Chatham-Kent Chamber of Commerce Accredited

Chair's Message


Good morning, members of the Chatham-Kent Chamber of Commerce, the board and thank you Counselor McGregor for being here this morning on behalf of the Municipality. This is truly an amazing opportunity to be your board chair for the next year and to continue the great work of our past chair Ryan Organ, Previous Chairs Pete Fantuz and Tracey Walker. These are big shoes to fill.

In preparation for this message, I looked at some of the past chair’s messages to the board and there was a very common theme that we will continue to build on in 2024. “Advocacy” Websters dictionary tells us that advocacy is “the act or process of supporting a cause or proposal; the act or process of advocating for something. In this case as your chair, we will continue to advocate for business, large or small, in our great community.

In my most recent role as chair of the advocacy and governance committee over the last year we have seen some very important items come across our desk. Homelessness, recycling pickup, and workforce planning for Chatham-Kent are just a few items we have discussed and will continue to advocate for our members and all businesses in all of Chatham-Kent. Some upcoming issues may include rising property tax rates, new construction dump sites and the always interesting increase to building permits.

But as we look ahead, our outlook for 2024 is the best I have seen since my time with the chamber, our networking events, major awards ceremonies, and golf tournament have all been planned booked and filling up quickly. Our new sponsorship programs have allowed us to onboard new members and continue to show value to existing members through discounts, social opportunities, and continuous feedback to better advocate for your businesses in Chatham-Kent.

While writing this message to our board members and to the board, my wife asked me what my plans were as your chair and what I would do if I had a wish list for the future. My goal as your chair is very simple, continue to advocate for business in Chatham-Kent, we are building relationships with our members of government at every level and working to have our voices heard in places we feel they need to be. As for a wish list, during the mayors address in 2023 Mayor Caniff spoke a lot about partnership and creating partnerships to continue to help Chatham-Kent grow and become a destination place to live, work and thrive. Where I see my role in that is how do we get the multiple chambers of commerce in Chatham-Kent to start working together while speaking up for all business across Chatham-Kent, bringing our message as a unified Chamber to those levels of Government, a Unified voice is a louder voice, and we are better when working together.

Secondly, continue to build strong partnerships with our Municipal government, our most recent Breakfast with the CAO was a big success, and the upcoming Breakfast with the Mayor is a fantastic event to hear what is happening in our community, what are the plans going forward and what are some of the rubbing points as we grow.

I could continue for hours, but I will leave you with this. As someone born and raised in Chatham-Kent, someone with two small children that I would like to see stay here and thrive, I will take this year as your Chair of board as an honor and an opportunity to help make a difference.

Thank you!
BJ Griffiths

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