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Ep. 3 with John Hopkins & Amanda Baker from the Regina Chamber of Commerce

By August 26, 2018July 30th, 2023No Comments

Episode Guide

Episode #125 with Kay Peacy from Slick Business

Episode #124 with Marc Toews from Gateway Web AR

Episode #123 with Sherry Pratt from Sherry Pratt Health Coaching

Episode #122 with Aaron Strauss from Cache Tactical Supply

Episode #121 with Cedric Delavaud from Ludoland Regina

Episode #120 with Jasmine Patterson from BDC

Episode #119 with Jeff Harmel from Realty Executives Diversified Realty

Episode #118 with Shahzad Khoja from IBITS

Episode #117 with Kathy Sabo from QC Gifts

Episode #116 with Andrea Lo from the Toronto Dating Hub

Episode #115 with Karey Kapell from Next Level Coaching

Episode #114 with Joel Sopp from Socially Acceptable Marketing

Episode #113 with Annabel Townsend from The Penny University

Episode #112 with Cathlyn Melvin about her Tedx Coaching

Episode #111 with Corey Liebrecht from Zippity Zip Courier

Episode #110 with Quinn Nikulak from Kustom Kitties Canada

Episode #109 with Tess Boehm from Totally Tess Tradeshows

Episode #108 with Shane Chapman from the Ultimate Deck Shop

Episode #107 with Dan Celis from Tommy's Speakeatery

Episode #106 with Ann Corcoran

Episode #105 with Louise Yates & Jennifer Berg

Episode #104 with Jule Gilchrist from Cuppa'T Teas

Episode #103 with Annika Mang from TrailCollectiv

Episode #102 with Ronley Arnold from OSI-CAN Sask

Episode #101 with Susan Robertson from Susan Robertson Pottery

Episode #100 with Victor Roman from the South Saskatchewan Community Foundation

Episode #99 with Faith Alyssa Peter from Stressed Out Mamas

Episode #98 with Leah Mazur from Carousel Creative

Episode #97 with Carmen Johanson and Kimberley Baldwin from PayTrail

Episode #96 with Meg Casebolt from Love at First Search

Episode #95 with Karen Kobussen from CanBall Games

Episode #94 with Wilson Acton

Episode #93 with Carla Browne from Real Property Management Canada

Episode #92 with Donna Ziegler from South Sask Community Foundation

Episode #91 with Scott Love from Store to Door Canada

Episode #90 with Mark Heise from Rebellion Brewing

Episode #89 with Brendan McGuire from Affinity Credit Union

Episode #88 with Tyler Clark form Prairie Benefits Solutions

Episode #87 with Craig Reed from Virtus Group

Episode #86 with Daria Malin from Boost Strategic Coaching

Episode #85 with Bill Thorn form Regina Humane Society

Episode #84 with John Vuong from Local SEO Search

Episode #83 with Linda Boryski from Saskatoon PhysioYoga

Episode #82 with Tracey Poffenroth Prato from RAD Talk with Tracey

Episode #81 with Janet Kotylak, YWCA Woman of Distinction

Episode #80 Your Ultimate Guide to Get Found with Local SEO

Episode #79 with Jennifer Fox from Auto Electric Service

Episode #78 with Janet Akre and Susan Robertson from River & Rail ArtVenture

Episode #77 with Karen Smith from Better Business Bureau of Saskatchewan

Episode #76 with Julie Naismith from SubThreshold Training

Episode #75 with Josh Haugerud from Regina Folk Festival

Episode #74 with Barb Stefanyshyn-Cote from Black Fox Farm and Distillery

Episode #73 with Cory Furman from Furman IP

Episode #72 with Tracy Archer from Knight Archer Insurance

Episode #71 with Tim Nickel from Fifth Business Consulting

Episode #70 with Taylor Weisgerber from Spartan Mechanical

Episode #69 with Lisa McIntyre from The Optical Shoppe

Episode #68 with Santa Claus

Episode #67 with Kait Waugh from Fat Plant Farm

Episode #66 with Natasha Vandenhurk from Three Farmers Foods

Episode #65 with Dianne Beauchamp from PuroClean Regina

Episode #64 with Adele Buettner from AgriBiz Communications

Episode #63 with Mary Weimer from Conexus Credit Union

Episode #62 with Winter Fedyk from Silo Strategy

Episode #61 with Heather Day from C.S. Day Transport & YWCA Women of Distinction Nominee

