2018/2019 Volunteer Winners and Q+A

September 30, 2019

At our AGM on October 4, we recognized a force that makes our city function: volunteers. Thank you to this year’s Volunteer of the Year recipients for their continued support and for their dedicated service to The Chamber.

The winners are:

  1. Wadood Ibrahim – Distinguished Long Service 
  2. Shandra Czarnecki – Director of the Year
  3. Alastair Gillespie – Volunteer of the Year
  4. Scott Angus – Volunteer of the Year
  5. Kyle Romaniuk – Volunteer of the Year

We thought it would be fun to learn a little bit more about each volunteer so we asked them each a series of questions.

1. What is your business and how long have you been a member of The Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce?

Wadood: Protegra is an innovative community of software-driven businesses. Protegra has been a member of the Winnipeg Chamber for over 20 years.

Shandra: Partner at MLT Aikins LLP in our labour and employment group. I don’t know how long we have been a member.

AlastairCoffee News Winnipeg, We print and distribute our paper each week across the city
Chamber member 12 years now.

ScottHP Change. Just completed my first year as a member. But I have been involved with The Chamber over the past few years with other organizations.

Kyle: Vantage Studios and since 2012.

2. Give a short overview of your volunteer activity with The Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce in 2018/19.

Wadood: I am particularly proud of my involvement in the Chamber members insights innovation games and the subsequent strategic planning process.

Shandra: Proud to be part of a committed group of directors who continuously seek to improve Winnipeg generally and the business climate in particular.​

Alastair: I have been an ambassador for 5 years I believe. Huge supporter of the insurance program. I enjoy having a Coffee News booth at business mixers etc.

ScottThe Chamber was committed to growing their High School Program that engages students across Winnipeg and Manitoba. HP Change works to provide career and community experiences to students – so the fit was so perfect to work on a project like this. During the 2018/19 year, we curated two full day experiences for students during the State of the Province and State of the City events hosted by The Chamber. Around 100 students at each event participated, discussed, contributed, and ‘wow’d’ us. These days aimed to inspire, empower, and activate these young people who are passionate about making a difference in our communities. It also connected Chamber members / leaders in our city with the drive and intelligence of these incredible students – and vice versa. It was amazing to see.

Kyle: Volunteer activity in general – Board member with Winnipeg Chamber 2014-2017 (3 years), Board member with Manitoba Chamber 2012 to present (8th year), Board member with the Canadian Chamber 2018 to present (2nd year), Board member with the Dream Factory 2009 to present (11th year)

3. What motivates you to volunteer your time with The Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce?

Wadood: I believe that the Winnipeg Chamber plays a critical role not only to help its members succeed but more importantly, it contributes to the well-being and prosperity of our community by including and collaborating with all stakeholders of our community including all levels of government, non-profit sector, and educational institutions.

Shandra: The opportunity to contribute to an organization that is important to the well-being (economic and otherwise) of Winnipeg and Manitoba and the opportunity it offers for enhanced insight into how I can better contribute (as counsel and otherwise) to the business community.

Alastair: I enjoy the atmosphere at most events, being seen as an active member and networking is
Always enjoyable

Scott: The Chamber is where so many meaningful connections are formed – one’s that enrich not only our businesses, but our lives. To give students the opportunity to meet and engage with individuals in our business community is so powerful and has impacts for years to come. That impact is our hope with creating a robust offering to students – and why I volunteer with The Chamber.

Kyle: I believe in building a better Winnipeg (and Canada) for future generations. The Chamber can make such a big impact on our economy and our community for many years to come. All of my volunteer efforts not only focus on organizations with a great purpose, but they also need some form of brand and marketing guidance to help elevate their brand profile and encourage sustainable growth. With over 25 years of marketing services so far in my professional career I am happy to offer my guidance in any way that I can.

4. What was your favourite Chamber event that you attended in 2018/19?

Wadood: I don’t really have one favourite event. I like the luncheons.

Shandra: Michelle Obama and Barack Obama.

Alastair: Having Barack Obama was huge for the Chamber, a brilliant night

Scott: The sessions we were able to create for young people at SOTP / SOTC were so well received, and gave us so much momentum to carry into future years. The amazing conversations with motivated and empowered students at these events made SOTP / SOTC not only my favourite Chamber events of the year, but two highlights of the entire year.

Kyle: Livable Cities in the 21st Century

5.What are your thoughts on being recognized by The Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce with this award?

 ​Wadood: This was not expected and is an honour. As a volunteer board member, serving on the board and its initiatives is a privilege that I am glad I had the opportunity to be part of the Winnipeg Chamber journey and was able to contribute.

Shandra: Why me? The Board is comprised of an outstanding group of individuals with whom I am privileged to work.​

Alastair: Actually I feel very honoured to be selected. We have many very active Chamber members who give of themselves consistently, and involved on many levels, so to be selected is very gratifying.

Scott: It’s incredibly humbling and an honour. And honestly, surprised. I actually did not even consider this volunteer work as it was a privilege and such a blast being able to build a foundation for our young people to be more connected to The Chamber and their city.

Kyle: Was a complete surprise, but humbled and so proud to be recognized.