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From the Desk of the CEO Jill Raycroft

Everyone has dates within a year that hold special meaning – birthdays, anniversaries, first day in business – and every year we celebrate represents a stockpile of memories and experience – there are some years that represent “milestones” or markers along this journey…  the decades, the quarter-centuries…  for me, this week represented my first year in the role of CEO and by far, this has been the most fulfilling year of my career to date.  I want to thank the Board and you, for being a part of this great organization that has given me such an amazing opportunity to partner business thinking with community service.

This week also represents a significant date for the Chamber and you, as our members, as this is the day we officially “pass the gavel” from one President to the next at our Annual President’s Dinner. As a quick recap, we call for nominations in October and when required, hold elections in November.  The new term officially begins in January and the role of President usually represents four years of experience on the Board. 

And each new President brings a different personality to the role.  Derrick Morgan departs after his year where we saw a great deal of transition within the Cabin while advocacy issues at all levels of government were ongoing.  I thank him for his calm, no-pressure demeanor and thoughtful suggestions.  Looking forward, Suzanne Hunt assumes the role – and comes in with energy and experience we can put to work with a new goal.  Over her tenure to date, she has been instrumental in updating our constitution and ensuring our policies are compliant.  In the coming year, her guidance will help us achieve accreditation with the Canadian Chamber. 

Tonight marks an annual tradition as Suzanne takes the oath of duty and we present our retiring Board members with tokens of recognition for their contributions.  It also marks the first ever presentation of the Cornerstone Awards; a program designed to celebrate our members for the people they are rather than simply the face of a business in the community.  Those being acknowledged tonight include:

Recognizing retiring Board Members for their contributions to the Chamber:

  • Sandie Sidsworth, Canadian Mental Health Association;
  • Rene Veillette, Hanon Systems Inc.; and
  • Past-President Tim Farrell, RBC Securities

The Outgoing President also acknowledges a member of the Board, staff or general membership for their outstanding contribution that directly supported them or the Chamber in the past year:

  • Luc Fournier, Meta Employment Services (former Membership Development Coordinator for the Belleville Chamber of Commerce) who has continued to support activities and events through multiple volunteer hours this past year.

The Incoming President acknowledges the Outgoing President for their leadership role with the President’s Recognition Award:

  • Derrick Morgan, BDC

The Cornerstone Awards are presented this first year to the following members:

CITIZENSHIP: Kristin Crowe, Alarms Systems & Falcon Security

FOUNDER: Ross McDougall, McDougall Insurance

MENTOR: Mark & Mary Hanley, Hanley Corporation and Janet & Ken Harnden, Pinnacle Music Studios

VISIONARY: Mark Rashotte, Royal LePage ProAlliance, Empire Group of Companies

The Lifetime Achievement award is presented by the previous year’s recipient.

Maurice Rollins will present this award to Gerry Bongard of Stephen Licence Ltd (he has been there for 62 of the 100 years Stephen Licence has been in business).

We congratulate each of the recipients on their award and thank them for how their personal contributions have benefited Belleville.