Episode #60 with Amber Goodwyn from Regina Folk Festival & YWCA Women of Distinction Nominee

Episode #59 with Cari Bode from South Country Equipment & YWCA Women of Distinction Nominee

Episode #58 with Donna-Rae Crooks from Brain Snacks Co & YWCA Women of Distinction Nominee

Episode #57 with Michelle Grodecki from  Deaf Crows Collective & YWCA Women of Distinction Nominee

Episode #56 with Sarah Tkachuk from KPMG & YWCA Women of Distinction Nominee

Episode #55 with Dr. Sharon Leibel, YWCA Women of Distinction Nominee

Episode #54 with Doug Yaremko from Paddock Wood Brewery

Episode #53 with Madhu Kumar, YWCA Women of Distinction Nominee

Episode #52 with Eric Oelson from Mortise & Tenon Store

Episode #51 with Kim Korven from The Gentle Way Divorce

Episode #50 with Erin Vaughan from Kinetic Auto Service

Episode #49 with Lisa Brice from Brice Photography

Episode #48 with Colleen Strauch from Luther College at U of R

Episode #47 with Doug Pattison from Pattison Health

Episode #46 with Erika Gayle from Erika Gayle Photography

Episode #45 with Carly Patryluk from House of Paws Pet Boutique

Episode #44 with Erin Caleval from Erin & Associates Insurance

Episode #43 Part #2 with Nikki Jacquin from Nikki's Portraits of Childhood

Episode #43 Part #1 with Jess Tiefenbach from Stay n Play Parenting

Episode #42 with Nadene Joy from Nadene Joy

Episode #41 with Richard Arockiasamy and Sanjana Kumta from GreenMache

Episode #40 with Jodi Barrett, CEO of Kettlebell Kickboxing Canada

Episode #39 with Erin Kinder from Kinder Surprises Antiques

Episode #38 with Tanner Goetz from Munz Media

Episode #37 with Jessica McNaughton from memoryKPR

Episode #36 with Wendy Turner-Larsen from Turner Larsen Consulting

Episode #35 with Jill Poulton from Transformational Leadership

Episode #34 with Janci Templeman from Walker Wakefield

Episode #33 with Denise Anderson, Author, Divorce in a Small Town

Episode #32 with Anne Gibbons from Gibbons Travel Consulting

Episode #31 with Charlene SanJenko from PowHERhouse Media

Episode #30 with Dr. Vianne Timmons from the University of Regina

Episode #29 with Margaret Kisikaw-Piyesis, from All Nations Hope Network & YWCA Woman of Distinction

Episode 28 with Dr. Renatta Varma, Vitreo-Retinal Surgeon & YWCA Woman of Distinction

Episode 27 with Jo-Anne Dusel from PATHS & YWCA Woman of Distinction

Episode 26 with Dr. Emily Bamforth from Royal Saskatchewan Museum & YWCA Woman of Distinction

Episode 25 with Nigora Yulyakshieva from City of Regina & YWCA Woman of Distinction

Episode 24 with Pam Klein from Phoenix Group & Miriam Johnson from Saskatchewan Roughriders

Episode 23 with Gr. 5 & 6 Students from Argyle School

Episode 22 with Tiffany Wolf from Helium Communications

Episode 21 with Jeff Kinash from Peregrine Farm

Episode 20 with Charlene Oancia from Springer & Oake

Episode 19 with Dan Benesh from BarterPay Regina

Episode 18 with Prabha Mitchell from WESK

Episode 17 with Terrie Dunand from REMAX Crown Real Estate

Episode 16 with Kim Zacaruk from Stone’s Throw Coffee Collective

Episode 15 with Luke Rossmo from Luke Rossmo Music and Gareth Bawden from

Episode 14 with Kristen Hill from Kristen’s Cultures

Episode 13 with Cyndie Knorr from Cynergy Coaching

Episode 12 with Paul Burch from EchoLotto Inc.

