This June's Outlook Economic Symposium is drawing a number of high level economic experts and industry leaders, but Whistler Chamber of Commerce President Fiona Famulak said the event will benefit all sizes of business - even the wee.
"As small business owners we focus on our business 24/7... I think when given the opportunity it's very important for business owners to remove themselves from the day to day and get perspective on some big picture things because if the owner isn't connected to what's going on nationally or globally, they can't really plan effectively because they are missing a part of the equation," she said.
The guiding topic of the conference, "Is B.C. positioned to prosper in the next decade?" will frame all presentations and discussions from a variety of government and business sectors. B.C. Minister of Finance and Deputy Premier Kevin Falcon will speak on the province's place on the global economic chessboard. Sam Shaw, vice president of natural gas policy development at EnCana Natural Gas Inc. will give a talk on today's global economic outlook. RBC director Jim Allworth will put in his two-cents on investments in Canada and Urban Futures Inc. director Andrew Ramlo, will help put future economic trends into perspective.
Famulak said the scope of this inaugural event is nothing to shy away from.
"As we plan for our future success as a resort community, I think it's really important that Whistler business owners really understand what drives and impacts our local economy," she said. "And also what's happening in the global marketplace because we are on the global stage - the Games put us there and it's our responsibility to stay there so we need to be forever aware of what's going on globally, nationally and provincially so we can as business owners plan for the future in the most effective way."
Some of the specific topics to be presented include how the Chinese investor and consumer will impact the real estate sector, how demographic changes will impact the construction and education workforces, what products and services consumers are looking for and how technology affects business.
"I've heard that the speakers or topics are too high level," said Famulak.
"It is true that Outlook brings together Canadian economic experts, business sector leaders, senior government ministers such as the Honourable Kevin Falcon and Honourable Pat Bell (provincial minister of jobs, tourism and innovation) but my message is don't assume that because these speakers have impressive titles that they are inaccessible or will speak in high level terms.
"I can tell you that they all communicate simply and in plain English and that's part of their appeal, that's why we engaged them in the first place.
"They also want to connect with the audience... they want to make sure their message gets across and want to leave the audience with some 'aha!' moments."
A sector panel discussion on tourism, natural resources, technology, the arts and real estate will be moderated by Janine North, CEO of Northern Development Initiative Trust. The panel will include Mark Andrew, regional vice-president of Pacific Northwest and general manager of Fairmont Hotels and Resorts; Tim McEwan, president and CEO of Initiatives Prince George Development Corporation; Dr. Pascal Spothelfer, president and CEO of BC Technology Industry Association; Peter Leitch, chairman of the Motion Picture Production Industry Association of B.C.; and Lorne Burns, national industry leader of real estate at KPMG LLP.
A final discussion titled Focusing Forward: Forecasting BC's Global Economic Future will be given by Dr. Roger Gibbins, president and CEO of the Canada West Foundation.
An early bird special of $249 will be available until midnight on Friday, May 27. After that the price goes up to $349 and last minute registration is $449.
For more information or to register go to www.whistlerchamber.com .