During Small Business Week, the Whitby Chamber of Commerce (WCC) welcomed more than 160 guests to examine brands on a global, national and local level at The Business Summit 2018.
The fifth annual event, sponsored by Collins Barrow Durham, featured a jam-packed agenda of speakers including rebranding mastermind Ron Craig and Co-President and COO of Steelworks Design Inc. Rhonda Barnet.
In addition to transforming the Peterborough-based company into a full-service research and development firm, Barnet is the first woman Chair of the National Board of the Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters.
“Be genuine and put yourself out there,” said Barnet. “If you are passionate people will want to hear your story.”
Shining a light on local business was the Small Business, Big Brands Panel moderated by Whitby Chamber Board member, Matthew Mackenzie. Panellists, including Leanne Foster, Trafalgar Castle; Michelle Peer, 2Co. Design Inc.; Benito Suppa, Durham Escape Rooms; and Jeff Talmey, Town Brewery, discussed the struggles and successes they faced while building outstanding local brands.
“Don’t be afraid to look at what your industry is doing and run in the opposite direction,” advised Suppa.
Throughout the day, guests had the opportunity to discover and connect with 22 local exhibitors positioned around the room as well as network over the Power Hour sponsored by People & Places Inc.
Wrapping up the day of learning was keynote speaker, Jeff Deline. As Vice President of Global Partnerships at Maple Leafs Sports & Entertainment (MLSE), Deline brings 21 years of sports sales, marketing and leadership experience to MLSE, having begun his career as an intern. In 2012, he was recognized by the Globe and Mail as one of the “5 To Watch,” which recognizes five of the top sports marketing leaders in Canada.
During the summit, Deline explained how strategic partnerships need to be authentic and integrated, drive sales, and build loyalty to be successful.
“Impressions don’t matter if they don’t make an impression,” said Deline. “Don’t throw a blanket over Durham Region.”
Supported by many sponsors and volunteers, The Business Summit is one the WCC’s four signature events positioned to inform and inspire members and the community.
“Chambers of Commerce do great work,” said Barnet. “There are connections to be made here today that could change your success trajectory.”