Episode 11 with Rea Faber from Amaranth Designs

Episode 10 with Brandi Good from BLG Business Solutions

Episode 9 with Dr. Gina Grandy from Hill | Levene Schools of Business

Episode 8 with Candyce Fiessel from The Style Academy and Shear Escape Salon and Spa

Episode 7 with Michelle Strawford from Bella Chic Fashion & Decor and What Women Want

Episode 6 with Jordan McFarlen from  Conexus Business Incubator

Episode 5 with Cheryl Giambattista from Health Coach Cheryl

Episode 4 with Joanne Frederick from Prairie Centre for Mindfulness

Episode 3 with John Hopkins and Amanda Baker, Regina Chamber of Commerce

Episode 2 with Christina Carlson from Queen City Collective

Episode 1 with Sherry Knight from Dimension 11

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In Episode #3 we had the great pleasure of meeting John Hopkins, Executive Director and Amanda Baker, Membership Coordinator from the Regina & District Chamber of Commerce to discuss the challenges facing local businesses and the Chamber’s role in supporting economic growth in our community.

*Due to technical difficulties, only the podcast is available.


Barb McGrath 0:00
Welcome to Night views The Secret Life of entrepreneurs, a 91.3 FM CJ Tr Regina Community Radio. We’re live with local business owners who are making a difference in why Kumar, stay tuned to learn their secrets about what makes them tick. What helped them become successful, and their role as a leader. As a leader in our business community, you’re listening to your host, Barb McGrath, business owner, founder of the get found on Google live program, and marketing expert who helps businesses succeed with ease using their website, social media and online reputation. Our guests today are John Hopkins CEO, and Amanda Baker, member relations manager at the regional and district Chamber of Commerce will talk about the programs available for members and the Chamber’s role in creating a vibrant business community. Welcome, Amanda. And, John,

John Hopkins 1:05
Thank you for having us.

Barb McGrath 1:06
I’m going to ask you both. To start off, just give us a brief introduction. Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Amanda Baker 1:11
Well, my name is Amanda Baker. I am the member relations manager, the Regina and District Chamber of Commerce. And part of my role there is recruiting new members into the membership, and then also retaining and engaging the current and existing membership and helping businesses reach their goals and offering different services that the chamber has.

Barb McGrath 1:38
Wow, that sounds like a very exciting role. How long have you been doing that?

Amanda Baker 1:42
I’ve been there almost 11 years now. And I started off as the admin person straight out of university. And I’ve basically advanced myself through through that and gone higher and higher up but within the chamber and now. I work closely with John Hopkins and yeah, that sounds good.

Barb McGrath 2:08
Excellent. John, your turn ladies first there, of course,

John Hopkins 2:12
Absolutely. Been at the chamber since 2001. So been there quite a while and I never really thought I would get into sort of running business organizations. I was before that I was with Regina’s Market Square, which is now Regina downtown, actually went to university and English was my thing. So I thought my pathway was going to be well, I’m going to start teaching English, which is for people that know me is kind of strange. But you know, it didn’t work that way. What happened for me is kind of life happened. And the opportunity came. And next thing you know, I was working for regionals Market Square, started learning something about property assessment, which nobody really wants to know. But I did. And eventually got to the point where you know, the chamber was looking for an executive director at the time. And they came calling and I interviewed for that. And that’s how I ended up with the chamber. And it’s been quite the career at the chamber and, you know, chambers, great organization really believe in what we do. And it’s been very fulfilling in so many ways.

Barb McGrath 3:18
Excellent. Well, that’s wonderful. John 2001. So 17 years, you’ve had your 17 year anniversary here not too long ago, or

John Hopkins 3:26
Yes. Yes, it was. It was actually this month, I can’t remember the exact day. So it could have been even like today, 17 years ago, I’ll ever forget, forget it, because 911 happened not long after I started the chamber. And so that’s kind of the reference points that I have for when I started with the chamber. And it’s been very, very interesting to say the least a lot has happened, a lot of things have changed, even sort of things online have changed drastically 1001. So very interesting times so most memorable.

Barb McGrath 3:55
What’s the most memorable activity from the last 17 years?

