Messages from the Chair of the Board and the President

A Message from the Chair

This past year, the Oakville Chamber had a record year in terms of revenue, event attendance, and membership growth. In August, we were very proud to achieve a special membership milestone of over 1,200 organizations, representing more than 40,000 employees.

The Chamber has come a long way since incorporating in 1949. Next time you visit the Chamber office, have a look at the copy of the Oakville Record-Star (the predecessor of today’s Oakville Beaver) that hangs on the wall just inside the entrance at the Oakville Chamber office. The 1953 headline reads “Business Men Organization to Promote Area. Chamber of Commerce Away to Flying Start with 59 Memberships!”

Back in the day it was “business men” that created and supported the Chamber; whereas today we have many successful business women contributing to our economy and the Chamber. In fact, 6 of the past 11 chairs of the Board of Directors have been women. Not only did they lead the Oakville Chamber to success, but they are leaders in their respective industries including real estate, hospitality, marketing, finance and advanced manufacturing. 

Since those early days, the Oakville Chamber of Commerce has grown and evolved to become the prominent voice of the Oakville business community. Through advocacy work, corporate benefits, networking opportunities, events, business development and educational forums, the Chamber exists to foster a healthy, engaged and sustainable business environment in Oakville.

I would also like to thank our ‘award-winning’ President John Sawyer. John has been working tirelessly since September 2005 to bring top quality speakers to Oakville. He is well respected by Chamber staff, our members, the board of directors, his colleagues at Chambers throughout the country, and politicians at all levels of government and from all political parties. It is his leadership and his ability to forge strong partnerships with the businesses and organizations – large and small – here in Oakville that has helped the Chamber grow to where we are today. John – thank you for your passion and dedication in serving our members for the past 12 years! 

I would also like to thank our departing Board members: Don Bassindale, Lisa Piccolo, Hal Shaw and Susan Towle for their invaluable contributions to the Oakville Chamber; and I welcome our new Board members: Kris Barnier, Ben Molfetta, Christine Szustaczek, and Ruth Victor. I look forward to working with you over the coming year.   

Lastly, I would like to thank our members – old and new – for your contributions to our economy. We understand the sacrifices you make and the challenges you face to be in business today. Always remember that the Chamber is here to support you.

In the year ahead the Board and Chamber staff will continue to work to increase our membership base, conduct advocacy work and raise the profile of Oakville’s dynamic business community. Featuring top leaders in business and government at our events will continue to be a priority; and kicking off the year with keynote speaker David Dodge, Former Governor of the Bank of Canada and Senior Advisor at Bennett Jones LLP, is a great start!

Once again, thank you for the opportunity and honour of serving as your Chair.

– Ken Nevar, Chair of the Board, Oakville Chamber of Commerce