Since arriving at the Chamber in April of this year, I have had the privilege of working with an extraordinary staff of Patti Carr, Sue Adams and Carol Porter.  We are supported by an elected volunteer Board of Directors, who represent a wide cross section of our business community, from across our district.  These people have been a tremendous support and tireless in their efforts to move the North Bay and district business community, forward.

As a governance board, we are presently in the midst of board elections and we will see most of the prior board allowing their names to stand for re-election.  They will be joined by a number of new faces from our membership and we are fortunate to have thirteen individuals running for six positions, whose terms are complete.  Thank you to those board members who have served and to those that have put forth their names to represent our business community, congratulations and we admire your commitment to making North Bay a better place.

The interaction with the business community, over the first six months as President & CEO, has been a great experience and as well, it has reaffirmed my beliefs that the business community continues to have faith in themselves.  During these introductory months as I have settled into the position, I have been seeing a change of attitude and commitment that says, “Yes we can”.  This is not only coming from the new business start ups and the younger generation, but also from mature and established businesses that are taking the time to mentor and guide that new generation of business people.

I am certainly encouraged when we hear from different groups that they require assistance or expertise to move into the business world or expand what they have.  The call to action by these individuals or groups, has been met with a resounding response from a variety of business people, through out our area.  They are ready, willing and able to provide that hand up and they recognize that to succeed as a community, it is all about co-operation and collaboration.  More and more, we are seeing individuals and businesses working together and providing that mentorship to those start ups and those that are looking at an entrepreneurial career or future.

Competition is a healthy factor in any community whereas protectionism does not allow for growth of our future leaders.  Government alone, whether that be Federal, Provincial and or Municipal, cannot do it nor should they be.  They can provide the tools for growth, but we should not expect them to be the impetus for success.  That will only come from those successful individuals that are willing and able to pay it forward, to our future business and community leaders.

Peter Chirico is the President and CEO of the North Bay & District Chamber of Commerce.