John Hopkins 4:01
Well, I would have to say, the wastewater treatment plant referendum was really something that we spent a lot of time a lot of resources, I didn’t sleep. From the moment I got up to the moment I went to bed. That’s all I did. It’s all I did was work on that file, whether it was on social media, wherever it might have been, we spent an enormous amount of time on that I was very, very memorable. And I’ll tell you why. Because before then waterwatch, which was you know, had been there were many other water watches in Canada that were retro redrawing the likes to say older wasn’t it was a grassroots movement that no it wasn’t. It was all over BC and they had won everywhere. They went, ah, everywhere. And kewpie was behind it the whole time, even though it’s a grassroots movement that it really wasn’t. And so it was really something that you know, they’d won every single other place. They’d been every other community that that waterwatch was formed. They weren’t Okay, and so when it came to China, it didn’t look good. It looked like they were gonna win here. And it was, you know, pretty much a fight between city, pardon me, City Hall, and waterwatch. And then we got involved. And so it was a very memorable thing. We were very much out there doing all kinds of different things. And so that was, that was something I’ll always remember.

Barb McGrath 5:25
So what does it look like if a community loses? So I can appreciate, you know what that issue was all about. But when you say they, that they’d won in every other situation? What does that mean?

John Hopkins 5:39
They were able to stop the p3 work that was going on for the wastewater treatment plant and every other community. Okay. And there were a lot of this a lot of information that wasn’t quite accurate. They were talking about water in some of their material had little kids drinking water when we were talking about not drinking water, but the other stuff, the sewer stuff. So somewhat misleading. So we talked about that. We were also involved in saying, well, this has to be coupies. Behind this, that’s that’s been across the country, this isn’t a grassroots thing at all, it’s, you know, this has happened in other places. So that was really our role role was to sort of bring out the attention to what was going on how this was going to impact taxpayers, that type of thing, okay. And the other side of the coin is, though, at the end of the day, we’re proud that we live in a democracy where people have the right to go out there and protest and do whatever they do, whether it’s, you know, the teepees in the park, that’s when people have the right to do some of that stuff. And we’re we’re actually, you know, happy that we live in an environment where everyone has the tent, the chance to speak their own opinion and say what they believe in, and much better than in some other places in the world. Exactly.

Barb McGrath 6:50
Yeah. And I think sometimes we forget how important that privilege is, in fact, we start to take it for granted sometimes.

John Hopkins 6:58
So or if we just don’t like what people are doing, because I know there’s there’s there obviously, were two sides on the wastewater treatment plant referendum. Absolutely. I mean, and you forget the fact that no, it’s important that all voices are heard. And so well, I don’t agree with what you’re saying. I think it’s really important. Do you have the right to say what you need to say?

Barb McGrath 7:18
That’s right. Absolutely. So John, I can see you’re very passionate about what you do. And Amanda, I know you are equally as passionate. So like, tell me, where does the interest come from? You know, that sort of drove both of you to be where you are now. And you know, what, what made you say you wanted to stay with the chamber for 17 years, John, what’s what’s driving the two of you?

John Hopkins 7:40
Well, for me, there’s, you know, what, what keeps me involved in the chambers, if the job always changes, there’s always something going on. So we talked about the wastewater treatment plant referendum, we can talk about the federal tax changes that happened last year. But this year, it’s about NAFTA. And it’s about tariffs. And it’s about all of those things that are going on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, even though it’s that’s spanning a few years now, quite a few actually. But it’s always changing. There’s always new things happening. And a lot of the times we’re right on the edge of all of that and involved in all of that. And contrary to what some people think about the chamber, really our interest, is the community prospering, it’s not just the business community, like a lot of people say, Well, you know, the chamber, all you’re interested in is your people make money. Yeah, we want to make sure that the business community is thriving and creating opportunities. But also, it’s about the community thriving and the community creating opportunities and play positioning, this place is a great place to live, to conduct business, to shop to play, all of those things are really, really important.

Barb McGrath 8:44
Yeah, most definitely. Amanda, what about you?

Amanda Baker 8:47
Well, one of the parts I really like about my job is that I’m fairly social person. So I get to meet and talk to you a lot of different business owners in Regina. And within our membership, we have just such a different variety of all different kinds of businesses. So I get to go out and meet with those folks and sometimes get a tour and just learn more about entrepreneurship and business and what they’re doing in their businesses. Maybe what new products or services are now offered in Regina that might be exciting. And and then share that among my own connections and chamber connections in the business community, and hopefully, help those businesses grow and continue to be successful. So getting out and talking to people and learning more about the community and just contributing to things that you know, contribute to a healthy vital business community is important. But yeah, I really just like getting out there and talking to different folks.

