Hawes takes on Chamber of Commerce president’s role

Kelowna Chamber inducts Karen Hawes.

Karen Hawes, of Interior Savings Credit Union, will be the new president of the Kelowna Chamber of Commerce for 2011-12.

Hawes was installed with the other new executive at the chamber’s annual President’s Dinner held last week. 

Hawes said the future direction of the chamber will come from input generated from the membership. 

“Based on member feedback, in the upcoming year one of the areas of focus will be to provide educational opportunities to assist businesses create a business infrastructure to help them to sustain their business in the future,” Hawes said. 

Another area of focus, she said,  will be to help chamber members market and brand their businesses.

A third area is to create more opportunities to connect members on a business to business basis; with a particular focus on sector specific opportunities, she added.  

“Although we will be primarily focused on educating and connecting our members, our advocacy efforts will not be placed on the back-burner,” said  Hawes. 

“The Kelowna Chamber enjoys a strong working relationship with our elected representatives at all three levels of government. We will continue to work closely with them to address the challenges brought forward by our members.” 

Hawes is replacing Wesley Shields, who will remain on the executive as past president. 

Shields acknowledged the work and dedication of the board and volunteers over the past year. He also recognized the work of the chamber on challenging and complex issues such as downtown revitalization and the implementation of harmonized taxes. 

In addition to the advocacy work, he cited the successes of the chamber such as improved connection with members and the implementation of programs such as the Go Green Business Challenge.

The 2011 board of directors will be officially sworn-in at the Kelowna Chamber of Commerce annual general meeting, set for tonight, March 2, at the Hotel Eldorado. 

The AGM will feature a panel of speakers focusing on the topic of Kelowna Outlook, covering a review of the highlights of 2010 and discuss opportunities and challenges in 2011. Among the panel participants will be Weldon LeBlanc, chief executive officer, Kelowna Chamber of Commerce; Robert Fine, executive director, Central Okanagan Economic Development Commission; and Ron Mattiussi, City of Kelowna city manager. 

Visit www.kelownachamber.org to register for the March 2 AGM. 

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