COMMUNITY RELATIONS COMMITTEE
The mission of the Steinbach Chamber of Commerce is to unite and represent Steinbach and area businesses in the belief that the resulting economic growth and stability provides an enhanced quality of life for the entire community. This statement rings true as many local business owners understand how important it is for their business and employees to be interwoven in the fabric of our local community.
The mandate of the Community Relations Committee is to bring business and community together. Over the years, the Committee has supported this statement by way of coordinating various community events and participating in community initiatives. As a Committee representative, we look for ways to celebrate many local business successes and support tourism to our community. This past year while focusing on our legacy event, the Pioneer Days Parade, the Committee had the opportunity to introduce two new initiatives to support our mandate.
Our Committee is proud to report on the following:
- Pioneer Days Parade – This year we celebrated the Steinach Chamber of Commerce's 65th anniversary at the Pioneer Days Parade. We showcased this with special posters on the floats of Chamber members, showing just how many of our amazing Steinbach businesses are proud Chamber members. The Parade, as usual, saw outstanding participation with a total of 116 entries. The community attendance and support were, again, outstanding to see and continue to be appreciated. Congratulations to the 2019 Parade winners:
Best Historical: Mennonite Heritage Village
Best Animal: Kismet Creek Farm
Judges Choice: Days Inn
Most Creative: Old Church Bakery
- Steinbach Burger Days – This is the second year the Steinbach Chamber of Commerce is hosting Steinbach Burger Days. With an outstanding ten local restaurant owners participating, this event saw great community involvement and support. The event saw great traction on social media, news outlets and even on Travel Manitoba as an attraction during this time.
I would like to thank the Community Relations Committee members for their dedication this year. On behalf of our Committee, I would like to thank the membership for their support and invite them to give us feedback and ideas to continue to foster a spirit of community here in Steinbach.
Submitted by Committee Chair, Carley Smith – Steinbach Credit Union
Matthew Penner – Print Studio One
Brett Adnum – Golden West Broadcasting Ltd
Tessa Masi – YWAM Island Breeze Manitoba
Brenton Thompson – Summer Bounce Entertainment
BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT COMMITTEE
The mandate of the Business Development Committee is to promote and support growth and development of the business community. This Committee works effectively to organize these learning opportunities through a variety of avenues as we learn from those who have pursued their vision in the business community over time, by hosting Professional Development events and developing the young leaders of our region.
This past year, we began with a presentation from Pierre Cleroux, Vice President, Research and Chief Economist of BDC, providing a snapshot of the Canadian economic outlook. He shared his professional insights followed by a question and answer period.
The Lunch & Learn events proved to be a popular education format again this year. Events focused on Employee Retention, Business Banking and the upcoming October event, Benefits of An Inclusive Workplace.
The Young Leaders Breakfast Series was a new initiative from this Committee. We hosted a four part series and saw 27 young people attend. The sessions included Introduction to Leadership and Personal Style, Conflict Resolution and Team Dynamics, Business Fundamentals and Sustainability in Leadership. Each presenter provided the group with a snapshot of the importance of their particular interest in development. The theme of pursuing best practises and moving forward together was evident throughout the series. With an overwhelmingly positive evaluation of this program, we intend to continue this forum of learning in 2020.
The Mentorship Roundtable Event is scheduled for November. We anticipate another sold out event as it has been for the past few years.
A special “thank you” to Emma Lafreniere for her many years of service on the Business Development Committee. We wish her all the best as she pursues other initiatives.
Looking ahead, we anticipate another year of creating opportunities for growth and development and bringing our members together to encourage one another as we continue to build this community.
Submitted by Committee Chair, Frieda Wiebe – Straight A Transfer Ltd.
Gemma Brown - Smith Neufeld Jodoin LLP
Gerald Banman – Harvest Insurance
JP Craft - Paul Craft Financial
Rick Battistoni – MNP
Stacey Gagne – Signex Manufacturing
Tracy Oulette – HyLife
MEMBERSHIP SERVICES COMMITTEE
The mandate of the Membership Services Committee is to develop and implement effective marketing, mentoring, and membership programs to achieve Chamber retention and recruitment objectives.
The following is a summary of the key areas of focus for our Committee in 2019:
Membership Growth & Retention
The Steinbach Chamber of Commerce achieved significant growth over the last few years and experienced an increase in member engagement.
Over the course of the year, the Membership Services Committee has worked to develop key metrics by which the Chamber can track its growth and success. As well, MSC was tasked by the Board of Directors to lead the development of a membership survey to gain more insight in member needs, expectations and level of satisfaction with the Chamber.
Following the AGM, the Chamber of Commerce is launching a membership survey to gather the input of its members on the Chamber’s programming and gather information to help the Chamber shape its priorities for the future.
The Membership Services Committee collaborated with NRG Research Group, an independent professional Manitoba research company, to create and conduct the membership survey on behalf of the Chamber.
Electronic Payment Option
To simplify membership renewals and create administrative efficiencies, our committee researched different electronic payment options. We are happy to report that members will be able to pay for their memberships online moving forward.
