Happy New Year! I ask you to please send this message to your staff because Surrey Matters to them as well.

First, thank you to our members and sponsors for your ongoing support of the Surrey Board of Trade, Surrey’s non-partisan, city-building business organization. For the Surrey Board of Trade, as a not for profit organization, financial support is derived solely from membership fees and sponsorship.

In 2019, our national chamber of commerce recognized the Surrey Board of Trade as being in the top 3 in Canada for our government advocacy. I won the Community Builder of the Year Award, from the Surrey Now-Leader Media Group. We released the first Surrey Labour Market Study and Workforce Strategy, hosted high profile keynote speakers, elevated the Surrey International Trade Centre portfolio and continued being the destination for business support and business attraction. The Surrey Board of Trade speaks for the business community at public hearings and to the media. It is a recognized voice of business. Again, we received extensive media coverage from local and national media.

Last year, the Surrey Board of Trade continued to be a vibrant, growing organization providing a forum for debate on critical issues. We continued to be an innovative public policy solution provider and a destination for networking for Surrey’s business community. In fact, 15% of our 6,000 member contacts are outside of Surrey. They join the Surrey Board of Trade because they want to know what is happening in Surrey, they want connections, they want government advocacy, and they want business support – locally and internationally. Our association with a network of Chambers of Commerce and Boards of Trade around the world – in this 500-year old global industry – gives us a uniquely credible voice.

There have been many results in 2019. Our goal, always, is to ensure that the Surrey Board of Trade is at the center of business support. The events that we host align with these initiatives and that of the Advocacy Teams. We don’t just have a speaker event for the sake of having a speaker – every program that you see come through your emails aligns with the growth of this organization, through a certain theme that is promoted – such as Environment, International Trade, Tourism/Arts/Culture, Workforce, Social Policy, Innovation, Transportation, Industry, Finance and more. It is all to do with driving the economy of your business and your city.

I’ve been with the organization for 27 years (close to 14 years as CEO) starting from the bottom, working my way to the top. I’ve stayed this long because we are led by a dedicated team of board directors, volunteers and staff.

In 2020, the Surrey Board of Trade will continue to bring in new ideas for the benefit and value to our members. We continue to push the boundaries and innovate the organization through projects, community involvement,  and advocacy initiatives that put Surrey at the forefront of positive and productive discussion.

As we look into the future of the Surrey Board of Trade, Surrey and our region, we must always ask for and continue to focus on results. We are not the organization that we were 20 years ago, nor could we have stayed that way to be relevant.

In our ongoing comprehensive plan we will continue to focus on addressing the following:

  • Can Surrey and the South Fraser Economic Region achieve new standards of economic vitality and livability that are equal to or beyond that enjoyed by other successful areas?
  • Can we develop the range of quality economic, cultural and educational opportunities needed to move Surrey forward and become one of the nation’s most livable cities?
  • Can we engage the business community in maintaining a laser-like focus on strategies that will indeed create a higher standard of livability for Surrey and the South Fraser Economic Region?
  • And related to these objectives, can the Surrey Board of Trade achieve new levels of productivity, commitment, leadership and impact?

The Surrey Board of Trade, with your help, will ensure that:

  • Businesses have the opportunities and supports to succeed (tools, connections, resources for local and international business support; innovation; opportunities for connections; thriving local, regional and international business climate);
  • Government decision-makers have information on current and emerging issues and research from a business and economic lens; and,
  • Surrey is attractive to business (to make Surrey safe, inclusive and affordable and for business to access a diverse workforce with relevant skills).

Our marketplace is constantly changing – paradigms are shifting – and economic conditions are dynamic with new demands – which create new expectations for proactive and responsive leadership by the Surrey Board of Trade.

A call to action…for Surrey
The Surrey Board of Trade can accomplish many things but at the heart of a successful organization is the active participation of its members. We are only as strong as our members. I call upon you to be active by joining our Teams, by renewing your memberships, by getting other businesses to join, by attending our many interesting events, by providing feedback on the many issues that I email you about, but most of all, by being an ambassador for Surrey business. Together, our potential is boundless to make Surrey an Opportunity City!

Let’s continue to power up entrepreneurial success in Surrey. Let’s continue to risk, care, dream, expect and expand our networks, locally, nationally and internationally.

Check out to stay up to date on Surrey’s economic development, our government advocacy, our business and international support services and our city-building events.

Again, Happy New Year – and I hope to see you at the January 22 New Year’s Business Reception (5-8pm at the Surrey Board of Trade; Admission is by donation to the Surrey Food Bank) as we give an annual toast together for a successful business year.