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 Friday, June 26, 2015

VANCOUVER, B.C. — “Ladies and gentlemen, you have just made history.”

Those were the words of The Vancouver Board of Trade’s incoming Chair, Tim Manning, during the organization’s AGM earlier today.

Manning was referring to the unprecedented decision to elect more women than men to The Vancouver Board of Trade’s board of directors — something that has not happened before in the organization’s 128-year history.

“From all research we’ve done in the past several weeks, The Vancouver Board of Trade is the first and only business organization of our kind in Canada — possibly across North America — to have more women on our board of directors than men,” said Manning, who also serves as Regional Vice-President of Commercial Financial Services at RBC Royal Bank. “We take great pride in knowing that The Vancouver Board of Trade reflects the diversity of the Canadian business community of the 21st century, in everything that we do.”

Each year, The Vancouver Board of Trade’s board of directors is comprised of 36 prominent business, community, and non-profit leaders. New executives elected to the 2015-16 board include Kim Baird, Sue Belisle, Alice Chen, Robin Dhir, Jan Grude, Christopher Lythgo, and Kari Yeurs (see full list of directors here).

“This is the next step forward in The Vancouver Board of Trade’s evolution,” said Janet Austin, CEO of YWCA Metro Vancouver, who served as 2014-15 Chair before passing the baton to Manning at today’s AGM. “Over the past year, The Vancouver Board of Trade has hosted several forums and events that have underscored the importance of increasing gender diversity in the business community, and particularly, on boards of directors. Today, we are leading by example.”

Iain Black, President and CEO of The Vancouver Board of Trade, echoed Austin’s sentiments and commended both Manning and Austin for their work in recruiting new board members and emphasizing diversity.

“In order for our organization to remain relevant, we know that we have to lead in a few very distinct areas,” said Black. “In recent years, we’ve seen the face of Greater Vancouver’s business community change, and with it, the face of our membership has changed too.

“The reality is that The Vancouver Board of Trade is a much younger, much more diverse organization than it was just five years ago. This is a direct result of our four innovative Signature Programs, which have catered specifically to post-secondary students, under-35 professionals, entrepreneurs, and women in the workplace. These programs have set us apart from more traditional business organizations, and have led to a surge in new Members under the age of 35 — 60 per cent of which have been women.”

Today's announcement was also lauded by elected officials at both the provincial and national level.

“As Canada’s Minister of Status of Women I’d like to congratulate The Vancouver Board of Trade on reaching this historic and important milestone,” said the Honourable Dr. K. Kellie Leitch. “The Vancouver Board of Trade has been an international leader in supporting women in business and recognizing their incredible contributions to the Canadian economy. This is a new benchmark that I hope other organizations will work towards.”

“I am proud to be part of a Cabinet that has been recognized across the country for having women in critical leadership roles. B.C’s Lieutenant Governor and Speaker of the Legislature are women in addition to nine out of twenty provincial cabinet ministers, including our Premier,” added the Honourable Shirley Bond, B.C.’s Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and Minister Responsible for Labour. “I certainly want to pass on my congratulations to The Vancouver Board of Trade for reaching this significant milestone with their board of directors. They should serve as a positive role model for other organizations."

For more information on The Vancouver Board of Trade and its four Signature Programs, visit its new website — also launched at today's Annual General Meeting — at boardoftrade.com.

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Media contacts:

Greg Hoekstra                   
Communications Manager 
The Vancouver Board of Trade
604-640-5450 |

Rob MacKay-Dunn
Director, Public Policy
The Vancouver Board of Trade
604-640-5454 |

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