I wanted to be involved in social services in some way. I was always a fan of the graffiti style, so I looked at the issue of illegal graffiti and the impact it had on the city and people’s viewpoints. It was an area I could get involved in, working with those young men committing graffiti crimes and focusing on their skills and abilities rather than on crime. Over time, I was able to convince a great number of them that they should be pursuing something in the arts rather than something illegal. If you look around, the amount of illegal graffiti is a fraction of what it was, say in 2002, when there were probably 200-300 graffiti writers. It’s been dramatically reduced.

What’s the most difficult part of your job?

Changing people’s attitudes towards the young people we serve, who live and go to school in the North End. Society loves to use the “at risk” label, but in doing so, when they’re referring to a 14 year old from North Point Douglas, they couldn’t be using a more negative label. When referring to a 14 year old from St. James or Charleswood, we don’t refer to them as at risk, we talk about the world’s their oyster and they have so much potential. Using the at risk label is no good, it sets up a whole expectation geared to failure.

What’s the most important issue facing business today?

A skilled workforce. It doesn’t matter your politics or what side of the fence you live on, if there are no jobs and the business community isn’t supported through proper legislation and oversight … what I’m doing here is a waste of time. We tell these young people there are many opportunities for them … that’s why we have an employment training program to help Aboriginal artists get jobs painting and decorating, jobs that pay $25 per hour, instead of them expecting to go on welfare. They can get a job, be the first in their family to get a mortgage and break the cycle. We build their self-confidence and self-esteem, so they no longer believe that the jobs aren’t for them.

Why did you join The Chamber?

It’s an opportunity for us to learn more about the business community and to develop stronger relationships with the business community. By building relationships, we can engage the business community with the issues faced by the young people we work with. We can create more awareness. A vast majority of business people don’t live in the North End. They might drive up and down Main Street, but they never turn right or left off Main Street. We want people to start learning about these neighbourhoods … turning left and right. In each of these neighbourhoods, there are hard-working people who are trying to make a difference. We need to get rid of the negative stereotypes and the expectation of failure. 

 

 

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Meet Our Chamber Staff - Dave Angus

by Chamber Staff 24. March 2014 09:50

What do you do at The Chamber?

I work with the board of directors through our chair to implement our strategic plan and to oversee all aspects of The Chamber’s operation to ensure that we’re strategically investing our members’ resources.

When did you start at The Chamber?

June 1, 1999

What’s the best part about working at The Chamber?

It’s a magnet for really positive, community-minded people – from the staff and members to the public.

What’s your education and work background?

I have a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of Manitoba. I’ve worked in the computer and publishing industries, as well as for a small, family business.

What would people be surprised to learn about you?

That the event that had the biggest impact on the way I look at my city is the night I spent on the street with two homeless people as part of a program sponsored by RaY (Resource Assistance for Youth). And that I am technologically backward – if I had a VCR, it would still be flashing 12.

What do you love most about Winnipeg?

Our diversity – we have a mix of different cultures that creates this vibrancy and international feel that is so unique.

 

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Meet One of Our Newest Members

by Chamber Staff 7. March 2014 11:59

We are pleased to introduce one of our newest members, Patty Veert, owner, Selective Professionals' Network.

What does your company do?

Selective Professionals’ Network is a confidential executive search firm that provides opportunities for single, successful, selective professionals to meet. Meeting is key. Selective Professionals’ is not for everyone, but serves like-minded, educated, career-oriented or entrepreneurial men and women, who are not in a current relationship.

What company or business person most inspires you?

Steve Jobs because of his creativity, innovation and drive. He had a vision and passion, which motivated him to persevere through the many challenges he had. Starting in his garage and his products ending up around the world is an amazing story. His creations have been revolutionary to the way the world communicates.   

How did you get the idea for your business or why did you choose to go into this business?

In today’s world, more professionals find themselves unexpectedly single. Be it absorbed in their career or business, never having met the right person, divorce or death of a spouse. By the time one starts a career, many people have coupled up and it is more challenging to meet like-minded people. Opportunities are limited, whether it’s being set up by friends and family, online dating or simply resigning oneself to staying home alone.

I came up with the idea because I wanted to help these people. Just as there is a hidden job market, there is also a hidden pool of single, successful professionals. As my business continues to grow, I have an impressive quality of current clients - proof there is a need in Winnipeg.

At Selective Professionals’ Network, we provide the meeting. The rest is up to our clients.

What’s the most difficult part of your job?

The most difficult part of my job is ensuring that people understand that what we do is very different than any other company in Winnipeg. 

