Pat Uptegrove had a simple message for members of the West Prince Chamber of Commerce: “Change is going to happen. Embrace it and you will be enriched.”
Uptegrove, the guest speaker for the Chamber’s Annual General Meeting, chose as a seque into her presentation, ‘The Diversity in our Community,’ a wide-angle photo from a P.E.I. Pond Hockey Championship tournament.
“This is so representative of a community. This is what community does: they come together and they have fun together.”
She encouraged the chamber members to widen their sense of community and to be inclusive.
“You have an inclusive community; when you have that tone in your community and environment, you have prosperity,” she said.
Uptegrove led her audience through some of the subtle differences between cultures, how some are very business-centered and how concept of time varies from one culture to another.
“Change is our only constant,” Uptegrove stressed. “That is what we depend on.” Suggesting a big component of that change is cultural, she said communities that build cultural awareness will attract new residents, and prosper.
West Prince Chamber of Commerce president, Geoffrey Irving summarized what he’s seen in the community during the chamber’s first full year of operation since re-establishing itself. “Industries were strong. Fishing and farming were strong. Construction and new development is thriving. Business owners have a general sense of optimism,” he said.
Irving acknowledged the work of the executive, board of directors and executive director, Tammy Rix. “Tammy has worked extremely hard reaching out to businesses in the community, keeping membership informed,” he noted.
Membership has reached 150 and Rix said the Chamber hopes to grow it to 200 this year. Educating the business community on what the Chamber can do and how it can help them, and a membership drive were focal points of the renewed organization’s first full year. Several mixers and special events were held and the Chamber has been busy planning its first ever Business Excellence Awards Gala. It will be held Feb. 22 at Mill River Resort.
Growing and retaining membership will remain a focus, said Rix. The Chamber, she added will also be active in youth and community involvement.
Four new members were elected to the Chamber’s board of directors during the annual meeting.
Joining the board are Sean Doyle, Melissa Heald, Leah McGrath and Zack Stewart. They replace Mary Ellen Rennie, Colby Callaghan and Tara Connely, who did not reoffer. There was one vacancy.
Returning to the board of directors are Michele Oliver, Janet Ogilvie, Paul Arsenault, Jackson Platts and Dennis Gallant
The executive is unchanged, Geoffrey Irving as president, John Maynard as vice-president, Mike Adams as treasurer and Carol Rybinski as secretary.