Greater Langley Chamber of Commerce staff include Jacyln Van Den Berg, Colleen Clark, Kristi Maier, and Lori Watts. (Langley Advance files)

WHAT’S IN STORE: Langley chamber team deserves a shout out for all its efforts

VIDEO: Editor Roxanne Hooper offers a weekly look at business happenings in Langley.

It is Chamber of Commerce Week and I’d be remiss in not sending a shout out to the ‘gals’ at the Langley chamber who work tirelessly to advocate for and educate local businesses.

Keep up the great work.

Of course the monthly dinner meetings (like Tuesday night’s featuring motivator Scott Armstrong) are always popular, usually attracting at least 100 guests.

And further to the educational offerings of the chamber, business leaders might want to give the Lunch & Learn workshops some serious consideration.

One next week, for instance, is about getting more business value from corporate philanthropy.

Daryl Hatton, the founder and CEO of ConnectionPoint, and the producer of a global crowdfunding platform called FundRazr, will be speaking next Thursday, March 1. These sessions run noon to 1:30 p.m. with a networking opportunity starting at 11:30 a.m.

To find out more about this more intimate workshop held in the chamber board room, connect up with Jaclyn Van Den Berg at 604-371-3770 or visit the chamber’s website at www.langleychamber.com. The cost starts at $10 with guests bringing their own lunch.

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Realtors helping

Once again, I’m dedicating space in this week’s column to food and charity – two of my favourite subjects (or so it seems).

The Fraser Valley Real Estate Board, which includes Langley, turned over $25,000 to seven food banks across the region, $5,000 of which is being split between the two food banks in Langley – $2,500 to the Sources Langley Food Bank run out of the former United Church on 200th Street, and $2,500 to the faith-based Langley Food Bank on 203rd Street.

The biggest portion of the money raised by the realtors, specifically $10,500, is earmarked to Surrey Food Bank – the donation is divided proportionately based on the number of realtors represented in each community.

Hats off

Kudos to the Dress for Success team who rolled out the red carpet for a team of 10 women from Langley on Wednesday.

Dress for Success Vancouver is a registered charity committed to empowering women re-entering the workforce by providing career development tools, career advancement program, and professional attire.

An affiliate of the international organization Dress for Success, Vancouver DFSV was established in 1999 as the first international affiliate and has served more than 25,000 women in the Lower Mainland.

But, as you can imagine, there’s a bit of a barrier that exists for women in the Fraser Valley – including of course Langley to getting in to the Vancouver boutique and career centre.

In 2016 Dress for Success Vancouver partnered with AbbotsfordWorks to bring 10 women to the Dress for Success Vancouver boutique for a dressing services appointment and a makeover.

It was such a success, they’re doing it again – but on a bigger scale.

Actually, the event was conceived of as a one-time event, but due to a large demand for services and thanks to the generousity of RBC Foundation, 100 women from outlying communities are being served in 2018.

There’s already been at least two groups invited in for a Hope & Style Day, with each organization bringing in 10 women to the Vancouver Centre.

Wednesday was Avia Employment of Langley’s turn, and the local women made a full day of it receiving two outfits, makeovers, hair styling, photo shoots, and coaching from a career specialist.

The Hope & Style Days provide an opportunity to women who are unemployed and facing many challenges to take part in a what she calls a “positive, uplifting event,” said Dress for Success executive director Jennifer Halinda.

“This gives them the skills and confidence to succeed in work and in life,” she added.

After the 2016 Hope & Style Day all 10 women who participated found employment, recounted Diana Dufour-Zand who’s with AbbotsfordWorks – which is one of the groups participating again this year.

”Women who have participated in this event came away with a renewed sense of confidence, friendship and propelled from feelings of job search isolation. The smiles on their faces at the end of the day say it all! The efforts of this day have a ripple effect and are long lasting.”

This comes from an old friend who previously ran a consignment and second-hand shop in Maple Ridge and strived to achieve this same goal or local women through her store.

Wednesday’s experience meant a great deal to Carmen DSouza, reiterating her gratitude in a note to organizers.

“Today was so wonderful… it did give me a sense of empowerment, and I needed to feel that,” said DSouza.

“Thank you for making it possible… for taking the time to give us the talks, employment advice, for the yummy lunch, the WOW clothes, accessories and gifts and for making me feel beautiful head to toe after the makeover and photo session,” the Langley participant elaborated.

“Above all, it gave me a sense that Dress for Success is such a great cause and that there are so many people behind the scenes attributing to its success, especially the sponsor RBC. If you had this program in Langley I would most definitely volunteer.”

Kudos on these efforts, and good luck moving forward.

For more information about Dress for Success, people can go online.

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Avia Employment sent a team of 10 Langley women in to Vancouver to take part in the Dress for Success event. (Special to the Langley Advance)

Avia Employment sent a team of 10 Langley women in to Vancouver to take part in the Dress for Success event. (Special to the Langley Advance)

Avia Employment sent a team of 10 Langley women in to Vancouver to take part in the Dress for Success event. (Special to the Langley Advance)

Avia Employment sent a team of 10 Langley women in to Vancouver to take part in the Dress for Success event. (Special to the Langley Advance)

Avia Employment sent a team of 10 Langley women in to Vancouver to take part in the Dress for Success event. (Special to the Langley Advance)

Gopal Sahota is president of the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board, and they just donated $25,000 to seven food banks in the region. (Special to the Langley Advance)

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