Barb McGrath 9:51
Absolutely. And you know, as you and I have gotten to know each other a little bit, that’s the one piece that I can definitely pick up on. You’re a people person you love to be out there. They’re talking to the members, shaking hands creating events, if there’s not something happening, creating those networking opportunities, and they know as a member myself, that’s something that I absolutely value. It’s just the chance to meet someone new. Talk a little bit about what I do, and find out more about what they do. And sometimes it’s amazing the chemistry you can find between two shoulder industries that, you know, in other circumstances, you wouldn’t even thought there’d be anything in common.

Right? So no, that’s wonderful. So let’s think a little bit broader. Let’s think outside Regina, on a national level on a global level, what’s happening with chambers of commerce? Are they growing? Are they shrinking? Is it a dying industry? Where can we expect to see chambers go in the next number of years?

John Hopkins 10:44
It’s sort of a mixed bag, there’s some chambers that are dying, I think that’s fair to say, there are some chambers that are growing exponentially. And there’s some chambers that are so you know, somewhere in the middle there. And those chambers that are doing well have evolved from doing these, you know, with the utmost respect to the Santa Claus Day Parade, but evolved from doing that, which is so important in our community, to doing other things, saying, Well, one of the things our chamber spent a lot of time on over the years, was the labor shortage. Okay. And so we spent an enormous amount of time looking at labor, where are we going to get more people to take advantage of the opportunities through here? So we evolved to that, that’s changed now that we’ve had need to evolve again to zero say, Okay, what else can we do to provide value for our members and provide more networking opportunities, maybe more cost saving programs, it’s about really sort of staying in tune. And sometimes for our chamber, we’re a little bit behind. Sometimes we’re a little bit ahead. But it’s about evolving. Because if we still did the Santa Claus parade, and I don’t know if the chamber actually ever did the Santa Claus. Yeah, that was our focus then. And our sole focus? Well, I’m not sure how long we would last. So that’s what’s really all about is providing value for membership, but the value that they want now, not what they wanted, two years ago, even exactly, it’s what what value do you want today?

Barb McGrath 12:12
So what have you seen changed in the last couple years? What are members looking for today that they weren’t looking for a few years ago?

John Hopkins 12:20
Well, a few years ago, it was certainly labor force. And so some of the things we did on the labor force file is we actually went to other countries to bring labor here to Ireland, I’ll never forget that and seeing thousands of people lined up looking for jobs, because things were really, really tough in Ireland. And so that was one of them. We created the all nations job Expo, we had some an employee that focused on meeting labor force demands, we were involved in the region and trades and skill Center, which by the way, is a fantastic organization. We’re doing a whole bunch of other labor force things. And so now it’s okay, we need to segue and we need to move because some of the important things of the day are NAFTA, what’s going on with NAFTA? What’s going on with tariffs? And so what we’re doing is we’ve connected with every single state capitol Chamber of Commerce in the United States, and talk to them about the importance of NAFTA. Here’s the imports, here’s the exports, here’s the value. Did you know that a lot of the things that you import from Canada actually come back to Canada, and you need to be mindful of that, here’s the number of jobs that are involved in your state, and trade with NAFTA. So we’ve done that. And now the next step for us is going to be to connect more chambers in the United States talk about more about the importance of this relationship. Now for some members, they’ll say, Well, you know, I’m not really sure too sure about how NAFTA really impacts me or the tariffs are not really impacted me. I would say that, well, there they are. It’s just it’s, we’d have to spend a little bit of time to talk about how they actually are because let’s look at Evraz and say, okay, there’s 1000 jobs, they’re, they’re impacted by the tariffs. And they’re very, very important that that company is absolutely vital to the Regina Saskatchewan economy. Yep. So we need to make sure that they’re viable. And that has an impact all the way down to Tim Hortons, let’s say, Yep. So that’s really, really important. But okay, let’s put that to the side for a second. So another thing will be, well, I want to get in front of more businesses to talk about what I do with my businesses, whatever it may be. And so that’s another place where we need to evolve. And that’s something that we’re going to continue to evolve this this fall, we’ll do some we’ll do some new programming to try and connect more and more businesses together. And we have to be creative, because we’ve done that in the past. But the one place where we’ve kind of fallen short a little bit is that after you do so many of those networking programs, then all of a sudden people are making meetings, same people. Yes. So we need to fix that. And so the way we thought about Okay, so what we’re going to do here then, is we’re going to encourage our new members to come to these events far more than we ever have in the past. So it’s really about them because a lot of them, that’s what they want to do is they want to connect with People Exactly. So that’s going to be more of the focus off our chamber, we’ll still do all the advocacy work in terms of property taxes, and provincial taxes and federal taxes, and all carbon tax stuff, all that stuff. We’ll continue to do that. But also for other members will continue to focus on providing new and unique set of networking opportunities.

