Nelson and District Chamber of Commerce executive director Tom Thomson. Photo: Tyler Harper

Nelson and District Chamber of Commerce executive director Tom Thomson. Photo: Tyler Harper

NEWS AND VIEWS: Nelson and District Chamber of Commerce prepares for AGM

The Chambers’ AGM is March 25

By Tom Thomson

Nelson and District Chamber of Commerce executive director

On March 25, the Nelson and District Chamber of Commerce will be hosting our annual general meeting that includes election of directors. While the Chamber has staff to carry out day-to-day operations, volunteer directors from various economic sectors help to set policy and governance.

Some people believe the Chamber is an arm of the City, but the reality is the Chamber is a volunteer, not-for-profit organization that is a strong, credible voice for more than 500 small- and medium-sized businesses representing thousands of employees in Nelson and area. Our goal is to foster growth and healthy economic development, and to work as the voice of business through our advocacy efforts and economic development initiatives.

Chamber of Commerce organizations are not out-of-the-box, cookie-cutter setups. Every chamber is unique, with different benefits, resources, and opportunities. However, the end goal is the same — to serve as an influential voice that stands for the wellbeing of the local business environment. This includes helping to promote local businesses and improve their growth.

Last month, the provincial government proclaimed Chamber of Commerce week, in part to recognize the unwavering commitment of Chambers throughout B.C., in supporting local businesses, boosting economic development opportunities, and providing vital resources for businesses in our community.

Volunteering is an incredibly positive way to give back to the community and develop a new skill, no matter what the board or organization you are drawn to. Giving back to the community is something the Chamber is incredibly passionate about. We have a few volunteer committees, as well as a volunteer board of directors.

This influential board works with decision-makers at all levels of government throughout the year to support our region’s business interests as well as maximize the value of membership with the Chamber.

Many of the Chamber’s current and past successes have resulted from the work of its board and staff tapping into the influence and expertise within the local business community to get things done and to generate new ideas.

Our board of directors volunteer for a minimum of a two-year term. They are governance-focused and establish the strategic priorities of the organization in accordance with the mission of the Chamber and its Bylaws as ratified under the Federal Boards of Trade Act.

The Nelson and District Chamber of Commerce is a best-practice, business advocacy organization that continuously strives to make Nelson and area an even more attractive region in which to live, work, play and invest. Together the approximately 530 member businesses and their collective thousands of employees act as a single, powerful voice through the Chamber to promote local business interests.

The role of the Chamber in achieving its vision is to build and strengthen the business culture through a strong membership of the Nelson and area business community and advocating to all levels of government on their behalf.

If you looked back to the inception of the South Kootenay Board of Trade in 1893, it would look like a who’s who of Nelson and area business owners.

This year, the following directors are running for re-election to the Chamber Board.

Karen Bennet (Bennett Family Realty), Tanya Finley (Finley’s and Sage), Stephen Harris, (Stephen Harris Communications) and Paul Wiest (Cornerstone Group of Management Consultants). The rest of the board is made up of: Mike Borch (Baker Street Menswear), Darren Davidson (Davidson Communications), Sean Dooley (Hipperson’s Hardware), Chris Drysdale (Cloudside Hotel), Bob Hall (Selkirk College), Rebeckah Hornung (Whitewater Ski Resort); and Ed Olthof (Pacific West Builders).

Two directors are stepping back from the board following a couple of terms including Scott Robertson (Taghum Shell) and Scott Grimshaw (Terra Therma Plumbing and Heating)

Two new faces will join the board for the next two years, including Amanda Verigin (Kootenay Co-Op Store), and Paul Cowan (Cowan’s Office).

Considering all the COVID-19 uncertainty and turmoil that has been going on throughout the business community, we should all truly appreciate the interest and commitment these business leaders have demonstrated by putting their name forward, and to work on your behalf as part of the Chamber board.

For details on how to join us for the AGM or for more information on the Chamber drop us a note to