What do you credit with your success?
What does Winnipeg mean to you?
Who do you want to inspire?
What excites you about the work you do?
What does the word 'community' mean to you?
What's next for you?
Chamber member Chef Peter Fehr from Gourmet Inspirations is hoofing his salted caramel whisky sauce to Los Angeles this weekend. He'll be serving Hollywood's stars (alongside GORP Clean Energy Bar's Colleen Dyck) in the Celebrity Luxury Gifting Suite at the 89th Academy Awards.
"I'm just getting feedback from the press release now, while also coping with all the logistics," said Fehr, who was approached by the company behind the gifting suite months ago. "It's a little crazy, but very exciting."
Over 150 celebrities who are attend the Academy Awards will arrive at the Luxury Gifting Suite on Saturday to taste Fehr's gourmet sauces. There will be opportunities for photos as well as the opportunity to connect with investors.
"We sent an invite to Ryan Gosling’s publicist," says Fehr, who hopes Hollywood's social media powerhouses give his own following a boost. "There's no guarantee he’ll show up, but if he did - that would be perfect."
Gourmet Inspirations was established in 2013 with the purpose and goal of creating gourmet, specialty food products that are versatile, convenient, and easy to use. Gourmet Inspirations currently offers a line of delectable five-star sauces for use at home. Flavours include Creamy Peppercorn Whiskey, Sweet & Spicy Lemon, Strawberry Balsamic with Basil, and Salted Caramel Whiskey Dessert Sauce. All products are Canadian made and contain no preservatives.
“I’m honoured to be part of showcasing amazing local Canadian products at the Academy Awards,” says Fehr.
Manitoba is a major hub of CN’s transcontinental rail network. Much of our trafﬁc passes through Winnipeg’s Symington Yard. Winnipeg is also home to Transcona Shops, our main Canadian railcar and locomotive repair facility, and our rail plant. In Winnipeg, we also have CargoFlo® bulk handling, forest products and automotive distribution facilities, and an intermodal terminal.
CN signed a 10-year contract with Amsted Rail to produce one million railcar wheels for Transcona Shops. The new wheels will be produced using 100 per cent recycled steel in Winnipeg, providing high-quality jobs there. In 2016, we invested about $90 million to strengthen our rail network and support safety, efﬁciency and long-term growth in Manitoba. The program focused on the replacement and upgrade of rail, ties and ballast, plus bridge maintenance, level crossing rehabilitations, signal upgrades, and improvements at Transcona Shops.
In 2016, CN invested almost $400,000 in 32 Manitoba-based organizations, including:
Canadian Mental Health Association
The CMHA held its first ride-a-thon in Winnipeg to help people in the community get the best possible care and support in their recovery from mental illness.
FortWhyte’s roster of 40 leading-edge outdoor environmental educational programs incorporate key themes of sustainable development and rail safety into Manitoba’s education system.
Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre
Deeply rooted in the province of Manitoba, the centre aspires to both reflect and inform the community it serves by providing affordable and accessible performances of the highest calibre
Tell us about your organization.
Who do you help with what you do?
Describe a moment where you realized you made a difference.
For the last several years, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce has published an annual list of the Top 10 Barriers to Canadian Competitiveness. That document listed some of the self-inflicted wounds that have prevented Canada’s economy from achieving its full potential and set out our recommendations for change.
Many of those recommendations were acted upon by government while others remain unaddressed. This year’s document is different.
Instead of focusing on barriers, it sets out 10 opportunities to improve our economic success. It still makes some specific recommendations that we will add to and advocate throughout the year. The document is far from a comprehensive list of our broad policy agenda, which includes the resolutions passed at our Annual General Meeting and Convention, the work of our standing policy committees, the roundtables we hold across Canada throughout the year, the research undertaken by our talented policy specialists and the suggestions we receive directly from the more than 200,000 members of our network.
Instead, Ten Ways is designed to offer a focused view of measures governments can take to improve our competitiveness. Identifying the issues that make up the list is as much art as science. It involves bringing together all of the policy input mentioned above and making a judgement about which issues will be particularly timely in the year ahead.
