By the time you read this article, I will be in my “age of celebration” which is what the Spanish word for retirement means. The amazing Barbi Holland will be at the Chamber office in my stead. You are going to love her – she is a dedicated professional and a tireless champion for Chamber members.
I have so many people to thank.
First, of course, are the 1000+ members of the Greater Charlottetown Area Chamber of Commerce who have made my time as Membership Services Manager a delight and an incredibly rewarding experience. I especially would like to thank the over 500 new members that I have met in my tenure. The young entrepreneurs who heard that the Chamber was the place to be to make connections. To the brave new Islanders from all over the world who made PEI their new home. To the strong female entrepreneurs who make me so proud. And lastly, to the returning members who heard that their Chamber was reinvigorated.
Thank you to the over 200 volunteers that support the Chamber – from the Board of Directors to the Advocacy and Membership committee members, Ticket Committees and of course the Ambassador Committee members who make new members feel welcome. I have so enjoyed working with you all.
I would like to say a special thank you to the Presidents that I have served under: Pam Williams, Rory Francis, Jennifer Evans, Dawn Binns and the current President Colin Younker. Few people realize the amount of time and effort each president devotes in their one-year tenure. You have been a great supporter of the Chamber staff and we sincerely appreciated all your kind words over the years.
Thank you so much to the Chamber partners who provide cost savings to our members such as First Data, Grand & Toy, ADT, and Pragmatic Conferencing. A special thank you to the team at The Connolly Group – Shayne, Tim, Julie, and Joanne who administer the Chamber Health Plan. Your dedication to excellence in customer service was never more evident than through this pandemic.
And now to the staff of the Greater Charlottetown Area Chamber of Commerce…
Our firecracker of a leader – the fearless Penny Walsh-McGuire. Our dedicated CEO leads by collaboration and makes sure that every voice is heard. She has the utmost respect for staff, volunteers, and members of the Chamber. I have learned so much about leadership and community service from her – I will always be one of her biggest fans.
Angela Smith, our Office Manager, Board Liaison, and the heart of the office. She is super organized and has a huge desire to help in any way that she can. As the mom of the office and an unpaid counsellor, she has helped all the staff and many members through challenging times. She is also a business owner and has a great understanding for small business owners. I know many of you benefited from her phone calls to you through the pandemic.
Sheryl MacAulay, our Policy and Communications Director, is one of the smartest people I know. I am so impressed with her dedication to improving the circumstances of our members. She is a passionate advocate and was a rock during COVID. Thanks to her efforts, we became a full information gathering and advocacy team – and this is while she was pregnant with twins! Proud mom of Mila & Arthur, she is now on leave, but her legacy remains.
I have had the pleasure of working with some great event organizers over my 4 years – Nicole, Abby, Vanessa and now the amazing Tania Crouse-Hardy who moved her family to the Island just one month before COVID hit. Talk about a baptism by fire! Your nerves of steel and attention to detail is inspiring. They have all been a joy to work with. As the Chamber moves forward and can host larger events, Tania’s organizational skills will become more evident to you all.
The newest members of the chamber team – or the “bright young things” as I like to call them – Nikita Whitty, Jayne Whitehead and Sam MacPhail are all great editions and bring a fresh young vibe as well as new ideas to the table. Part of the enjoyment of working at the Chamber is the opportunity to meet and work with so many incredible young people.
The PEI Connectors team of Nicole, Ali, Amy, and Frank as well as past connectors Carina, Rose and the “other Frank” – your tireless work in welcoming people from all over the world to help them start or buy a business is amazing. Through your compassion and humanity, I know that you have changed so many peoples lives for the better- including mine. Thank you also to Nindiya and Angela M. I appreciated working with you both to help match job seekers and businesspeople – your work has a great impact on their lives.
So, Chamber members, in case you had not realized it – you have an amazing team working for you. While I was a volunteer ambassador for the Chamber, I recall thinking that the team seemed to be very hardworking. When I became a part of the staff, I realized that they work extremely hard, more than I could have ever imagined. The skipped lunches, vacation days and appointments postponed, late night and weekend calls, emails, and long hours – the Chamber staff does whatever has to be done to get the job done. They do not complain because they are doing it for you – our members. They know that their actions and work impact your lives and that is why they are here – to make things easier for you.
It has been an honour and a privilege serving the Greater Charlottetown Area business community in my roles as a Guardian Advertising Representative, volunteer Ambassador, and your Membership Services Manager.
My departing wish is that my work had some small part in helping your business succeed – that is all the thanks that I will ever need.
Fare thee well,