Board of Directors
From Our 55th Board Chair – Chief Governance Officer
It’s an honour to have been selected by my fellow Board directors as chair. In particular, I’d like to thank Steve Dooley, who chaired the Board this past year and, for those of you who know Steve, not surprisingly, he led with his heart, as we continued our journey, started by Dr. Greg Thomas to mature into a board structured through policy with an understanding that our role is to consult with our owners and develop a vision for the betterment of Surrey businesses.
I’m going to touch on a couple of concepts and then bring these concepts together to help define the role of the Surrey Board of Trade in this city.
The first concept I’ll touch on is ownership. Boards have a responsibility to act on behalf of their owners. For a corporation such as Ford Motor Company, it is easy to define who their owners are: it’s the stockholders. That’s who the Board of Ford makes decisions on behalf of. For a Board of Trade, it is not always so clear, which is why we spent some time last year deliberating and deciding that our owners are our business members. They, or you, are who Board members deliberate on behalf of and it is our job to consult with you in a high level way to find out your thoughts on the future of business in Surrey and beyond. We do this through day-to-day interactions and focused scheduled consultations where we ask questions such as the following:
- What are the challenges that Surrey businesses face, and what kinds of resources are needed to overcome them?
- If the Surrey Board of Trade could meet one need that would best assist Surrey businesses, what would it be?
- What do you believe is important for the Surrey Board of Trade to achieve?
The information gathered is then used by the Board to create the vision or “Ends” for the organization. At the global scale our Ends are that the Surrey Board of Trade exists so that a “business climate conducive to the success of our members and the wider community” exists in our city. Further specifications of our Ends include the following:
- That businesses are growing in Surrey
- That businesses in Surrey support diversity
- That businesses in Surrey have access to a workforce with relevant skills
- That government decision makers have information on how their decisions impact businesses in Surrey
In short, we listen to you, our owners, and create and advocate for a vision that will help you and the City of Surrey be vibrant and successful.
I’ve served on boards where 50 minute deliberations on what colour the board room should be painted dominated discussions, where boards reacted in knee-jerk ways to current fads or complaints, and I can assure you that the Board of the Surrey Board of Trade is not one of those Boards. We know that our job is not to be reactive, but to lead the way forward through consultation with our owners, visionary Ends policies, and sound monitoring of the operations of the SBOT.
While our Board acts on behalf of our owners, our CEO, Anita Huberman, acts on behalf of our members in leading the operational work needed to create a business climate conducive to the success of our members and the wider community. This may mean, at times, that we don’t see eye-to-eye with municipal, provincial, or federal law-makers. In fact, I’d go further than that: it would be highly unusual if we walked lock-step with elected decision makers at all times, especially when political cycles are 4 years and we need to be thinking about what is good for the businesses of Surrey and the citizens of Surrey not just now in the immediate, but 5, 10, 15 years in the future. We need to be thinking not just about now but when we have grown to be the biggest city in BC. Not just about the immediate, but about what the future holds for business in areas ranging from green technologies, to disruptive transportation models, and to inclusive employment.
And this is where we are fortunate to have Anita Huberman leading the Surrey Board of Trade. In her 13 years at the helm of this organization, she has been not just a voice for business but a voice for a vibrant and inclusive city. She understands that for the future to live here, we need to ensure that the City is a destination, not a drive through, and that we need to create and sustain our own ethos of innovation and creativity that attracts the businesses of the future to our city.
I am looking forward to working with Anita, my vice-chair Baljit Dhaliwal, Board members, and you, our owners, in ensuring we have a business climate conducive to the success of our members in Surrey this year and into the future.
Immediate Past Chair
Jamal Khan Financial Group
Mandie La Montagne
The Intueri Group
BM Group of Companies
Remedios and Company
EXP Services Inc.
Murray Latta Progressive Machine
Health & Technology District at Lark Group
Port of Bellingham