Cham­ber cham­pion

New Ot­tawa Cham­ber of Com­merce chair Marie Boivin wants busi­nesses to get more out of the or­ga­ni­za­tion.

Ottawa Business Journal - - Front Page - BY DAVID SALI david@obj.ca

As a part­ner in a suc­cess­ful fi­nan­cial ser­vices com­pany, Marie Boivin knows firsthand the chal­lenges en­trepreneurs face each day.

The new­est chair of the Ot­tawa Cham­ber of Com­merce hopes to use that ex­pe­ri­ence to help the or­ga­ni­za­tion’s more than 700 mem­bers get the most out of the cap­i­tal’s largest busi­ness ad­vo­cacy group – no mat­ter what sec­tor of the econ­omy they rep­re­sent.

“I want the value that the cham­ber brings to busi­ness to be clear,” the CEO of Ac­cu­Rate Cor­po­ra­tion said in an in­ter­view with OBJ af­ter she was sworn in late last month.

“If you want to grow a busi­ness, we can con­nect you to the proper (sup­ports). There is more to Ot­tawa than in­no­va­tion. There’s a re­ally broad land­scape of var­i­ous in­dus­tries.”

Ms. Boivin re­places Ot­tawa Tourism CEO Michael Crock­att, whose term ex­pired. An OBJ Forty Un­der 40 re­cip­i­ent in 2009, she has run her com­pany for more than 15 years and has been a mem­ber of the cham­ber’s board of di­rec­tors since 2010.

She said one of her top pri­or­i­ties as chair will be to en­cour­age more co-op­er­a­tion

“There is more to Ot­tawa than in­no­va­tion. There’s a re­ally broad land­scape of var­i­ous in­dus­tries.”

— MARIE BOIVIN, NEW CHAIR OF THE OT­TAWA CHAM­BER OF COM­MERCE

among var­i­ous lo­cal busi­ness groups and eco­nomic agen­cies, in­clud­ing In­vest Ot­tawa and the re­gion’s other cham­bers of com­merce.

“In or­der to cre­ate an en­vi­ron­ment that fos­ters true po­ten­tial growth for busi­nesses, we need to have a stronger voice to rep­re­sent the en­tire com­mu­nity,” she said. “We need to en­gage in a deeper way with the var­i­ous stake­hold­ers. The more we work to­gether, ob­vi­ously the stronger we get.”

Ms. Boivin also hopes to spread the word about the ben­e­fits of be­ing a cham­ber mem­ber – for ex­am­ple, pre­ferred rates on items, in­clud­ing group and home in­surance plans, as well as dis­counts on busi­ness tools such as the Bet­ter Soft­ware Com­pany’s lo­cally pro­duced sched­ul­ing, billing, re­port­ing and an­a­lyt­ics plat­form.

All lo­cal cham­bers are im­por­tant ad­vo­cacy or­ga­ni­za­tions that pro­vide key ser­vices, and it’s im­por­tant for Ot­tawa busi­nesses to sup­port them, she added.

“Every busi­ness in Ot­tawa should be a mem­ber of their cham­ber of com­merce,” Ms. Boivin said.

The Women’s Busi­ness Net­work Busi­ness­woman of the Year nom­i­nee in 2015 also said she’s look­ing for­ward to work­ing with cham­ber CEO Ian Faris and new vice-chair Ian Sher­man, a part­ner at EY’s Ot­tawa of­fice.

“He’s very strong in ad­vo­cacy,” Ms. Boivin, whose term runs for one year with an op­tion for a sec­ond, said of Mr. Faris. “He’s ex­traor­di­nar­ily con­nected.”

The cham­ber’s first fe­male chair in a decade, Ms. Boivin as­sumes the role at a time when the lo­cal econ­omy ap­pears to be gain­ing steam, thanks to such ini­tia­tives as the new In­no­va­tion Cen­tre at Bayview Yards, the pend­ing ar­rival of light rail, new real es­tate projects such as Zibi and the planned re­de­vel­op­ment of Le­Bre­ton Flats and the an­tic­i­pated spike in tourists ex­pected next year for Canada’s 150th birth­day cel­e­bra­tions.

“I’m so ex­cited,” she said. “Ot­tawa is a hap­pen­ing place. It’s the per­fect storm. Ev­ery­thing is align­ing. We just have to keep work­ing. We have to work to­gether so that we keep mo­men­tum rolling.”

FILE PHOTO

Accu-Rate CEO Marie Boivin is the new chair of the Ot­tawa Cham­ber of Com­merce.

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