From the time he first started in business to his current role as a successful consultant, one thing has always remained a constant for Ken MacLeod – the support of the chamber of commerce.
MacLeod’s corporate career took him across North America before he came to Vernon, including stints in northern and southern Ontario, Alberta, Lower Mainland and the U.S. As the Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce’ newly appointed president, he plans on fostering that same support for the local business community.
“One of the main sources of support I had back then was to become a member of a chamber of commerce. I felt that’s where I needed to learn and be around similar types of people so I could take advantage of their expertise,” said MacLeod, president of MacLeod Consulting and chair of TEC (The Executive Committee in the Okanagan).
Soon after coming to Vernon, MacLeod started on the board of directors before making the commitment to joining the executive. Working his way through the second and first vice-president roles has been beneficial, he said.
“It’s good for the chamber to have that process because you learn the nuances of the chamber. To just walk in and become president without knowing the history and background would be difficult, and it’s not really fair for our members,” said MacLeod, a former Morning Star business columnist.
Joining him on the executive are first vice-president Ingrid Dilschneider of Predator Ridge and past president Deb Leroux, owner of Harris Flowers. The second vice-president and treasurer have yet to be announced.
Continuing on the board of directors are Duane Vanekeimpema (JayDee Associates), Deb Stoddard, (TD Canada Trust) and Jodi Koenig (Summit Financial).
Acclaimed to the board for 2011-13 are Jaron Chasca (Alternatives Funeral & Cremation Services), Dauna Grant (Vernon Public Art Gallery), Adrian Johnson (KPMG), Randy Kazemir (The Mortgage Group Canada), Matthew Davidson (Sage Environmental Consulting), Roel van de Crommenacker (Innotech Windows & Doors) and Trevor Koenig (Blenz).
“This new board is going to be extremely strong and I’m extremely impressed by the changes I’ve seen with the new members and the returning members. The board every year seems to be getting stronger and stronger,” said MacLeod.
“When I moved to the Okanagan, I was pleasantly surprised by the style of this chamber and the commitment the local community had to our area, even more than some of the bigger areas I’ve been involved in.”
Once the board was announced at the Vernon chamber’s recent AGM, one of the first things MacLeod asked members was what they look for in a chamber.
“Every person has a different reason for belonging, but it boiled right down to a source of support for (their) business. This was coming right from them and I needed to know that.”
MacLeod doesn’t foresee any great changes in the way the chamber will operate moving forward. It will continue to advocate and promote local business by working with the three levels of government to increase economic development.
And as previous executives have done before this one, MacLeod says the goal is to “set the direction…and allow staff to be accountable for results.
“We have a great team and we cannot allow ourselves to get involved in the day-to-day because that undermines their ability to do their jobs.
“It’s good policy. By moving in that direction, you have a stronger chamber.”