Even as Langley, and the rest of B.C. prepare to reopen for business in phases over the coming weeks, that reality is still a little ways off for other businesses – their owners and staff, alike.
So those still realizing life with a little more free time on their hands than normal, but still anxious to connect, have some local educational and networking options available to them thanks to the Greater Langley Chamber of Commerce.
First, the chamber is continuing to update its online resource guide to help local businesses in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, including offering links and information on a variety of issues facing local companies and supports out there for small businesses and their people.
But the chamber efforts go a step further than that. The staff, while working from home, have coordinated frequent online meetings throughout May aimed at driving discussion and motivating learning.
Among the meetings, for instance, on Monday the chamber featured a virtual town hall focused on commercial and rental lease agreements through a lunch-hour Zoom webinar.
The next day, the chamber invited Langley City Mayor Val van den Broek to speak during a virtual morning Coffee & Conversation session.
On Wednesday, the chamber held a Lunch & Learn session. But instead of hosting it in the chamber board room – for obvious reasons –and having people bring their bag lunches, they offered a webinar featuring Jeanette Martin, owner of MYBC Consulting, to talk about building relationships.
On Monday, May 11 another virtual Coffee & Conversation is set with Mayor Jack Froese. Again, via Zoom, this meeting will run from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. and offer a chance to talk to the mayor about the current Langley business climate.
The very next day, the chamber is hosting another virtual town hall, this one focused on the economic forecast for 2020, featuring Central 1’s chief economist Helmet Pastrick. This session runs from 11 a.m. to noon, also via Zoom.
“We are all aware of that COVID-19 has caused the greatest global economic disruption in history. What does that mean for your business?” Pastrick said, anxious to help spell that out for local business on Tuesday, May 12.
On Wednesday, the topic of investment fraud and malpractice will be tackled by Bill Thomlinson, associate portfolio manager with Raymond James Ltd. during another Lunch & Learn session.
Then, there are two sessions being hosted virtually next Thursday.
First up that day is another Coffee & Conversation session, this time with Megan Dykeman, the chair of the local school district. That session, again, runs 10:30 to 11:30 a.m.
And later in the day, the chamber hosts a networking social hour from 4 to 5 p.m., asking participants to order an appetizer from one of the local restaurants, pour themselves a glass of wine, and dial in.
There’s one next Friday, May 15 that is expected to get a fair attendance. The chamber is hosting a virtual town hall focused on employment law, specifically consideration for calling employees back to work.
Sara Forte and Jim Wu with Forte Law, a Surrey and Langley-based legal team, will lead this workshop and discussion that runs from 1 to 2 p.m.
Like all other of the chamber virtual events this month, this is free, and offered through Zoom.
It doesn’t end there. There are also two set for the middle of May.
In place of the chamber’s traditional monthly dinner meeting at Cascades, they’re going virtual on Tuesday, May 19, from 4:30 to 6 p.m., again via Zoom. This is their first virtual dinner meeting, the March meeting was cancelled amid COVID concerns.
Like the networking session, the chamber is encouraging participants to order their food from a local eatery, and share a meal while hearing from Jeremy Stone, a director of community economic development from SFU.
He’s going to focus on how Langley can maintain business and economic health during economic downturns, natural disasters, and disruptions like the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Although disruptions cannot be avoided, their impacts can be lessened through planning and preparation,” Stone said.
And the third virtual Coffee & Conversation session of the month is set for Wednesday, May 20.
Like the other three, featuring the mayors and school district chair earlier in the month, this one also feature a politician.
This time, it’s MLA Rich Coleman.
Coleman – who announced his retirement from politics after this term – will be available to talk about the current Langley business climate, as well. His session runs from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m., and again will be hosted through Zoom.
Those interested in participating in any of these chamber meetings must still register with the chamber to receive their link information.
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