Shakiba Shayani became the new President and CEO of the Guelph Chamber of Commerce on September 9, 2019, which was two days before the Federal election, during which the Chamber exerts tremendous influence as the organizers of the main local debate, and it was two months before the start of the annual municipal budget process, during which the Chamber President always presents. Talking about being thrown into the deep end.
This week on the podcast, Shayani takes on another responsibility as President of the Chamber: answering annoying questions from the press! This podcast comes in advance of the annual State of the City address, which is a chance for the Mayor of Guelph to talk to the business community about all the great things that are happening in the City that should, theoretically, enhance their business prospects.
It’s an example of the tight relationship that exists between the City as a political entity and the Chamber, which represents the business interests of its members to create favourable conditions to generate prosperity. Like in many communities, the Chamber of Commerce is a pretty big deal in Guelph, and if you need any more proof about the overlap between Chamber culture and political culture, keep in mind that the former head of the Guelph Chamber is Guelph’s current Member of Parliament.
Now it’s Shakiba Shayani’s turn to lead the Chamber, and would you be surprised to learn that she doesn’t actually come from a business background. Before taking over as the head of the Chamber, Shayani spent six years as the Director of Community Investment at United Way Guelph Wellington Dufferin. It’s an interesting message that the Chamber might be trying to send in hiring Shayani, the idea that the business of business, at least in Guelph, is not all about making a profit.
This week on podcast Shayani will talk about why she wanted the job as the new Chamber President, and what she brings to it that’s different from her predecessors. We also talk about what makes the Guelph economy, how that’s changing, and where it might be going in the next couple of years. Then, on the political side of things, we discuss the role of the Chamber in the discourse, their relationship with City Hall, and what role the Chamber plays in tackling issues like transportation and poverty.
So let’s talk to the new face of the Chamber of Commerce on this edition of the Guelph Politicast!
The next Chamber of Commerce event, as discussed, is the annual Mayor’s State of the City address on Friday February 7 at the Guelph Delta Hotel and Conference Centre. For ticket information go to the Guelph Chamber’s website here.
Also, when you subscribe to the Guelph Politicast channel and you will also get an episode of Open Sources Guelph every Monday, and an episode of End Credits every Friday.