The Okotoks Chamber of Commerce’s new president said members can expect a focus on engagement, advocacy and a review of policies and procedures this year.
The Okotoks and District Chamber of Commerce held its annual general meeting Jan. 17.
Members elected a new board of directors and Mayor Bill Robertson swore in Sara Noyes, who took over as president from Andrew Gustafson who completed his two-year term.
“We have a lot of members now, and we really want to get them doing education and coming to events and networking with each other,” said Noyes. “It’s an honour to serve the Chamber for me. I feel well-mentored behind Andrew in terms of his leadership.
“I have some big shoes, both literally and figuratively, to fill for sure, but I feel well-supported and like there’s great people around. I’m really excited.”
Returning board members are Jody Sanderson (vice-president), Susan Baxter, Warren Carriere, Harlene Day, Gino De Paoli, Andrea Glowatsk, Dawn LeMaistre and Kathy Thirsk.
New to the board of directors are Robin Mitchell, Cheryl Olson, Clint Pigeon, Adam Stepa and Jim Zang.
A record number, 75 members, attended the luncheon. Noyes said there is a renewed energy on the board in the last six to eight months and new executive director Jayme Hall, who she said has brought “fire and energy back to the Chamber.”
An initiative she’d like to implement this year is networking events at member businesses. She said it would also be great to get more member-to-member deals posted on the Chamber website.
“It’s just another way for our members to engage with each other and really bring people together,” said Noyes. “I think that’s our overarching goal for 2018. Our key role is member engagement and if our members are happy and they’re being well-served then that’s great.”
As for advocacy, she said the Chamber will be working hard to use its local, provincial and national networks to support Okotoks businesses. She said this could include having a united voice to share input from the business community with the Town.
“We can try to hold town council to account and the Town to account, to make the climate better for business here,” said Noyes. “The wheels are turning for sure at the Town but we need to press them to do even better and to continue on.”
Andrew Gustafson, who was president from 2016 to 2018, is moving into the role of past-president – a position that has not been held in more than a decade. Former presidents have moved on without remaining on the board of directors, for a number of reasons, he said.
The past-president is responsible for reviewing policies, procedures and bylaws and to redevelop and review the terms of reference for Chamber committees, he said.
“Because we haven’t had a past-president in some time, we haven’t had a review of that paperwork in some time,” said Gustafson. “The overarching governance policies of the day-to-day practices of the Chamber at this point are a little bit antiquated.”
He said some members have volunteered to form a review committee.
Some of the work has been started over the years, he said, but without a past-president it’s been difficult for the board of directors to spend enough time on it.
“Now that I don’t have the added responsibilities of another board member I think I can take the tie to do this properly,” said Gustafson. “I’m really excited for that role.”