Karen Bresler is a Cowichan Valley lawyer and a director on the Chamber of Commerce board of directors. (Alec Wheeler photo)

Karen Bresler is a Cowichan Valley lawyer and a director on the Chamber of Commerce board of directors. (Alec Wheeler photo)

From Stranger to board director: a year in the life of a Chamber member

When Karen Bresler relocated from Vancouver to the Cowichan Valley last May, she didn’t know a single person in town.

After unsuccessfully attempting to talk herself out of attending a Chamber Mixer at Alderlea Farm Café, she broke out her GPS, found her way out to the Glenora-based farm and has not looked back since.

“The Chamber staff and the network of members were instantly welcoming,” recalls Bresler, a lawyer who practices as KBL Law Corporation.

“It took no time at all for me to feel like I was part of the business community here. It’s something I hadn’t experienced before.

“A year later, my business is thriving, I’ve developed an amazing network of friends and colleagues, and I just feel so privileged to call the Cowichan Valley my home. I am also volunteering as a board director with the Chamber, which is such a great experience because it gives me the opportunity to give back to the community that has made me feel so welcome.”

With more than 560 members, the Duncan Cowichan Chamber of Commerce is the region’s largest business networking organization, delivering more than 50 professional development events annually and advocating on behalf of Cowichan businesses.

Later this month, the Chamber will be submitting and partnering on three policies at the BC Chamber AGM. The first of these policies will be a recommendation that WorkSafe BC return a portion of the $6.4 billion in overfunding to employers who pay into the fund.

Further recommendations will see WorkSafe BC creating a reasonable funding ratio and a rebate policy that triggers an automatic refund to employers when the surplus exceeds the fair funding level.

“Representing the interests of the business community by advocating at a provincial level is some of the most important work we do in supporting our members,” says Chamber President Chris Duncan.

“We collaborate with other Chambers on policy that results in positive change and generates lasting impact for businesses in our region.”

May is Membership Month with the Duncan Cowichan Chamber of Commerce. To encourage businesses that might be on the fence about membership, the Chamber is offering some great incentives for new members, including 14 months for the price of 12 for the first year of membership and a free Enhanced Business Directory Listing on the Chamber’s webpage. To find out more visit www.duncancc.bc.ca or phone 250-748-1111.

The Duncan Cowichan Chamber of Commerce has been representing business since 1908. The Chamber provides professional development, networking, cost savings and advocacy for more than 560 members and delivers more than 50 events annually. The Chamber also operates the Cowichan Regional Visitor Centre that serves more than 25,000 visitors annually, providing information and referrals for all that Cowichan has to offer.