What is the most important issue facing business today? 

Finding true, authentic people, who genuinely want to help others succeed without expecting a benefit in return. Saying what you do and doing what you do are often not the same thing.  It can be difficult “to walk the talk.”

Why did you join The Chamber?

I joined The Chamber as a way to connect with other business owners. It is a great way to be part of our Winnipeg community and also our business community. I admire entrepreneur business owners, especially when they are humble about what they have accomplished. They are often passionate about what they do. They work long hours, don’t give up easily and despite the challenges and risks, remain positive and upbeat.

 

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Introducing one of our newest members...

by Chamber Staff 6. March 2014 12:58

We are pleased to introduce one of our newest members, Danny Kramer, band leader, Danny Kramer Dance Band.

What does your business do?

We provide live entertainment for corporate events and weddings. We are the top show band in the province.

What company or business person most inspires you?

There are so many that inspire me locally that it's hard to pick one. I’d say Wade Miller because of his work ethic and get-it-done attitude.

How did you get the idea for your business or why did you choose to go into this business?

I realize the impact music can have, whether at a fundraiser, party or wedding, and I absolutely love being a part of these events. I’ve been a musician since I was a child. I pursued a record deal and was able to work alongside sax great Walle Larsson. I was also hired by Pete Townsend of The Who to be the understudy of the lead in the rock musical Tommy. I’ve done hundreds of commercials and, as a proud Manitoban, have been the voice of many Manitoba-themed campaigns. Now, I’m able to bring the ability and knowledge I’ve gained over the years to perform for my clients.

What’s the most difficult part of your job?

I don’t consider them difficulties – I look at them as challenges. My most important challenge is to ensure that every event we perform at is at the very top of our ability. Luckily, with the great team of stellar musicians I have in my band, we are able to always accomplish this goal. I can provide solo pianists, jazz trios and quartets and 6-12 piece dance bands.

What’s the most important issue facing business today?

I think the most important issue facing business today is ensuring your business succeeds on a consistent level whether the economy is up or down. I believe that having a strong reputation and brand can help accomplish this.

Why did you join The Chamber?

As they say, top of mind is crucial and that’s what I’m trying to accomplish by joining The Chamber. I want to make more great connections in the business community and to be further inspired by being surrounded by all these high achievers. I'd like them all to know that if they need live entertainment, I can definitely provide it.

 

 

 

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Meet Our Chamber Staff - Wendy Stephenson

by Chamber Staff 6. March 2014 10:39

Photo by Robert Lowdon

What do you do at The Chamber?

I am director of Strategic Initiatives, which basically means I look after projects that don’t fit under anyone else – Chamber U, High School Program, Grow Winnipeg – The Chamber’s Procurement Initiative, Chamber Way and Leadership Winnipeg. I’ve also photographed Chamber events and written the annual report and magazine/newsletter articles.

When did you start at The Chamber?

April 2006

What’s the best part of working at The Chamber?

I’ve always worked in a field where I’ve had access to “inside” information on what is happening in our city. Through The Chamber’s many connections, I continue to have the scoop on everything from proposed legislation to new retailers coming to Winnipeg. I love that about The Chamber, and I also love the people who work here – we’re like one big family.

What’s your education and work background?

I am an honours journalism graduate from the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology, who’s worked as a newspaper reporter and editor. I joined the Winnipeg Sun shortly after it opened and over the years was a news reporter, city editor and business editor. I interviewed such business greats as Li Ka Shing, the world’s ninth richest man; Sir Richard Branson and Canadian communications czar Izzy Asper. In 2002, I switched careers and went to work for the City of Winnipeg as a communications specialist in the Chief Administrative Officer Secretariat. There I worked on the New Deal, which looked at ways of increasing city revenues from sources other than property taxes.

What would people be surprised to learn about you?

That I placed third in Alberta’s provincial synchronized swimming competition. That I’m bilingual – speaking English and Pig Latin. And that after reading a biography on Madame Marie Curie, I wanted to become a chemist, only to nix the idea after taking high school chemistry.

What do you love most about Winnipeg?

I am a true foodie and love that Winnipeg has so many great restaurants and chefs.

 

 

 

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BOLD Steps Needed in 2014 Manitoba Budget

by Admin 5. March 2014 09:51

A BOLD reinvention of how our provincial government thinks and acts is needed to ensure government holds and builds business confidence, says Loren Remillard, Chamber vice-president of policy and public affairs.

