At the Manitoba Chambers of Commerce, we believe in taking advantage of ongoing learning opportunities, and we know that there is immense value in networking with our brilliant chamber colleagues. Last week, the Chamber of Commerce Executives of Canada (CCEC) in-person conference in Ottawa more than supported our goals and surpassed our expectations.
MCC’s delegation of three (Chuck Davidson, President & CEO; Brent Hutton, Director, Business Development & Member Relations, and Karen Viveiros, Director, Marketing & Communications) landed in Ottawa Tuesday afternoon (Brent and Karen’s first commercial flight since the dark days of March 2020). We were keen to reconnect with chamber leaders hailing from the East to the West Coast, and from hundreds of communities in between (including Manitoba chamber leaders from Winkler, Morden, Portage la Prairie, Winnipeg, Parkland, Assiniboia, Brandon).
“It felt great to network with other chamber marketing communications staff, and to pick my peers’ brains about the current economic conditions and challenges we are all facing,” says Karen. “Late into Day 2, the MCC team convened in the hotel lobby for a couple of hours and we itemized 15 key take-aways from the sessions – some which will be quick wins to boost our efficiency, some to drive enhanced value for members, and others which may represent new initiatives we can assess for implementation.”
The two-day conference included thought-provoking discussion panels on critical strategies for chamber sustainability, for strengthening advocacy, and an eye-opening “Ask me Anything.” This no-holds-barred, moderated Q&A invited four outspoken, respected, successful chamber leaders to the stage, unafraid to speak the truth about challenges, obstacles, working with boards, community involvement, their worst moments, and so much more.
Expert presentations included:
- Casey Steinbacher’s “From Relevant to Essential: Five Key Insights for Chambers of Commerce,” which challenged us all to think differently about what’s next for the network;
- Bill Holman of Holman Brothers Membership Sales Solutions, who shared strategies to create genuine connections with prospective investors;
- Dan Stevens of Workerbee.TV speaking on the impact of true digital transformation and how to harness its potential;
- Stephen Tapp, Chief Economist, Canadian Chamber of Commerce, on the purpose and value of the CCCs Business Data Lab;
- The incomparable Sheri Pash, who reminded us that all staff members contribute to membership growth and that we must commit to re-igniting a post-pandemic volunteer spark.
In addition to the sessions, we shared lots of laughs, great food – including HUGE sandwiches and even desserts for lunch! – and some amazing moments in the ByWard Market and around Parliament. We celebrated chamber executive accreditation and five years of service for Kristi Meek, President & Executive Director of the Assiniboia Chamber of Commerce, as well as CEO of the year for chambers with 1,000+ members, Loren Remillard, CEO of The Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce.
Stay tuned to our blog over the next couple of weeks as we share some of the lessons we learned, many of which can apply to chambers, associations, and businesses of all sizes.