After wide discussion and debate, the final list is approved by our Board of Directors. This year’s list comes at a time of both challenge and opportunity for Canada. The global economy’s slow growth and the rising tide of protectionism and geopolitical insecurity provides an uncertain canvas on which to paint the Canadian picture.
However, we continue to possess important advantages, including our rich resource inheritance, the skills and industry of our citizens and our proximity to the world’s richest market. With imagination and plain hard work, we can translate these advantages into business success that will benefit every Canadian family.
President and Chief Executive Officer
The Canadian Chamber of Commerce
1. Promote Innovation and Harness the Power of Data
Canada’s innovation agenda must leverage the private sector and help companies get from idea to product. Harnessing the power of “big data” and ensuring data are secure will also be critical to competitive success.
2. Fight Global Protectionism
As a trade-dependent nation, Canada must combat protectionism by leveraging its critical resources and other products and services its partners need. The completion of CETA and the Trade in Services Agreement will also open markets to Canadian business.
3. Upgrade Canada’s Regulatory System to Get Natural Resources and Other Exports to World Markets
Canada needs a regulatory environment that makes it possible to develop natural resource projects and to build the infrastructure required to get those resources to customers. Its regulatory system must also be open, transparent, fact-based and efficient.
4. Work with Business to Combat Climate Change and Maintain Canada’s Competitiveness
Canada needs a national carbon-pricing policy that has one objective: lowering GHG emissions while preserving Canada’s competitiveness. For the benefit of the environment and of the economy, Canadian business must be at the centre of the design and execution of Canada’s climate change strategy.
5. Build Canada’s Brand
Canada must provide reliable and sufficient funding to Destination Canada’s international marketing budget. A well-marketed national brand would increase foreign investment, encourage the world’s most talented people to immigrate to Canada and add value to quality-dependent exports, like agri-food products.
6. Grow Small Business to Take on the World
Canada must ensure small businesses have innovative access to capital, the talent and the programs that will get their goods to international markets so they can grow and flourish in the global economy.
7. Build Digital Skills to Compete in the New Talent Economy
Canada must build its capacity to harness digital technologies and apply them across its economy. It must also grow its pool of information and communications technology workers by encouraging student enrolment in computer-centric fields, improving the digital literacy of Canadians or hiring foreign workers.
8. Assure Better Access to Capital for Indigenous Entrepreneurs
Canada must support Indigenous entrepreneurs in their efforts to access the capital needed to invest in equipment, training and other tools that can translate the benefits of short-to-mediumterm projects into the long-term benefits of jobs and wealth for their communities.
9. Dismantle Internal Barriers that Cost Consumers and Discourage Investors
Canada must develop a new Agreement on Internal Trade that includes the mutual recognition of regulations. Allowing business to operate more freely between provinces and territories will increase economic growth and job creation.
10. Encourage Investment by Cutting the Cost of Doing Business in Canada
Canada must reduce the cost of doing business in this country. Reducing those rising costs will provide a significant boost to our competitiveness and leave more money for businesses to invest.
We encourage you to join the discussion online and tweet your thoughts using the hashtag #10Ways
On Tuesday, February 14 we were honoured to sit down with Minister Ralph Eichler to discuss the future of Manitoba's food sector - one of the four key pillars The Winnipeg Chamber identified for our province's economic development strategy.
Joined by our Board Chair Wadood Ibrahim (Protegra) and Board Member Lisa Dyck, we were deeply pleased to have a wide ranging conversation with the Minister on critical issues facing the sector - a conversation we look forward to continuing as carbon pricing and possible NAFTA changes loom on the horizon.
Our suggestions included:
We're grateful to connect with a Minister who has deep ties, history and support for Manitoba's food sector and look forward to future discussions.
I never thought that the name 'The blanket exercise' gave the activity the justice it deserves, although this is how the activity was created and is commonly known. It is originally from the KAIROS, a joint venture by the United Church of Canada as an advocacy for social change.