Barb McGrath 15:21
Exactly. You know, something you said, they’re really tweaked for me, John, because as a fairly new business owner, as well, as a new chamber member, there’s lots of times that you go to an event, and you can tell everybody already knows everybody. And that can be really tough for someone new to walk into the room, try and find a familiar face, try and strike up a conversation. You know, you’re either way you’re injecting yourself into a conversation that can be tough. So I know you have a couple of events coming up. I don’t, I don’t know if you have your list or not. But I know you’ve got a September event, you’ve definitely got an October event, anything in particular that you want to talk about?

John Hopkins 15:57
Well, one of them. That’s, you know, the click Enos, I hate that. On the other side of it, that’s one of the things they really don’t like, yeah. And so what we try to do is try to take that out. And so here’s the ways we try to do that. We have ambassadors, and there are people in these green jackets, you walk in the room, and they’re very friendly. And we encourage them to interact with new people. And then we try to encourage new people interact with people that are at the table, we’ll set up tables, so that let’s say this is just say there’s four new people and four existing members to try and take some of that other out of that. Yes. Because even for some existing members, sometimes it’s kind of awkward. You look at somebody, I don’t know who you are, and it’s easier to always talk to somebody that you don’t absolutely, yes, so we try to play speed networks. Networking is another one. Okay, so you got your 90 seconds, do your pitch, yeah, cuz then I’m gonna blow the whistle, then you have to move to the next person. And lots of times, there’s gonna be somebody you don’t know. So it’s about getting the elevator speech all sort of lined up. And it really is quite helpful. Because we want people to join and feel like they’re welcome. Because they are very, very welcome. And so we try to do the programs. So that works that way. So anyways, that’s I’m rambling on here.

Barb McGrath 17:09
No, but that’s a good point. So I know you have a speed networking event coming up in October, and I actually had the opportunity to go to the event back in the spring, fantastic event, I can’t remember how many business cards I went home with. But that has turned into some very good relationships, not so much on the business side, but building a business network. And that’s equally important to all business owners. It’s just knowing who you can call for different services, right? It’s not even necessarily about your own book of business and your own financial health. But having support out there in the business community from other members, that’s huge. To

John Hopkins 17:45
Absolutely no question. It’s like, Who you gonna call Ghostbusters? I mean, if you know somebody that’s in the business, and you’re looking for a product or service, it’s always way more comfortable to say, Well, I know Fred, and I’ve known Fred for 20 years, he’s great person, he’ll he’ll do this electrical versus say, That’s electrical stuff. Exactly. Or I know, BB and you’ll do some of the online stuff. Exactly. It’s way easier, because you feel a lot more, at least I feel a lot more comfortable. Do if I know somebody that least knows somebody? Yes. Yeah, that’s exactly. And that’s what the chamber does.

Barb McGrath 18:16
Absolutely. Any other events that are coming up, Amanda that you want to talk about?

