Ian Penny took the reigns as Chair of the Board of the Halifax Chamber of Commerce earlier this month. The Dal MBA grad says he has an ambitious plan for the Halifax Chamber in the months ahead, with a focus on all Halifax has to offer.
“I plan to talk a lot about the amazing place Halifax is and the assets we have,” he says. “We really pull together to make things happen in this community. I would like to influence decisions that will ensure there is choice for those graduating from university—choice to stay or choice to go and then come back to build their career.”
The Chamber has been working with local stakeholders on a new economic strategy for Halifax, a blueprint for economic growth for the next five years.
“Key among the goals of this strategy is talent and our universities are a great source of talent. The chamber looks forward to working with the universities closely to build and keep an excellent talent pool in Halifax and in Nova Scotia.”
The role universities will play in the future of the city is top of mind for Mr. Penny who notes that universities like Dalhousie our are “attraction magnets” for the city both in attracting talent for the future and the leading edge research and innovation that happens within the universities.
“The universities are key to our economic growth for the future,” he points out. “They give us an important global presence and are incubators of new ideas and thinking.”
Mr. Penny is the Vice-President, Commercial Banking at CIBC Commercial Banking Atlantic and is responsible for CIBC's business banking throughout Atlantic Canada. He is also a Fellow of the Canadian Institute of Canadian Bankers with Honours. He takes on the new challenge of chair of board as he says he is hopeful about the region's future. He points to signs of business confidence growing and says hiring should soon follow as well as investment in training and productivity.
“At the chamber, we can see a renewed level of attendance and participation at events and in our committees,” he says. “There is still work to do (but) a strategy will put in place initiatives to grow and reward entrepreneurism and those companies that are willing and ready to bring forward new ideas and innovation.”
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