2021 Virtual AGM
Hello, my name is Peter Kostiw and I am the president of the Southern Georgian Bay Chamber of Commerce. I would like to welcome you to the 2021 online President’s Message. This year’s AGM is being presented in this format due to COVID protocols and until we return to our regular format, I hope you are all staying healthy and safe.
In the spring of 2018, I was elected President of the Board and since then I have taken great pleasure and interest in meeting other Chamber members in the community. As the owner of a local small business, I have listened to the conversations about the needs and concerns of other business owners and employees and, as a result, I feel that I have gained a better understanding of our business community. I continue to look forward to working with the Board and the Chamber to help grow community and commerce in Tay, Tiny, Penetanguishene and Midland.
Established over 90 years ago our Chamber continues to operate as a non-profit entity made up of business people, community organizations and corporations established to promote economic development and a healthy vibrant community. I feel that in order to grow a healthy economy it is essential that these groups work together in support, knowledge sharing, and direction. With that in mind, this year the Chamber is again looking forward to working with other like-minded local organizations in advancing the fundamental objectives and mission statements to best serve the economic longevity and community strength of Tay, Tiny, Penetanguishene and Midland. Even though
the work of a Chamber is never done, one can be assured that the Southern Georgian Bay Chamber of Commerce stands on a strong and growing foundation within our communities.
To say that the past year has been a challenge would be an understatement. Trying to find a balance between health and the economy in a COVID environment has not been an easy task. However, much of the strength and stability of the Chamber not only in the past year but during the past 3 years has been essential in succeeding through these times and it has been a direct result of the devoted efforts of the General Manager, Cathy Tait, and her staff. The Board established a goal of expanding the presence of the Chamber in the community and Cathy has taken up the project in stride.
This is demonstrated in the renewed overall energy and mandate of the Chamber to showcase members. Since the Chamber is not government funded, the members are the most essential piece of the pie. Not only do they represent what the Chamber is all about, but they are what keeps the Chamber going. Cathy has successfully led an ongoing campaign for a greater social media presence for the members. One example of this is the profiling of our members and community with video and special promotions. The result has been that the Southern Georgian Bay Chamber of Commerce is now the leader among other Chambers and like organizations in Simcoe County for online presence.
But a greater social media presence is not the only thing. In order to improve its physical presence, the Chamber has moved the office to the main floor. Not only has this increased walk-in traffic but improved its image, accessibility and presence in the community. The Chamber is now not only a Chamber but a Business Information Centre for members and anyone who would like to find out what our area has to offer. It has been a much-needed way of showing off member’s accomplishments and pride for our communities. This in turn has resulted in the building and strengthening of community relationships and new members such as the Town of Midland and the Town of Penetanguishene.
Perhaps one of the highlights this year is the expansion of the Chamber with a new satellite office in Penetanguishene. This has resulted in a further reach and presence in our communities and has allowed us to provide all the valuable information about the Penetanguishene area and businesses.
We now hope that our communities will return to the pre COVID life that we so much enjoyed. However, in the meantime, the Southern Georgian Bay Chamber of Commerce will continue to promote and improve the commercial, professional, environmental, industrial, agricultural, economic, civic and social wellbeing of the communities of Tay, Tiny, Penetanguishene and Midland. We will also continue our mandate of serving the membership with promotional, tourism and networking opportunities.
Of course, respecting COVID protocols, the Chamber has been limited in what it can do for social and networking events, most of which have been put on hold. The prime example would be our AGM which has been replaced with this much subdued virtual format. However, with this time off it has given the Chamber the opportunity to examine and put new thought into these events. We look forward to continuing them in the future and seeing faces not just through a screen, but sharing stories, experiences and laughs in real human time.
Thank you for your continued interest and support of the Southern Georgian Bay Chamber of Commerce. And please always feel free to contact myself or Cathy at the Chamber as we always like to hear from you.
President of the Southern Georgian Bay Chamber of Commerce