January 21, 2021 – Leaders International, a national executive search firm with eight offices across Canada, has been retained by the British Columbia Chamber of Commerce to lead its search for a new president and chief executive officer. Partner Greg Longster is leading the assignment along with associate James Laing. On the heels of the launch of the CEO search, the BC Chamber of Commerce board chair also announced that Dan Baxter, director of policy and government relations, has been named interim CEO. “We are excited to kick off our search for a new leader who will help clarify and promote the value of the BC Chamber, and continue to evolve the organization to remain progressive and innovative,” said Aleece Laird, board chair of the BC Chamber of Commerce. “The candidate will demonstrate resilience, perseverance and show grit as they will lead and support our members immediately as they transition from crisis to recovery – and beyond, to help them grow and compete.”
Reporting to the board of directors, the CEO is responsible for leading and evolving the organization to remain contemporary and relevant. “With strong visionary leadership, keeping directors informed and responsive to the needs of our members, the successful candidate’s strategic thinking will guide the organization to develop and implement innovative plans and technology-based solutions that drive outstanding service and value to BC Chamber members and its business communities throughout BC,” said Leaders International.
The winning candidate will possess an outstanding track record of success, recognized for business expertise, interpersonal skills and leadership qualities. “Known for communicating a compelling vision that inspires and engages key stakeholders, they are concerned about the policies and issues of government that adversely affect chambers of commerce, boards of trade, and the businesses and organizations they represent,” the firm said. “The CEO is expected to be a dynamic, innovative leader, with excellent communication and networking skills, strong government relations, planning, organizational and staff leadership skills.”
The ideal candidate will possess the following education, qualifications and abilities:
- An undergraduate degree in business or a related field of study; a suitable combination of education and experience will be acceptable; entrepreneurial business experience and knowledge of associations and membership-driven organizations would be an asset.
- Exceptional communication abilities, such as writing skills and public speaking/presentation skills (ability to engage and work with media, prepare and deliver news releases, and speeches for Chamber events).
- Technology-savvy; experience using social media (conversant with new media trends and management).
- Proven people leadership capability to select, train, encourage and inspire staff.
- Proven ability to advocate to various levels of government (federal, provincial, and municipal politicians and bureaucrats) and lobbying (research, policy development and implementation); experience in program and service development and managing the profile of an organization within the community.
- Proven ability to engage with stakeholders to know what’s on their mind and to advocate on their behalf to amplify their impact.
The BC Chamber of Commerce is the largest and most broadly-based business organization in British Columbia. Representing more than 125 chambers of commerce and boards of trade, and 36,000 businesses of every size, and from every sector and region for more than 60 years, the BC Chamber works with local communities to provide high-quality policy and strategic advocacy to help build a business-friendly British Columbia.
Leaders International Executive Search was formed in 2018, bringing together Davies Park Executive Search (established in 1989), Higgins Executive Search (established in 1999) and Leaders International (established in 2008). Its leadership team is represented across the firm’s offices in Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Winnipeg, Saskatoon, Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver. The firm’s services include executive recruitment, board of directors and leadership succession.
Mr. Longster has a background in strategic sales management, communications, and business development. He opened Leaders International’s Vancouver office in 2007 and brings a comprehensive range of skills and knowledge to his role as partner. Prior to joining the firm, Mr. Longster spent 15 years in senior and executive management positions in the financial services industry, giving him firsthand experience in human resource management plus a unique understanding of organizations’ HR needs.
Mr. Laing joined the Leaders International Vancouver office in 2016 after finishing his bachelor’s degree in political science at McGill University. In an evolving role, he is involved throughout the recruitment process providing support to consultants and partners.
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media