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Q&A with Whistler chamber CEO Val Litwin

The author and entrepreneur hits the ground running but saves time for jogging, too

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It was also encouraging to see how the issues we're addressing in Whistler from an advocacy standpoint weigh very heavily on the BC Chamber agenda and were accepted by the national delegates, certainly on the visa front... just seeing the process in action and seeing it making it to the next level. It's exciting to be part of the advocacy plan that the national chamber will now draft.

And kudos to my predecessor (Fiona Famulak) and Tourism Whistler for teeing that up, I just carried the ball across the finish line.

Pique: And you've had a lot of meetings closer to home lately.

val: Getting to meet the resort partners was great, getting to build a relationship with (Tourism Whistler head) Barrett Fisher and (Whistler Blackcomb's) Dave Brownlie, Mike Furey (of the Resort Municipality of Whistler) and being in email contact with Doti Niedermayer of the Whistler Arts Council.

I think that everyone is excited and we can collaborate to see how we can take Whistler to the next level again... I love that there's a core group of people looking out for the long-term economic success of Whistler.

Pique: And what are your plans in the coming weeks?

val: I'm still learning the needs of the Whistler business community. Learn and observe and make sure we execute a brilliant Spirit Pass Program this year. It's updated and we've got lots of great new content. I just love business. That's what I get really excited about. I think we have a group of really (great) entrepreneurs in Whistler, who have such varied business models. I'm excited to see how in the next year the chamber can step up again and help them with their business visions and business strategies, how can we take them to the next level.

Pique: What do you see as the challenges?

val: You know, I feel that optimism is really high in this town! The economy is getting better. All the partners are collaborating, we're all talking. The view is clear out my window right now and I feel that is a great analogy for how it looks in Whistler. Everyone is aligned, everyone is moving forward at high speed. I think the EPI meeting (last week's release of the RMOW's Economic Partnership Initiative) will gel a lot of the focus around economic development.

I don't see any challenges right now, I just wish there were three of me to do everything faster, but I just have to be patient.

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