Amanda Baker 18:20
Well, we have our business to business trade show coming up in October, which will be at the center of the arts. And that’s our mean large trade show that we do every year. So we’re gearing up for that. And pretty excited. Square One is going to be involved with us at that event. And it’s during Small Business Week in Canada. So I think it’ll be a great networking opportunity, but also, for people to come out and see some other businesses and learn about what they have to offer. Also, there’ll be a food section. So definitely a lot of different foods to try and new businesses to see

John Hopkins 19:01
A difference this year will be this year’s business to business Expo is really going to be focused on entrepreneurs. We partnered with square one is because it’s about entrepreneurship. And so they there will be people that help entrepreneurs, cape, so the different government agencies that help entrepreneurs, there’ll be a number of different seminars to talk about different things that are important to entrepreneurs and things that you know, tips on what to do and what not to do. Speaking of that, I have a crazy little story here. Okay, perfect. So I just started with the Chamber of Commerce. And they put me on this samah commercial Advisory Committee. It’s all about property tax property assessment. Yes. So we went to this meeting in Saskatoon and I sat there and I suddenly realized I have no idea what is going on here. These people are talking way over my head and I sat there and back then I smoked cigarettes, okay, I don’t anymore. But back then I smoke. And so I went out. And I was smoking. I was like, Oh my god, I just feel so stupid. I’m just I gotta be the dumbest person. Here I go, I just better hide away. see nothing?

Barb McGrath 20:17
Johnny can’t see you hiding anywhere.

John Hopkins 20:19
So I sat. And I did. But you know, so I sat there. And then finally, I couldn’t take it anymore. I don’t remember what the question was. But I stuck up my hand, and it was kind of shaken. And I said, Mr. CHAIRPERSON, um, I really don’t understand what you’re talking about here. Like you’re talking about this fee and how this impacts this and that. I don’t know what you’re talking about. So can you explain it to me? Because I really think I should understand this. All of a sudden, it’s like, well, absolutely, we should make sure that everyone here understands what we’re talking about,

Barb McGrath 20:51
Of course.

John Hopkins 20:52
So then I went for another smoke after that. Then suddenly, I had all these people come up to me and said, Oh, my God, John, thank you for saying something because I was sitting there thinking, I’m the only one. I’m the only one that doesn’t understand. And that was a real learning point for me to say, Okay, if you’re in a meeting like this, and you don’t understand, ask for clarification. Stick your hand up. And I’m the king of I’ve got a dumb question. Yeah, I think, more more times than not, I’m not the only one in the room that’s been thinking.

Barb McGrath 21:25
And I think that’s a great lesson, because it’s so true. There’s so many times where everybody feels like they shouldn’t be the one to ask the question. But yet, numerous people in a room in a presentation are going to have the same question. Absolutely. So good on you for asking the question.

John Hopkins 21:41
Yeah, like almost pick out the people now. Sit in the room and go deer in the headlights? Look. I betcha. They don’t want to see nothing. I’ll walk up to him and say, Hey, how’s it going? Dude, kind of getting this? And what do you think about that? Yeah. And then if they don’t understand, I’ll say it was the question. Question. I have no problem saying I’ll do it.

Barb McGrath 22:01
Don’t worry about it in that gloss overlook that people get in their eyes. Right. They start to gloss over and ask me a question. Don’t ask me anything.

Yeah, yeah, exactly. Awesome. All right. Well, Chamber of Commerce. So this is a question that we have to ask, why should a business owner join the Chamber of Commerce?

Amanda Baker 22:18
What’s in it for me? Well, I mean, I think it comes down to four basic points. And the first one would be the advocacy, businesses input and support of the different advocacy things we’re working on. super important. Um, networking is another piece, we do so many events every year 5060 events a year, so.

So so many businesses are looking to connect and network chambers perfect for that and building those relationships, cost saving benefit programs for your business, you have access to both five different ones that are pretty significant. And then group insurance is a big one group
insurance went out a little bit? Well, it’s a chambers of commerce group insurance plan. And so all chambers of commerce across Canada offer the same insurance plan. And for smaller businesses, it can offer really great coverage. And they’re joining a pooled group of people across Canada.

Barb McGrath 23:17
So yeah, yeah.

Amanda Baker 23:18
So keeps their rates very stable. There’s merchant service savings ups, so fuel, so few different cost savings there, depending on your business. And then marketing, still online promotion through online business directory listing listings, social media, or mass emails that you can advertise on and reached out really targeted business community audience. So it depends on every business is different. And so it depends on your challenges and goals that your business would have. Is it networking? Is it cost saving? Is it an advocacy issue that’s affecting you? Let us know and and we’d be happy to chat with you about that.

