Chamber looks towards the future 

Advocacy, training and engagement form base of new strategic direction

The Olympics may be on the books and a huge success, but the Whistler Chamber of Commerce is not sitting on its laurels.

This week Fiona Famulak, president of the chamber, said the business group is refocusing its strategic direction after reviewing the survey results from its membership.

An executive summary with the findings was sent out to the chamber's members last Thursday.

Advocacy, business support and community engagement are the three things that businesses want to the chamber to zero in on over the next three years.

Famulak added she is "absolutely delighted" with the quality of the survey results, which saw 190 of the chamber's 800 members submitting their feedback.

"We all agree this is the beginning of a really exciting time for the business community in Whistler because we have an opportunity to work more closely at the grass roots level and partner level and Sea to Sky level," said Famulak.

"We knew that post-Games, like many other organizations in Whistler, we had to review our strategic direction to ensure we had a clear direction for the future and that we understood our membership needs."

The responses from the survey are rich in data and will be used to direct the chamber until 2013, she said.

Among the different responses, business owners said they have a driving passion for the Whistler lifestyle and that they recognize the uniqueness and strengths of the Whistler brand.

"You recognize that the business community has the frontline responsibility of delivering our unique Whistler brand experience to visitors and residents," read the executive summary. "With uncontrollable factors (global economy, exchange rate, global warming, etc.) negatively impacting your business today, you are positive about the future and want to move your business forward."

Now that the results are in, Famulak is wasting no time putting them into action.

Business owners can expect to see the new direction implemented by next Wednesday, she said, when the chamber hosts its monthly luncheon at The Bearfoot Bistro.

"We have taken the input from the survey to heart," she said.

At the June 23 luncheon members will hear from some of Whistler's most successful business leaders on the importance of finding a mentor, handling challenges creatively, and why the future of business in Whistler is exciting.

Over the next few months the chamber will continue to roll out on-the-ground actions in response to the new strategic direction.

Among other things, Famulak is planning to have more Whistler-specific training programs and more networking opportunities. The chamber also will be getting information from its membership regularly so that it can take a position on important issues that impact local businesses.

Famulak added that the strategic direction is just the beginning of the chamber's post-Olympic phase.

"The input process we used to collect information from our members is not the end product, it is just the beginning," she said. "That door will not be closed."

The executive summary should be posted on the chamber's website,, sometime next week.



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