I've been a workshop facilitator for over 15 years, I have facilitated hundreds of very valuable and meaningful lessons to a variety of audiences, but this is definitely a presentation that is very dear to my heart. It is my story, as much as it is all our story.
The blanket exercise is an activity where participants explore the nation-to-nation relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples in Canada, and explore a timeline of over 500 years. Blankets arranged on the floor represent land, or ‘Turtle Island’ known by the Indigenous peoples, and each participant plays a part, by stepping into the roles of the First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples. I added my own touches to the presentation by noting some dates, specific stories and names that participants might relate to. When people leave, they will have a new, deeper understanding of the history, like they haven’t before. The activity really ties together all of the points of things we may have heard about such as the Indian Act, residential schools and the 60’s scoop.
I was moved by the growing interest of Winnipeggers wanting to learn what the indigenous history and reality, really is, and I felt called to step into the role of a knowledge-sharer and put together a workshop called Indigenous Insights Seminar, which includes the activity and much of the knowledge I collected and learned about as an urban, Indigenous adult. We also touch base on the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, some background on where the ‘Calls to Action’ came from, and I also present an opportunity to learn about some traditions you might see in our region such as the value of ‘passing tobacco’.
The recognition of the Truth and Reconciliation Commissions Calls to Action was definitely a driver to sharing this knowledge. I give credit to the leadership that Senator Murray Sinclair in starting the movement to reconciling Canada and we all have a part to play. This is part of my journey.
I was honored to share this presentation with the board of directors and staff at the Winnipeg Chamber and received valuable feedback, click this link. This is my community. I want my children to one day be teaching this workshop and for this knowledge to be shared widely and openly and never be hidden again.
When Jennifer Plante briefly found herself working in the addictions and mental health field, she knew she’d made a misstep.
“I’ve always wanted to help people, but I realized then that front line service wasn’t for me,” the owner of Hot Impact Digital Advertising says. “I’m much better at enabling people who want to help themselves.”
It was the a-ha moment that allowed her to return to her previous work in marketing with renewed passion, even as her husband’s work at CN prompted a move to a new Canadian city. Plante began researching markets to see if there was a community with room left for an evolution in digital advertising.
“There’s a large presence for digital media in Ottawa and Montreal – very competitive, aggressive companies doing it on a large scale,” she says. “Similarly out west there is a company that has a large presence in Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver. Winnipeg’s the untapped market.”
The digital advertising Plante’s referring to – and what she brings to Winnipeg with her company, Hotimpact Digital Advertising – is a series of linked indoor screens at high traffic venues. These “host locations” pay a minimal upfront fee for the screens, but then have access to Plante’s graphic design team, the rest of her network and a share of the profits from ads that run in their location.
It’s a deal that’s already paying off for the small business community Plante wants to support.
“We have a client who’s a chiropractor on Osborne,” she says. “He was there for four years and fairly quiet traffic-wise, so we turned his screens to face out the windows.”
“He’s gotten three times the clientele since the screens went on. I was there doing an update on a screen once and someone came inside asking ‘is this a new business? When did this open?’”
After eight months Hotimpact has almost 50 locations looped into their centrally controlled network. Hotimpact can control the various feeds from their own computers, customizing each screen based on its location, customer demographics – even the time of day.
It’s a degree of control that also lets Hotimpact run their business to support the community by helping business’ maximize their revenue.
“In major markets, the digital ad companies will take whoever is willing to pay. If two sub shops want to advertise on one screen, they take that money and that’s it.”
Hot Impact Digital Advertising gives exclusivity to the six locations a client chooses to run their ads, so their message isn’t in direct competition with a rival.
Given the point of sales boosts, shared revenue and referral bonuses Hotimpact’s clients are enjoying, it’s unlikely Plante will get to take a break from her work soon – but that suits her fine.
“I love meeting people, hearing stories of them growing and watching their business flourish,” says Plante, who also offers branding, website and graphic support through Hot Impact. “Helping people, being creative and marketing great ideas – my work combines all of my passions now.”
Contact Jennifer Plante and Hot Impact Digital Advertising by visiting hotimpact.ca or find them on Facebook.
WINNIPEG CHAMBER: When did you develop a passion for writing?
