This Year’s Business Summit: Resilience and Reinvention

The Whitby Chamber of Commerce Business Summit’s theme for 2022 was Resilience and Reinvention. This annual summit is open to all members and non-members of the business community. Here are some of the key talking points throughout the day that I gathered from the speakers.

Future ReadyBrion Henry, BDO Canada, and Dennis Croft, Durham College, led the first session about being a “Future-Ready” business.  What does that term mean? Essentially, it means a proactive, strategic readiness to scale capabilities relevant to predicted trends.  As a business leader, ask yourself:

  • You can’t scale your business fast enough if you do everything on your own.  Are you surrounded by the people who will drive your business forward?
  • What is your customer experience differentiator?
  • Do you have the technology stack and/or physical locations for growth?
  • Are your revenue streams changing and are new ones being created?
  • Are you able to source or change suppliers quickly?
  • Do you have diversity among key leaders within your company?
  • Are competitors reinventing themselves and entering your market?

Business Services ReinventedAsif Khan’s company is Ground Level Insights. It represents a new type of data analytics company that can make sense of large quantities of data (i.e. terabytes of data) to provide their clients with customer insights never considered possible years ago. Today, nearly everyone has a cell phone with apps.  These devices offer many consumer insights.  If a company is asking the right questions, this company can gain consumer insights never understood before.

The Business Panel discussed personal, business and professional resilience & reinvention – sharing their stories & experiences. Ask yourself: how well do you weave resilience in your business service offerings? A key message for me is to be ready for economic and societal circumstances to change constantly.  Rhonda Jessup mentioned that public libraries have been facing an existential threat for the past 30 years, yet libraries continue to be in communities.  Check out your local library. Their services have adapted and modernized over time. They’re getting into offering voice recording spaces for podcasts and some have TikTok accounts.

Cultural Resilience – Societal and cultural changes effect businesses. Mark Harrison spoke to his very personal experiences and his reinvention. He  spoke about creating equity in workplaces. Equity may require businesses to change their processes and these changes could get uncomfortable.  When companies don’t change their processes, demand change from them.  He used the example of Gary Bettman’s, Commissioner of the National Hockey League (NHL), lack of effort in creating a women’s national hockey league, but provided examples of many individuals doing it right – setting examples for us to ponder and emulate.

The conversation continued in terms of cultural resilience and how reinventing your business includes considering all of your customers and employees.  Ask yourself if your policies, strategies and business plans include equity.  Great examples and context setting for all of us to operationalize, thanks to Allison Hector – Alexander.

Concluding Resilience Thought – A key question to ask yourself as a business leader: what can you do so that a person can participate safely in your workplace?


– Daniel Van Kampen is the Economic Development Officer for the Town of Whitby and staff resource for the Chamber’s Advocacy Committee