Thursday, April 20, 2017

New President installed at Prince Rupert and District Chamber of Commerce

The  Prince Rupert and District Chamber of Commerce held their changing of the guard on Wednesday, as the old executive exited the stage, with a new collective of leadership preparing to take on their roles to guide the Chamber through the next 365 days.

Leading the new executive will be Michelle Bryant-Gravelle, who was sworn in to her office on Wednesday and outlined her vision for the Chamber for the year ahead with a six minute address to the Chamber membership.

With a traditional welcome to open up her presentation, the newly installed President outlined some of her background and the path that has led her to the leadership role at the Chamber for the next year.

She spoke of equality for aboriginal residents and women and how that will come through conversation and engagement in the community.

Ms. Bryant-Gravelle made note of the changing face of Prince Rupert with the population now nearing a point where First Nations now make up fifty percent of the city's base and that it's important that people and businesses in Prince Rupert to recognize what comes with that change.

Adding that opinions, attitudes and perspectives must change and how the culture of the aboriginal people will change the way that we do business in the town. She observed how culture and economic development have to run parallel to each other

Noting that economic development is set to roar at a fast and aggressive pace, and with it culture has to be part of that change, with a clear understanding of the culture of the people of this territory, the Tsimshian, needs to happen at all levels of business.

She took note of the spirit of reconciliation, most recently found with the raising of a reconciliation pole at UBC in Vancouver and tied that event as a metaphor for how the Chamber will need to approach its work.

New Chamber President
Michelle Bryant-Gravelle addressed
the Chamber on Wednesday morning

(Photo from Linked In)
The New President also highlighted the growing membership of women as part of the Chamber and observed that there are now three First Nations members with the Chamber of Commerce Board, offering that up as an indication that the Chamber is no longer the "old boys club" as it was once perceived to be and how she is proud to be part of that change.

She also noted that the Chamber will be observing the June 21st Aboriginal Day as a statutory holiday in Prince Rupert, with the chamber offices to be closed that day in recognition and to allow staff to participate in the days events.

As the presentation came to a conclusion, Ms. Bryant-Gravelle reviewed some of the success of the Chamber in recent years, as well as the steady growth that it has found and observed that many other Chambers have contacted them to borrow some of the Rupert ideas.

She highlighted for the audience that the strength of the Chamber is in building relationships, whether it's within each member company with their employees, or to larger engagement with other companies in the community.

The President issued the call for local business owners to champion each others and promote and refer their customers to all the businesses in the community, adding that when one business thrives it allows others to thrive.

To better understand what's available in the community, she invited those in the audience to take the time to visit the store fronts in the city and talk up at least three businesses each week, by doing that she notes that the Chamber would see business grow.

To close off she outlined her enthusiasm for the year ahead and welcomed the remainder of the Board to their duties, thanked the staff at the Chamber, adding that she looks forward to working with all.

You can review her presentation from the Chamber Facebook page.

The Prince Rupert and District Chamber of Commerce Class of 2017
(missing from photo Crystal Lorrette, Leah Jowe, Rosa Miller)

The New Executive for 2017 includes:

Michelle Bryant-Gravelle -- President
Dave McKeever -- Vice-President
Cyrstal Lorette -- 2nd Vice-President
Rosa Miller -- Treasurer

Leah Jowe  -- Northern Savings
Shelby Sullivan -- Pacific Northwest LNG/Sullivan Mechanical
Jamison Prystay -- DP World Prince Rupert
Carl Sampson -- Lax Kw'alaams Business Development
Irene Mills -- Nexen and Haida Jaada's Suds and Stuff
Carol Bulford -- Advantage Print and Design
Shannon Bahm -- Hecate Strait Employment Development Society

Keith Lambourne -- Past President

Photos and notes from the Wednesday event will soon be available on the Chamber Facebook page and website.

More notes related to the city's business scene can be found on our Commercial  Sector archive page.

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