2013 was once again extremely busy for the Greater Oshawa Chamber of Commerce, with close to 2,500 business people attending over 80 events and meetings throughout the year. An army of close to 100 volunteers organized events, researched and discussed issues affecting the business community. The events ranged in size from 25 at a Lunch & Learn to over 220 at our Business Excellence Awards.
Networking kicked off in January with a “You Are The Speaker” Lunch & Learn, a luncheon at Fazio’s Restaurant highlighting Women in Business with guest speaker Tina Desi of T & E. Healthpros and the Annual Regional Chair Luncheon hosted by Roy Nichols Motors and Collins Barrow Durham LLP at the Oshawa Golf Club.
The Chamber policy committee started the year with a survey of the membership to gather opinions on the Economic Outlook for Oshawa and Durham Region.
Moving into February the major networking event was “A Tasting Evening” at Parkwood, The R.S. McLaughlin Estate, hosted by Michie Wealth Management Group, RBC Wealth Management Dominion Securities. To round out the month the business community heard from Mayor John Henry at the Mayor’s Annual Luncheon held at the Quality Hotel & Conference Centre in Oshawa. Thank you to BMO Bank of Montreal who has sponsored the event for 21 consecutive years.
In February, the newly named C. Fred Ball Volunteer of the Year Award was presented to Yvonne Brady of Johnson Insurance Inc., at the Mayor’s Annual Luncheon. The Chamber welcomes the ongoing support of all its volunteers.
At the same event, the Chamber said goodbye to a long time staff member. After 20 years working at the Greater Oshawa Chamber, Wilma Metcalfe said farewell and moved on to start the next chapter of her life—retirement!
In March, Corporate Challenge took centre stage with a 60s theme networking event at Neb’s Fun World. Over 100 attended to take up the Challenge and compete for the Challenge Cup and prize money for their Charity of Choice. The 2013 Challenge Champions were Team PH 2 from Petley-Hare Insurance Brokers who claimed the $1,000 prize to donate to their charity of choice, Simcoe Hall Settlement House.
Also in March, the Chamber hosted a roundtable with John Howe, the Vice President, Investment Strategy & Project Evaluation of Metrolinx in the Chamber Boardroom sponsored by the Ontario Chamber of Commerce and Metrolinx to discuss the proposed Revenue Tools and get a read on the issue from the business community.
March wrapped up with the YP40 group (Young Professionals under 40) showing their best game face at the Poker “Fun” Night held at the Ontario Regiment, Officers’ Mess.
In April we had three networking events with a “You Are The Speaker” Business for Breakfast event, another sold out Women In Business luncheon at Fazio’s Restaurant, with keynote speaker Donna Taylor, CEO & Port Manager, Harbourmaster of the Port of Oshawa and the 3rd Annual Spring Marketplace hosted by Octaviens.
In May we launched the “Social Media – Learn From Your Peers” Lunch and Learn series, with guest speakers Adam Hare of Petley-Hare Insurance Brokers and Kyle Douglas of CRCS Disaster Kleenup facilitating a round table discussion about Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
The Covanta Breakfast with keynote speaker Joey Neuhoff, VP of Business Development for Covanta Energy Corporation was a success with great media coverage and an opportunity for the business community to learn about the new incinerator being built in Clarington.
Also in May our Annual Golf Day was held and for the first time in the history of this event, we had a “Hole in One” winner with the lucky participant walking away with $10,000 in cash and a set of golf clubs.
In June the Chamber hosted a lunch and roundtable session with U.S. Consul General Jim Dickmeyer. Mr. Dickmeyer, along with Doug Jacobson from the U.S. Foreign Commercial Service office and Jeff Izzo, Chief of Political and Economic Affairs at the U.S. Consulate General Toronto toured the General Motors of Canada Automotive Centre of Excellence at UOIT (ACE) and Parkwood Estates prior to joining Durham Region’s key business leaders for lunch.