In 2019, we again saw great attendance at our Mixers. This tells us that our membership is eager to engage and connect with each other, as well as learn about other businesses in our community.
This year’s Mixers were held at Keystone Agri-Motive, Roadhouse 52 and Sunshine Greenhouse/Chino’s Bistro. We are looking forward to the upcoming Mixer hosted by Red River College in November of 2019 and planning has begun for a great line-up in 2020.
Thank you to our Mixer hosts who collaborated with the Chamber and invested time, effort and money in offering a quality event to our membership. Also, thank you to CPHR, our 2019 Mixer Series Sponsor.
Business Excellence Awards
The Business Excellence Awards exist to recognize and celebrate the great work that is being done within our business community. This year, the Membership Committee formed a Nomination Committee comprised of six Chamber members from various backgrounds and independent of the Board and other committees. Their role was to generate a list of quality nominees from diverse businesses in Steinbach and area. This, to supplement the nominations that come from the public.
The Steinbach Chamber of Commerce strives to make the awards selection process as objective and transparent as possible. For all awards, with the exception of the Customer Service Award, which is determined by a public vote, an independent Selection Committee comprised of Steinbach Chamber members commits time to reviewing submissions and deliberating to determine award recipients.
The Membership Committee extends a big thank you to the Awards Nomination and Selection Committees for their engagement and enthusiasm.
In summary, we continue to look for ways to effectively support our members and add value to your Chamber membership. We encourage you to reach out to any one of us with your ideas, questions and comments.
Submitted by Committee Chair, Christine Beaumont - Paul Craft Financial Inc.
Samuel Teichroew, Vice-chair – Smith Neufeld Jodoin LLP
Brad Kehler – Network Media O/A mySteinbach.ca
Elvin Krahn – BDC Business Development Bank of Canada
Arden Koop – Peters Coop CPA
Noel Fillion - RBC
Amber Reitsma – Chamber Membership & Communications Coordinator
Michelle Bezditny – Chamber Executive Director
EASTMAN IMMIGRANT SERVICES (EIS)
Eastman Immigrant Services (EIS) has been assisting newcomers/immigrants settle into local communities for over fourteen years. We are currently funded by Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada, as well as receive funding for our employment program from Manitoba Provincial Government. We also received provincial funding to hire a third settlement worker, Trisha Lacanalio, this year.
EIS had some transition this year. Josie Fast resigned from her position in May and Gwen Reimer was hired as the new Program Director. This left the Volunteer and Integration position open and EIS Settlement Worker, Komal Mahant, has stepped into that role. Rene Shulz was hired as the second SWIS Worker (Settlement Workers In Schools). Our staff currently consists of nine full-time positions, one part-time position and three casual positions.
EIS assists newcomers settling in the Eastman region, making the transition to a new community a positive experience, both for the newcomer and the receiving community. We strive to empower newcomers and create welcoming communities where everyone is valued.
Employment continues to be a top priority for newcomers/immigrants in the Steinbach area. Our Employment facilitator assists many immigrants each year in the search for employment in our area. Clients receive help with writing resumes, cover letters and are given ideas for employment possibilities. Employers are encouraged to talk with EIS to see how they can benefit from our program.
Connecting With Community
Settlement Workers In School works together with school divisions in the area to better assist newcomer/immigrant children settle into their schools. The objective is to provide settlement information and referrals to education and community resources.
The project aims to assist families to better understand the education system. It also provides information and referrals to families on other aspects of life in Canada.
SWIS assists the school staff to see the school through the eyes of a newcomer and aims to increase awareness of newcomer issues.
Local Immigrant Partnership is a program of community-based partnerships that provide a collaborative framework to raise awareness around newcomers’ needs. This includes engaging a wide range of local actors in fostering welcoming communities; supporting community-level research and strategic planning; and improving accessibility and coordination of services that facilitate immigrant settlement and integration (settlement organizations and mainstream institutions).
Storytelling: Community Awareness
Over the past year, EIS has had the privilege to tell the stories of newcomers/immigrants in the area. These stories are available to read on our blog, The Story Of Us, on mysteinbach.ca.
MHV approached EIS asking if we would partner with them in a story project. Clients choose objects from their home country and use these objects to write about their arrival and settlement in Canada.These stories are showcased at the MHV during their Refugee theme.
Our volunteer program includes opportunities to be language buddies, settlement partners or to help with events that are planned as part of our integration program. Our language buddy program is especially popular. Currently we have a waiting list for language buddies.
Paul Frey, through the EIS Volunteer Program, is offering free workshops to all newcomers who wish to improve their language skills and cultural knowledge specific to the Canadian workplace.
This year, EIS hosted many events to assist newcomers/immigrants with information regarding their new home. These events included Tax Info workshops, Citizenship classes, International cooking classes, Family Swim Night, Family Literacy Classes, and Orientation to Canada workshops. Our Annual Christmas Party and Citizenship Ceremony at Cultures in the City had large numbers of community members and newcomers/immigrants celebrating together. The collaboration between newcomers/immigrants and community is an excellent example of creating a community where people are valued and community is strong.