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Estevan Chamber of Commerce’s executive director wins national award

Jackie Wall recognized for numerous initiatives to promote Estevan's business community.
Jackie Wall, middle, with her Executive of the Year Award from the Chamber of Commerce Executives of Canada. Pictured with her are Elissa LaLiberte from the Sask. Chamber of Commerce on the left, and Karla Wiens from the Swift Current Chamber of Commerce.

ESTEVAN - The executive director for the Estevan Chamber of Commerce has earned a national recognition. 

Jackie Wall was named the Executive of the Year by the Chamber of Commerce Executives of Canada for chambers with fewer than 500 members. The award was presented at their national convention in Ottawa on Thursday night in front of delegates from across the country.

“First of all, I was really humbled and shocked I was nominated, to be honest. It’s not something I think about,” said Wall.  

The chamber currently has 331 members, which Wall said is the highest level in eight years.   

Wall was nominated in the spring by the Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce and Carla Wiens with the Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce.  

“It was fantastic to know that my peer network thinks so highly of the work that we’re doing at the Estevan chamber,” said Wall. 

Not only did she have to agree to be nominated, there was a large package that both Wall and her nominators had to complete. Reference forms had to be collected and specific information was needed on memberships, growth retention rates and financial statements from previous years.  

The winner must be the chief staff person for a chamber of commerce or board of trade in Canada; must have worked for that chamber or board of trade for at least three years; and must be a member of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce.  

Wall has been the executive director for the Estevan chamber since 2015.

A bio that was read off during the ceremony noted that Wall is described as “resilient, tenacious and always willing to implement high-impact initiatives” that benefit the chamber and the community.  

The chamber’s market penetration is at 46 per cent, compared to the national average for a community of this size of 27 per cent. Membership retention is at 95 per cent.  

It was also noted that the Estevan chamber has developed an innovative project to address labour market challenges in the province; has worked with the University of Regina on micro-credential development on retaining and retraining for new industry needs; has taken a leadership role in addressing the future of power generation in the area; and has worked with the local business incubator centre to be a resource on e-commerce.  

“This individual is an inspiration to those they work with, and instills a renewed sense of purpose and a greater understanding of the important work chambers do,” said Debbi Nicholson, the president and CEO of the Greater Sudbury Chamber of Commerce, in reading off the bio. 

Wall noted that the bio was read off before she was announced as the winner. 

“Within the first few sentences, I was thinking ‘That kind of sounds like our chamber, but it could be another chamber, right?’” said Wall. 

Once they discussed power generation and the Estevan chamber’s lobbying efforts, she knew that she was the winner.  

In her victory speech, Wall said she felt the award was such an honour because the bar is set so high by other chambers in Canada.   

“You come to these things feeling like you need to do so much more, and yet are inspired by so much more that you could do,” said Wall, who thanked her chamber colleagues for the guidance and inspiration.  

Wall said she shares the award with the local chamber members. The work she has been doing is because of what Estevan is going through and the feedback of the members. 

“When I get that information, it’s my job to put it forward in the best way that I can. I think that was a huge factor. It’s everything Estevan has gone through, and how hard we’ve worked at the chamber to make sure that our members’ voices are being heard.”