The Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce inducted the first members into its Business Hall of Fame in a ceremony which saw nearly 500 people attend in their finest formal wear.
Held on Oct. 5 at the Victoria Conference Centre and presented by RBC, the event came after more than a year of planning and delays through the pandemic. It featured inspirational stories of triumph and accomplishment, each met with applause and even some tears for the first five inductees.
“This has been an amazing night. We’ve been anticipating this for so long and it truly delivered for everyone who was here,” said chamber chair John Wilson in a release. “Our business community was tested by the pandemic. I’m not going to lie — it was tough for a lot of people. So having a celebration of business in Greater Victoria was cathartic. It’s so good to be together with the many people who have played key roles in the development of our region’s economy. These are legends who deserve to be honoured so they can inspire all of us going forward.”
Chief Robert Sam, Helen Beirnes, Clare Copeland, Ron Lou-Poy, and the only living inductee Ian Maxwell were chosen by an independent selection committee as the first inductees. Previous chamber Lifetime Achievement Business Award recipients were also inducted into the hall of fame.
“The Business Hall of Fame was an idea I had to create a proper avenue to preserve and honour the work of leaders who paved the way for so many businesses to be successful in Greater Victoria,” chamber CEO Bruce Williams said. “We built on that idea with amazing insight from our Chamber Champions and direction from our board. I can’t say enough about the work chamber staff has done to make this night happen. We’re truly grateful for everyone on the events team, our volunteers and RBC for presenting the event and making the inaugural Business Hall of Fame gala so successful.”
The event will be held every second year moving forward, with work already underway for the 2024 ceremony. Inductees will be selected for showing regional leadership, insightful vision and a sustained and significant commitment to the prosperity of the region, according to the release. The process to select inductees recognizes and respects the diversity of leaders who helped build businesses in Greater Victoria over the decades.
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