Barb McGrath 24:01
So where are you seeing the greatest growth right now in membership

Amanda Baker 24:05
We’re constantly trying to grow and recruit the membership. So we’re always looking at different sources, a ways to recruit for that. There’s a lot of new young entrepreneurs in the city. There’s a lot of different things we’re doing on social media and sharing and engaging that way. So we’re always looking for new opportunities to connect with businesses.

Barb McGrath 24:33
Um, so when you look at all say, millennial entrepreneurs, versus, you know, a generation X, do they ask different questions? Do they have different expectations? Are you Is there a noticeable difference between the two types of entrepreneurs, what do you see?

Amanda Baker 24:49
I see millennials especially they want everything right now. And so especially when everything needs to be available online, if you don’t have an online Presence, you’re not really reaching that millennial market. They’re really looking at the reviews. And they want to see some results. But so they will be checking you out online, before they probably choose to purchase anything from that business. So really having that online presence is really important.

Barb McGrath 25:20
Absolutely. And that’s something I see in my business, too. We talked earlier, but of course, Google and Facebook agree, the fastest way to grow a business and drive that business to the first page of Google is through customer reviews right now. You need to ask for them, and you need to respond to them. So it’s interesting that you’re seeing that over in the millennials, that that’s where they’re spending their time. I want to know when I want to understand what type of reputation a business has. Right? Absolutely. Okay. So, John, we’ve got a couple of minutes left. What’s the biggest challenge facing the chamber in the next six months to a year?

John Hopkins 25:55
Well, the biggest challenge by far is going to be NAFTA. And the tariffs, there’s no question about that, then it’s going to continue to be a significant challenge. The problem that we have is Trump, like, who knows what is going to happen here? And well, you know, tweet, you know, public policy by tweets, it’s the strangest thing I’ve ever seen. So there’s a real there’s a real challenge here. On one hand, we have the Prime Minister of Canada, who’s looking, you know, one of the issues of supply management, how are we going to deal with supply management, the United States wants us to get rid of supply management. Of course, the Prime Minister doesn’t want to see that. And so there’s the rub there. And then across the border, there’s all kinds of other things with Trump. And I was thinking maybe I had one point with Trump, but it’s hard to do that. There’s just so many things. I mean, the fact that he’s using security for the United States on Canada with steel and aluminum is absolutely bizarre when we’re going to invade the United States, like how’s that ever gonna happen? It’s never gonna happen. Yeah. So you know, NAFTA, and the tariffs are going to be a huge component of what we need to focus on on the public policy side of the equation as we move forward in the next six months.

Barb McGrath 27:03
Excellent. Well, that sounds good. I think we’re pretty much out of time here today. So I want to thank everyone who is listening. I’m glad you joined us today on 91.3 FM, CJ tr Regina community radio for night views and The Secret Life of entrepreneurs. Thank you to Amanda and John from the Regional Chamber of Commerce, for joining me today telling us a little bit more about the programs, the chamber offers, how you’re supporting the community, and understanding a bit about the advocacy work that the chamber is always doing and taking up I think, a good chunk of your time, hundred and 10% of your time.

John Hopkins 27:36
Absolutely. Thank you so much.

Barb McGrath 27:37
Absolutely. So I’ll be back on August 22 with Joanne Frederick from prairie center for mindfulness, and she will share her story about the importance of mindfulness in our daily lives. If you’d like to be a guest, you can email me at, or reach out to me directly on Facebook and Instagram. Also at Above the Fold Canada. Just a reminder, you can submit questions in advance of the live show on our Facebook page. I’m your host, Barb McGrath, local business owner of Above the Fold Canada, and I thank you for the opportunity to be here today. Thanks for listening. I’ll be back next Wednesday at 12 o’clock. Remember, you worked hard for your success. Don’t keep it a secret. Bye for now.


Barb McGrath’s been cracking the online code for nearly 20 years. She helps local businesses get to the top of Google with digital marketing training, web design, SEO, online reputation and advertising. Most importantly, she’s earned the trust of Google.Barb runs the only Google-approved agency designed to show you how to turn the online “stuff” into in-store buyers.If you depend on in-person customers, you need Barb’s step-by-step, online marketing plan to generate a steady stream of onsite buyers and make it rain money. She is the host of the Secret Life of Entrepreneurs, a local radio show and iTunes and Google Podcast.