New blood for New West Chamber
Christine Conway came in from the cold and is now hot about the future of business in New Westminster.
The financial planner with Braun Financial Services who moved from Winnipeg in 2009 was recently elected as New Westminster Chamber of Commerce president.
“I just fell in love with the community feel here in New Westminster. You feel pretty connected,” said Conway, 29.
In 2010, wanting to connect with the business community in the city, she gave the chamber offices a call and said, “I’m available. If I can assist in any way I’d be happy to help.”
“One thing led to another and I found myself on the board,” said Conway, who served the previous year as the organization’s vice-president. “It’s been a pretty fast rise.
“I’ve got a fresh young energy I can bring to it, a different perspective. I’m passionate about the collaborative spirit and open dialogue, then we can drive forward.”
She sees advocacy for its members as one of the chamber’s most important roles.
“We need to make sure we’re having that conversation with them on a regular basis to make sure we’re representing them properly,” she said.
Conway and the chamber are looking to identify the areas of New Westminster that are developing, and to increase the collaboration of other organizations such as the Downtown Business Improvement Area and the Fraser River Discovery Centre.
“We would like to get the most coverage possible to promote business in the city. New Westminster is experiencing growth, there’s a a lot of building taking place. There’s a lot of people wanting to do business in New Westminster.”
Conway said the chamber needs to create a culture where the members are able to promote each other to the other members.”
She’d like to see the chamber showcase what the city does well and to expand its social media presence.
New Westminster has a few advantages that business should be able to take advantage of, she said. The city also has several levels of business from industrial to small mom and pops on top of its accessibility.
“You can get here comfortably from almost anywhere in the region quite quickly,” said Conway. “Some see traffic as the negative, but then you’ve got the big business that needs traffic to stay viable. A lot of small businesses make doing business more personable.”
Conway takes over from past president Andrew Hopkins, while the new vice president is NewsLeader publisher Jean Hincks.