Among the critical elements The Chamber will be looking for are:

  • An unwavering commitment to fiscal stability and balanced budgets to deliver the necessary assurance business seeks when making long-term investments
  • A public commitment to no further tax increases
  • A resurrection of the Fiscal Stabilization Fund (“rainy day fund”) and a clear policy on contributions and withdrawals
  • A legislated Return on Investment for Manitoba Hydro rather than an as-needed draw down
  • Annual efficiency targets across all provincial departments to which the provincial government will be held accountable
  • Government streamlining, notably the establishment of an annual  regulatory review
  • A five-year infrastructure strategy that seeks a strong alignment with federal and municipal governments’ plans, in particular a dedication of the 1% PST increase to municipal priorities around core and economic infrastructure
  • A reinvented innovation strategy that serves to drive and support entrepreneurship in Manitoba 

Be sure to tune in to BOLD Radio at noon on 680 CJOB Saturday, March 8 when our panelists will discuss the fallout from Budget 2014 and where we go from here. Click here for more.  

For further information on The Chamber’s policy efforts, please contact Loren Remillard at lremillard@winnipeg-chamber.com or (204) 944-3318. 

 

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Meet One of Our Newest Members

by Chamber Staff 4. March 2014 06:57

We are pleased to introduce one of our newest members, Judy Coy, owner, Rooster and Silver Lotus

What do your companies do?

Rooster and Silver Lotus are family-run stores … two of my three daughters work in the stores. Rooster sells quality leather shoes and boots from all over the world, but with an artistic bent that’s funky, modern and well-crafted. Silver Lotus has been around for 25 years and sells handcrafted, mostly sterling silver jewellery from around the world, as well as clothing, leather bags and some antique items. Both stores pay a lot of attention to display and architecture.

What company or business person most inspires you?

Kenneth Cole – he’s got a good vibe, he’s a philanthropist and he’s willing to help people grow their businesses. He’s also into how things are made. Jan Michaels makes jewellery for us and travels the world to find beads and ideas … she does everything from beginning to end.

How did you get the idea for your business or why did you choose to go into this business?

I started out selling second-hand and sterling silver vintage jewellery to other stores. It just sort of evolved.

What’s the most difficult part of your job?

Firing someone.

What’s the most important issue facing business today?

Finding staff that believes in the things you do, such as being conscientious, enjoying life and caring.

Why did you join The Chamber?

I felt the group benefit plan was a great offer. It was not intimidating and it was something that I could provide my staff.

 

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Meet Our Chamber Staff - Alana Odegard

by Chamber Staff 3. March 2014 08:41

Photo by Robert Lowdon

What do you do at The Chamber?

I am director of communications, which means I do a lot of different things – part of why I love the job. I help the rest of the staff communicate and get out their messages. I work with Dave on creating awareness and increasing dialogue.

When did you start at The Chamber?

April 22, 2013 – the day after my birthday … a great way to kick off another year.

What’s the best part about working at The Chamber?

The fact that there’s a lot to do and each project is so different from the next. It’s always interesting and provides an opportunity to learn. Great things are going on in the city and it’s wonderful to hear all the stories from our members.

What’s your education and work background?

I have an English literature and film studies degree from the University of Manitoba and a communications diploma from Red River College. I spent seven years working and living in Iceland where I did some teaching and a lot of writing for publications there.

What would people be surprised to learn about you?

When I was younger, I told my parents I wanted to be a stand-up comedian or bus driver. I’m incapable of telling a joke because I always give away the punch line, but that doesn’t stop me from trying.

What do you love most about Winnipeg?

I lived in Winnipeg before, but didn’t grow up here. I actually never lived anywhere longer than three years. It’s amazing to be back - Winnipeg feels like home. It’s exciting to build a life here.

 

 

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Meet Our Chamber Staff - Karen Weiss

by Chamber Staff 21. February 2014 12:18

What do you do at The Chamber?

I manage The Chamber’s daily operations from technology and human resources to the premises.

When did you start at The Chamber?

March 20, 1995

What’s the best part about working at The Chamber?

I always say the people, for sure. All the people I would never have met, the friendships that have continued even when some of the people have left.

What’s your education and work background?

I got my business administration diploma, majoring in accounting, from Red River College. I’ve also taken network administration courses. My first job was with the Winnipeg Convention Centre when Stephen Juba was board chair. The convention centre itself wasn’t built yet, so we worked out of a trailer on Edmonton Street. When my husband was transferred to Ontario, I got a job with the Canadian Chamber of Commerce.

What would people be surprised to learn about you?

That I took traditional highland dancing lessons as a child and won a gold medal.

What do you love most about Winnipeg?

I love everything about Winnipeg because it’s home.

 

 

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