For Brian Leong, being president of the Cloverdale District Chamber of Commerce has been a labour of love.
As his one-year term draws to a close, Leong shared his thoughts with the Cloverdale Reporter about his term as president, his love of Cloverdale, and some events the Chamber is holding.
“I’ve loved my time on the board and as president,” Leong said. “It’s a great organization. It’s still a grassroots organization, but it could be bigger and it could have a greater impact on local businesses.”
Leong’s been a member of the Chamber for five years, sat on the board for three years, and was president for this past year.
“One thing I didn’t get to do was to expand the membership area,” he said, adding that Sullivan and other potential areas could benefit from being part of the Cloverdale District Chamber of Commerce. “One of our goals was to raise awareness with local businesses, but also to increase our reach in the Fraser Valley.”
Leong said the highlight of his time as president was just simply getting to know people.
“I enjoyed meeting with and talking to our members. They are all humble, gracious, helpful, and courteous people.” He said their openness and friendliness was refreshing. “Everyone is so welcoming. At our luncheons, all are made to feel welcome.”
Leong added the CDCC has come along way since Bill Reid passed away. Reid, known by many as Mr. Cloverdale, was the backbone of the CDCC for many years and a pillar of the community.
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“When Bill passed away, the Chamber struggled for a bit. The idea of the Chamber, and what it was then, kind of passed with him, so we’ve worked hard to rebuild it.”
Leong said part of that process included introducing the Clovie Awards. The awards recognize local businesses for outstanding achievement.
“The Clovies have been great for the community and they’ve been very well received. But the biggest thing for me is just the energy in the room that night. Everyone is so excited. It’s such a big deal for the community.”
The fifth annual Clovie Awards will be handed out in April, 2020.
Leong also noted the Chamber is hosting an all-candidates meeting Sept. 25. The meeting will include all politicians for the Cloverdale-area riding in the next federal election. That meeting will take place at Kwantlen Polytechnic University, Cloverdale Campus, starting at 7 p.m. Attendees must register (see link below).
“We do these meetings because they are very helpful to the community. We did an all-candidates meeting for the municipal election last year. KPU Campus is a great venue and the meeting was very well attended and well-received. It’s great for the community to get access to politicians, to learn the issues, and to hear answers to their questions.”
Leong said the Chamber is also turning 70 this year. Founded as the Cloverdale Board of Trade in 1949, the Chamber will recognize its seven-decade run at a luncheon Oct. 8.
The Chamber recently held its AGM (Sept. 10) too, and named 11 new members to its board of directors: Nicole Bennett, Jen Cowden, Tyler Dennis, Kristy Hill, Cam Leighton, Brian Moukperian, Paul Orazietti, Dean Picketts, Rebecca Smith, Coreen Windbiel, and Michael Worth. Nine of the 11 nominees were sworn in at the AGM.
Leong said he loves being a part of the Chamber of Commerce and he loves Cloverdale.
“I’m a big Cloverdale advocate. I’ve lived here for 12 years now. It has its own personality and it’s growing and thriving. Cloverdale is the last community unto itself. It has a great history, stretching back to 1870, and a bright future for all its residents.”