ALYSON SHANE: I’ve always been passionate about writing and how we communicate. Growing up, I always had my nose in a book (or two, or three…) and always enjoyed writing exams and papers in school.
In high school, I started writing fan fiction (fictional stories based on existing books, movies, etc.) and I discovered the world of blogging. These two communities provided me with ways to develop my voice, and the fan fiction websites provided me with places to give and receive constructive feedback from peers, which was immensely helpful.
Eventually, I moved away from fan fiction to focus on blogging, and as social media began to emerge, I realized that these tools were the best way to utilize my skills as a writer to engage with a larger, broader community.
WC: Why should businesses hire someone to generate content and social media, as opposed to doing it themselves?
AS: Simple: social media is a time-consuming process.
A lot of planning, preparation, and research should go into any action that a business takes online, and it’s often one of the first areas to “slip” when a business gets busy.
For example, part of crafting a successful message on social media means understanding who your target audience are, where they hang out online (different age groups use different social networks, for example), and the right kinds of messaging, images, and tone to use when speaking to them. This process can be time-consuming, and it’s just one first step!
We make our client’s lives easier by taking the guesswork out of their social media needs and allowing them to focus on what matters: running their business, finding new customers, and generating revenue.
WC: What’s the biggest mistake a lot of companies make on social media?
AS: The biggest mistake that a lot of companies make on social media is not actively engaging with their audience.
“Engaging” means taking the time to reach out to the people who follow you online (your “audience”) and talking to them. Posting content which asks questions and encourages people to respond to you shows that your business wants to hear from its customers.
Additionally, taking the time to respond to messages, comments, and going out of your way to interact with customers and other businesses online can go a long way towards helping your audience see your business’ social media profiles as ways to talk to real people who care about them.
WC: What’s the best part of the work you do?
AS: The best part about the work I do is having the opportunity to learn new things, and knowing that our services provide positive value for our clients.
I’ve worked in a variety of marketing-related jobs before, but being able to work directly with our clients to develop strategies which add value to their business is always an incredibly positive and empowering experience.
We work with nonprofits, enterprise-level businesses, mom-n-pop shops, and other businesses from a variety of sectors. As a result, I spend a lot of time researching, learning, and developing processes which benefit our clients, which has the added benefit of teaching me a variety of new things, too.
WC: How big an honour is it to be one of CBC Manitoba’s picks for top local social media influencer?
AS: It was incredibly humbling. It was also a very validating experience; I chose to stay in Winnipeg and start my business here because I believe that our city has so much to offer, and that I could use my “voice” on social media to be an advocate for the good that I see all around me. I’ve been active online for years, but I only recently felt like I found my “purpose”, and so being identified as an “influencer" by CBC Manitoba felt like a wonderful culmination of those efforts.
WC: Blogging is a big part of what you do. How do you generate ideas on things to blog about?
AS: I’ve been publishing content online for 15 years, so at this point coming up with content topics has just become second nature. One of my favourite things to do is meet with friends and clients and brainstorm over content ideas!
I also read a lot. I try to allocate at least an hour a day to researching different topics, reading news articles and forums, and checking out industry-related blogs for new information. I also read a lot of fiction and nonfiction, essays, research papers… basically anything I can get my hands on which may teach me something new, or which piques my interest.
WC: You’re a lover of coffee and craft beer. What are some of your favourite places in the city?
AS: I’m pretty sure the best Americano in Winnipeg can be found at the Thom Bargen location on Sherbrook St - it’s where you’ll find me meeting clients, stocking up on beans, or just hanging out on a nice day.
As far as craft beer goes, Half Pints has to get a mention because they’re responsible for introducing me to what good beer tastes like. These days I tend to frequent PEG Beer Co., Barn Hammer, and The Commons (try the Neapolitan Stout if it’s still available, it’s my favourite).
That being said, my favourite place to work in the city is definitely Forth because they have my “holy trinity” of productivity: good coffee, beer, and (most importantly) wifi access.
Follow Alyson on Twitter (@alysonshane) or visit alysonshane.com