The people who power your Chamber | Volunteer Awards 2017

October 6, 2017
Every year, The Chamber recognizes a force that makes our city function: volunteers. We’re deeply indebted to these five individuals, who were recognized at our 2017 Annual General Meeting.


Volunteer of the Year Award | Joelle Foster of Futurpreneur Canada

Joelle is known in our city as “Winnipeg’s Startup Mom.” She joined our board in 2015 where she is a passionate voice for entrepreneurs and start-ups – particularly younger members of our business community.

She has been instrumental in The Winnipeg Chamber’s efforts to enhance small business support. With Ibrahim Khan, she Co-chairs our Small Business Advisory Council, who help guide our programs and support.

The energy and effectiveness of the Small Business Forums are reflections of Joelle. She’s been pivotal in their success. She has been remarkable at introducing her Futurpreneur Canada clients to The Chamber movement. She’s also been an advocate for innovation at The Chamber, which we look forward to pursuing with her into the future.


Volunteer of the Year Award | Ibrahim “Obby” Khan of Shawarma Khan and Green Carrot Juice Co.

Ibrahim’s impact in our community matches his size. He lends his voice to many, many causes. He’s a particularly eloquent, engaged leader in our city’s Muslim community. At The Chamber, we’re looking forward to his hosting our upcoming small business panel with his trademark humour, energy and authenticity.

As Co-chair of the Small Business Council, he’s shaped our Forums and our programs – and he continues to advocate for deeper, nuanced support to Winnipeg’s small businesses. It’s a natural extension of the mentor role he’s stepped into for so many local entrepreneurs, despite how busy he is with his growing businesses.

On top of all this, he served as an Executive Member of the Board, giving heartfelt, frank advice in a year that saw critical issues on The Chamber’s radar.


Volunteer of the Year Award | Robert Lowdon of Robert Lowdon Photography

​Robert Lowdon has brought more people to our events than any member in Chamber history. We can say that confidently because his stunning photos have been such an asset in capturing the energy and diversity of our business community… and then sharing them with the world.

As past Co-chair of our Ambassadors program, Robert’s quiet intensity and thoughtfulness have informed our support to our small business members. He’s an example of an entrepreneurial artist who shares his mission, values and passion with those fortunate enough to call him a friend.


Distinguished Long Service Award | Philip Sheps of Pitblado Law

This award completes Phil’s trifecta of Chamber service, since he received the Volunteer of the Year Award in 1998 and the Director of the Year Award in 2002.

Phil has been a presence at The Winnipeg Chamber in so many ways

Along with partners at his firm, Phil was instrumental in creating the Pitblado Lounge in our conference centre. Recently he chaired our governance committee and navigated the complexities of the governance review process. We would not have known the difference between a “Bylaw” and “Bylaws” if not for Phil.

He was also our Chair from 2004 to 2005, where he joined the best leaders of this 144-year-old association in putting members’ needs before his own. He also led efforts to restore our city’s image. Most Winnipeggers agree the last few years have seen a reawakening of civic pride. Many of the seeds of this flowering were planted by Phil Sheps.

Phil is the type of leader and volunteer who requires only one call to action. And he steps up. That’s despite how busy he is with a practice that spans the continent. It’s a testament to how much Phil cares about this city and our Chamber


Director of the Year | Scott Sissons of KPMG

As our Treasurer, Executive Board member, Chair of the Finance and Audit Committee and a member of our Governance Review Committee, Scott is an authentic, engaged pillar of the Chamber’s member-driven leadership.

His work as Treasurer can be characterized in one word: partnership. He’s always available for Chamber management to seek advice and guidance. He was the key player in strengthening many of our financial governance tools. This year marked one of the strongest performances in recent Chamber history in no small part due to Scott’s leadership as treasurer.

Despite his heavy meeting schedule and governance workload, he is a regular presence at Chamber events – and a regular supporter through KPMG