Looking back on the last year, Chamber board chair, Shreeraj Patel, does it with hope, pride and honour.
“I can’t believe how fast the year has gone. But looking back for me, it’s unbelievable what we’ve navigated through as a city and as a community,” said Shreeraj. “I’m always so inspired by what goes on around me and in many ways, I think we all get that.”
A normal year would consist of our board chair hosting our events, networking at luncheons and meetups and getting out in the community– this year was different, but Shreeraj took it in stride.
“This past year everything changed, in a good way in many aspects,” said Shreeraj. “You gain energy from what’s happening around us. The Chamber magnifying these powerful stories of amazing entrepreneurs that have been, repositioning themselves, emerging even stronger. The blueprint is there, now we continue to let it grow.”
A blueprint is the cornerstone of any project. When things change, new ideas arise or mistakes happen, the blueprint gets updated. Shreeraj looks to what The Chamber has done this last year as a blueprint to the future.
“The Chamber has been a driver and magnifying the horsepower that’s needed on such key essential topics and has not shied away from the tough conversations,” said Shreeraj.
“I look at what we’ve been doing through our diversity, equity and inclusion work– it’s all part of the economic engine. As a Chamber we recognized this was a key moment and a master inflection point– we realized that we needed to run with it.”
Growing up as a child of colour, Shreeraj never would have imagined he would be on stage at a Chamber luncheon interviewing so many influential business leaders. He especially looks to his interview with Francine Bahati and Odette Bahati Bueckert from Black Owned Business Manitoba.
“As a colored kid, I never felt like I had the opportunity to champion and push for things. Now as an adult and as board chair I have had these opportunities to interview such a diverse group of leaders in our community,” said Shreeraj. “I can’t help but look to my opportunity to highlight two black female entrepreneurs like Francine and Odette. That interview was incredibly surreal and life-changing. I’m up there having the opportunity to champion these women and so many others. I feel unbelievably proud of what this chamber has done and for me to be able to be a small part of it as well.”
As Shreeraj’s time as board chair comes to a close, he is excited to continue to champion our community, including incoming board chair, Liz Choi.
“Liz is going to elevate our chamber to even greater heights and continue to inspire our community,” smiled Shreeraj. “Liz is a changemaker and a leader in this community. There are going to be things that are going to hit our city hard, which is why we’re going to need dynamic leaders like Liz Choi at the forefront.
“I’m so excited about what The Chamber is going to represent going forward because I think we are the chamber of the future.”
Join us at our Annual General Meeting on October 7, 2021, to send off our current board chair Shreeraj Patel in order to welcome Liz Choi, as our new chair.