The St. Albert and District Chamber of Commerce is gearing up for its annual Business Excellence Week celebrations, which start this year with a [email protected] event next week.
"It’s a time where we celebrate small businesses and recognize the hard work and dedication of all the businesses in our community,” said Sherry Nichol, the Chamber's executive director, about the purpose of Business Excellence Week.
"I think it’s especially important this year because of everything we’ve gone through in the last two to celebrate people’s perseverance and their struggles and to celebrate their successes.”
On Oct. 12, Chamber members and non-members alike will have the opportunity, with the purchase of a ticket, to enjoy a buffet lunch at the Sturgeon Valley Golf and Country Club, and hear a curated list of business do's and don'ts from Heather Thomson, the executive director of the University of Alberta's School of Retailing.
“We’re very excited to have [Thomson]. She’s a fantastic speaker, lots of insight and very engaging,” Nichol said.
Thomson's presentation, 13 Ways to Kill Your Commerce, will give local business owners an opportunity to compare and contrast their own operations to some of the new data and ideas in the business world.
"It’s a look at the ways people are sabotaging their own success in the business community," Thomson said in an interview.
"We go through some of the trends and things that have happened since COVID, things that have been happening over the last two decades, and this presentation is meant to highlight and give people some real life things of what they can implement in their business for little to no cost.”
Thomson's keynote presentation has gone through some major changes over the past few years, she said.
"In my 2019 presentation I said, ‘Don’t compete with Amazon, you’ll lose.’ I have to eat a humble pie with that one, because it’s not true at all anymore,” she said.
“Something I want to get across is that the world of business has shifted so much in the last three years, and it’s this notion of democratizing digital that’s changed the game. The points that I was bringing up in 2019, they were softly there … but because of the pandemic, it really hammered home how important a digital infrastructure is, how important a beautiful aesthetically pleasing physical space is — it’s really hammered home some of those elements.”
Outside of her role with the University of Alberta, Thomson also works as a consultant with a firm called 13 Ways Inc., which was started by former Conservative MLA for Battle River-Wainwright Doug Griffiths after the success of his book 13 Ways to Kill Your Community.
Griffiths, a four-term MLA, was first elected in 2002 and resigned in 2015 while Jim Prentice was premier.
Other events for Business Excellence Week include a buffet breakfast at the St. Albert Rotary Club on Oct. 14; another buffet breakfast on Oct. 19, which will feature a panel discussion between Thomson and a local business owner; and an awards night at the Arden Theatre on Oct. 20, where the Chamber will announce the winners of this year's Business Excellence Awards.
“The Chamber has 100 nominees this year in nine various categories," Nichol said.
"We’re very excited, and very pleased.”