The Business for Breakfast event with guest speaker Cate Collins of Powerful Journey motivated the crowd with the topic “Is Your Underwear to Tight?” and the second in the “Social Media – Learn From Your Peers” Lunch and Learn series with Kevin Brady and Eric Poulin of Local Media Marketing Inc. facilitating a round table discussion about
The Top 5 Marketing Tips Every Business Needs to Succeed. Both were both very well received with lots of new faces in attendance. June wrapped up with the YP40 group (Young Professionals under 40) swinging from the trees at the Treetop Eco-Adventure Park located on the beautiful Oakridge Moraine.
In July the Chamber once again hosted a roundtable with John Howe from Metrolinx to get an update about our concerns on transit.
The Summer BBQ and Networking event held in August on the Chamber patio saw over 180 members and friends of Autofest attend to view the vintage vehicles and to assist with the media launch for Autofest 2013. Over $207 in proceeds from the BBQ went to the Motor City Car Club’s charity of choice, Grandview Children’s Foundation and 9 bags of food were collected for Simcoe Hall Settlement House.
One of the biggest changes this year was a different approach to the Business Excellence Awards held at the historic Regent Theatre in September. From the new format for the awards program to the post parties at Avanti TRATTORI, Buster Rhinos Southern BBQ, Fazio’s Restaurant and Riley’s Olde Towne Pub in Downtown Oshawa, a great time was had by all! Awards were presented to Dr. Angela Fountain and Associates, Rhythm Dynamix Dance & Performing Arts, McCAM Insurance Brokers Ltd., GeoSight Inc., Working It! Making Your Clothes Work For You Inc., Norm Mackie of Mackie Moving Systems and the President’s Award was presented to Boys & Girls Club of Durham–Eastview Unit with over $700 being donated to them for their elevator project.
Also at the Awards celebration, the Chamber officially unveiled its partnership with Kemp Travel and China Visit Tour and one lucky attendee won a 10 day trip to China in 2014.
In October, long time resident, amazing entrepreneur and Oshawa booster Carol Cavalleri of The Table took centre stage at the Women in Business Luncheon at Stavs. The Fall Business Showcase was revamped to include seminar guest speaker Cate Collins of Powerful Journey Consulting who specializes in transforming powerful leaders from the inside out!
In November, our Chamber, in partnership with OCI, held a round table discussion with the British Consul General, Jonathan Dart to discuss how Durham can do business with the UK.
The 5th Annual FUNSpiel had 42 participants slip and sliding all over the ice at the Oshawa Golf and Curling Club with the Durham Epilepsy Society reaping the benefits.
Also in November, the third “Social Media – Learn From Your Peers” Lunch and Learn session hosted Adam Hare of Petley-Hare Insurance Brokers talking about “Tips For Delivering a More Effective Power Point Presentation”.
Closing out the year in December, the Annual Christmas Wine & Cheese social event was hosted in the Officers’ Mess of the Ontario Regiment with the Salvation Army Band playing traditional carols. Over 100 enjoyed networking and each attendee brought along a special gift of food or toys.
Throughout the year the Chamber tackled some popular and some not so popular issues in its quest to affect change. To ensure the voice of business is heard at all levels of government, the Chamber Board also had a sit down with City Council Reception and a Roundtable with Enbridge Pipeline 9, attended the Long Term Energy Plan session, made a presentation to the Ontario Minimum Wage Panel and garnered media coverage on the minimum wage issue from CHEX TV Durham, 1350 a.m., This Week and Oshawa Express. As well, the Chamber received excellent coverage in the media from This Week, 1580 a.m. and CHEX TV Durham on its Metrolinx position.
The Chamber is a business of information—collecting it and sharing it with its members and the business community. As part of this information service, the Chamber once again, produced four long standing publications: Durham Relocation Guide celebrating its 18th year of publication, Oshawa Visitor’s Guide in its 13th year of publication, its Chamber Membership Directory & Buyer’s Guide and its monthly business paper Business Matters—which combined had an annual distribution of over 95,000.
The Chamber continued the monthly eNews bulletins— eNews Business Matters and eNews DEPC, both designed to keep the business community informed about the changing business climate. The Chamber also continued to reach out using social media—Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn—to communicate with its members.
The Chamber remains committed to changing with the times and continuing to provide positive leadership by providing services, and promotion of business opportunities in support of its members.