Krista Ross, CEO
With our first ever virtual annual general meeting coming up in late June, it’s going to be an unusual experience for all of us at the chamber. Our AGM is normally a chance for new, continuing and outgoing board members to connect and for the chamber to publicly recognize the efforts of our amazing volunteers. It won’t quite be the same this year, but we’ll make the most of it – I think we’ve all learned a thing or two about what’s really important, how to roll with changing circumstances and the value of a positive outlook.
We are going to need to maintain this focus moving forward. Beyond the COVID-19 crisis, we continue to have big economic challenges in New Brunswick which are only going to be exacerbated over the coming months – an aging workforce, a small population, a large debt and high taxes – to name a few. Broadly speaking I think we need to focus on three things in relation to the economy: a collective public health effort, a groundswell of support from local communities, and aggressive economic stimulus and other financial support on the part of the federal and provincial governments.
I know we can get through this together. That’s been clear to me since Day One when some of the very first messages I started to receive were from businesses offering support to other businesses to help get the community through the crisis. Similarly, we had many people putting their names forward to join our board this year – I commend all of them for being willing to step up with their time and expertise when they’re needed most, even when their own organizations are navigating a new reality. As the old saying goes – if you need something done, ask a busy person.
Speaking of busy people – a HUGE thank you to ‘Team Chamber’. Our organization is so fortunate to have this team of highly dedicated and talented individuals who work on your behalf every single day. I already considered Brianne Phillips, Wendy Morrell, Christine Little, Morgan Peters, and Tanya Senechal to be my dream team, but the past few months have further highlighted their professionalism and commitment to our members. Their work on behalf of our members has always been incredible but even more so during this time of economic challenge .
Finally, I want to thank our outgoing board members and our amazing 2019-2020 president, Karen Grant of Kiers Marketing. Karen’s commitment to the chamber and her love for Fredericton are second-to-none. Our immediate Past President Ryan Boyer of Cain Boyer Benefits Group is leaving our board this year after seven years – thank you, Ryan for your leadership and perspective. The other talented and community-minded individuals leaving our board this year are Lori Clarke of Lori Clarke Interior Design; Kim Nash-McKinley of St. Mary’s First Nation; Lori Stickles of NB Liquor Corporation; Dhirendra Shukla of UNB; and Ken Critchley or Morneau Shepell. Thank you all.