Taking care of business

Story by Lorna Hunt

Fall 2023

airdrielife is proud of its ongoing relationship with the Airdrie Chamber of Commerce in support of local businesses. With the Chamber’s 50th anniversary coinciding with airdrielife’s 20th year of publishing, the two organizations are collaborating on a series of articles highlighting several Chamber members and their contributions to the Airdrie business community over the years.

In this, the second of three articles in this series, Lorna Hunt, Executive Director of the Chamber from 1999-2017, shares some of her favourite experiences from that time.

The Airdrie Chamber of Commerce is celebrating 50 years and I appreciated the opportunity to serve as executive director for eighteen-and-a-half years. I would like to share some memories of my time with the chamber…

My position evolved over the years as the Airdrie Chamber collaborated for events and programs with Airdrie Economic Development, Community Futures Centre West, Bow Valley College and the Alberta Chambers of Commerce.

The growth of our events and membership programs were the results of the collaboration of all our board members and my staff members, Marie Lauer and Ashley Scott.

A couple highlights were our provincial awards – Alberta Chamber of the Year in 2005 and Alberta Chamber Executive of the Year in 2007.

I cannot begin to thank all the volunteers that I have had the pleasure of working with over the years. Our volunteer board members provided vision and leadership and so many volunteer hours.

I have great memories of the breakfast meetings with the volunteers for our Moonlight Madness and Airdrie Home & Lifestyle Show. And I learned it’s always a good idea to have actual golfers on your Golf Tournament committees.

I could always rely on new and returning volunteers to help organize our largest event – the Home & Lifestyle Show. The name and location changed but our mandate never did. We are still the largest home and lifestyle show in the area, with more than 150 exhibitors, along with entertainment on our main stage.

Our Lunch N Learns and Connect @ Lunch increased in attendance and sponsorship. At both these events, the self introductions and welcome handshakes were important as the Airdrie business committee grew. We launched the State of the City Address Luncheons and added State of the County Address Luncheon and Alberta Economic Outlook breakfasts.

When we introduced our Business After Hours event, our hosts and exhibitors appreciated the uniqueness of these networking events. These events continue as informal opportunities to meet potential customers, friends and business associates along with a tour of the host business.

Our collaboration and programs with Airdrie Economic Development and Community Futures Centre West grew during Small Business Week as we celebrated entrepreneurship. We were able to expand our Grand Opening Package and I appreciated every invitation to attend ribbon cutting events.

With support of City of Airdrie and the Bert Church Theatre management, the Airdrie Chamber continued the tradition of hosting election forums for all levels of government with a fair and unbiased platform.

The Airdrie Chamber is committed to community growth and partnerships and I appreciated the opportunity to represent the Airdrie Chamber on these amazing committees during my term:

– Airdrie Business Awards Program
– Airdrie Business Resource Partnership
– Airdrie Employer Support Group
– Airdrie Festival of lights
– Think Airdrie
– Tourism Airdrie
– Volunteer Airdrie
– Welcoming Airdrie
– SMARTstart Entrepreneur Training Program

The Airdrie Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and I value business relationships and the success of the Airdrie business community and Airdrie community associations. Your network is where you get support and information, and where you can develop relationships that will be valuable to you as a business person.

I’m very proud to have left an organization poised to continue impacting the Airdrie and area business community.