VMBC Online Q&A Jam – May 21, 2020

Thank you to the VMBC members for attending our first ever live Q&A session! We appreciate all of your great questions and for sharing your expertise with us.
Stay tuned for information about VMBC’s upcoming events! We will continue to monitor the health situation on Vancouver Island and inform you of our decisions regarding future in-person meetings going forward.

Online Session for Small Business Owners and Independent Contractors with Debbie Hertz – April 30, 2020

Thank you again to Debbie Hertz with CFIB for your informative presentation today at VMBC’s first ever Zoom meeting!

Debbie shared with VMBC members all the actions the government is taking to help Canadian businesses and provided us with a valuable resource, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business.

Also, thank you to our VMBC members for attending and for all of the great questions. Wasn’t all of that information great? Thank you again Debbie, you rock!


Debbie Hertz’s Bio:

Debbie Hertz, served the business community in Victoria proudly. Debbie is a President’s Honour role Recipient, Canada’s largest Small Business Advocacy non-for-profit organization with 110,000 members.

Debbie’s background of having two businesses of her own, one a Dental Management Consulting Business and the other a Marketing Company for Small Business has enabled her to understand the challenges and successes of small business and to better understand their needs.

A master networker Debbie developed Mastermind Groups in Victoria for Small Business, Professional Connections and The Phoenix Mastermind Group.

Debbie’s goal in business is always the same – be the best you can be every day and serve people with excellence. Debbie has travelled the world and has found that people make all the difference.

Challenges of Canada’s Newcomers and Opportunities in Canada’s Thriving Construction Industry – February 20, 2020

Thank you to our expert speaker Linda Ryan, from BCCA Integrating Newcomers, for sharing her professional insights of the experience of newcomers and for the detailed tips and knowledge of Canada’s construction industry. Linda presented very real and valuable advice for VMBC’s guests, further encouraging engagement between people, networks and resources!


Linda Ryan’s Bio:

Linda Ryan, coach, consultant and change management specialist, has dedicated her career to working with multiple stakeholders; bringing people and process together. Hands-on experience in management, corporate communications and leadership coaching has enabled her to support semi-state, for-profit and not-for profit initiatives grow their impact.

A dual Irish-Canadian citizen and Vancouver Islander, Linda builds collaborations within Canada’s construction industry between employers, professional bodies and settlement services as an Employment Liaison for the BC Construction Association-Integrating Newcomers (BCCA-IN) program.

Integrating Newcomers is a nationally funded pre-arrival program for PR approved applicants by Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) that helps newcomers outside of Canada successfully settle anywhere within Canada. Linda ensures skilled immigrants successfully transition their careers and lives in Canada creating stronger communities, industries and economies.

Business is a Force for Good with Kristi Rivait – January 28, 2020

Thank you to our expert speaker Kristi Rivait for talking about the ways both not for profit and businesses create change and integrate social change into their business. Kristi also touched upon new social impact business and the opportunities for social impact investment on Vancouver Island.


Kristi Rivait’s Bio:

Kristi Rivait brings 10+ years of executive level experience as a social entrepreneur. Kristi was the Director of Fund Development for Vision Vancouver before the 2008 elections where she learnt what it took to build capacity necessary to scale. From 2010-2014, Kristi was the Executive Director of Oaklands Community Centre where she increased staff salaries by 25%, purchased real estate, started a successful social enterprise and doubled the organization’s budget.

It was at this point that Kristi co-founded Scale Collaborative. Social change organizations must diversify their operational budgets to be effective and Kristi coaches leaders on how best to accomplish this. Kristi brings years of experience managing cross sector partnerships in reaching common goals, from local campaigns to national level networks.

Christmas Cheer at Axe & Grind – November 27, 2019

What a great party and who knew throwing an axe was so thrilling! ! This year, VMBC celebrated Christmas at Axe & Grind! Thank you to Danny Hamilton for offering us a very exclusive VMBC Members only special discount and hosting VMBC at such a great event!


Axe & Grind brings Canadian backyard sports indoors so that guests can experience something new with family & friends! Before each session, experienced staff teaches how to throw axes in a safe and fun environment. Once you hear the satisfying thud of an axe into wood, you’ll be hooked!

Lessons from a Journey from There to Here with Robert Volkwyn – October 3, 2019

Thank you to our expert speaker Robert Volkwyn for sharing with us his experience and the lessons learned when moving to a new country. Robert gave valuable advice to the fellow migrants on what steps they need to take to make their professional and personal journey in Victoria a success.


Robert Volkwyn’s Bio:

Robert Volkwyn has more than 30 years business experience, mostly as an entrepreneur. He founded his first company, a successful South African municipal software business in 1990. In 1995, he founded his second company, one that provided mapping software to customers all around the globe. After moving to Canada in 2015, he founded his third company which offers management consulting services. Beyond his success in business, Robert is also the author of the book, The Strategic Value of Data.

His curious nature has led him to explore many diverse subjects ranging from business coaching, self-esteem facilitation, an interest in nutrition, homeopathic modalities, and even tennis coaching! This has led to his being licensed as a facilitator of The Change Journey and a Neethling Brain Profiling Practitioner. He thrives on solving complex problems. His qualifications include a Chartered Engineer, a certified Project Management Professional, a Chartered IT Professional, and an MBA.

Robert hails from Johannesburg, South Africa and now lives in Victoria with his wife and family.

The Art of Leadership with Roger Junker – September 24, 2019

This month our expert speaker, Roger Junker and our Q&A host Ross Prendergast, touched upon their leadership experiences detailing things to know to be a great leader and tips on how to lead better.

Robert and Ross touched on their success and shared valuable skills and practices they’ve incorporated into their professional lives and related their experiences to the acclaimed Jim Pattison’s model for success.


Roger Junker’s Bio:

Roger Junker, one of the leading Store Managers of Save-On-Foods, was born and raised in British Columbia. He started his career in the food retail industry when he worked for Safeway in 1983. After acquiring valuable business experience, he made the decision to further his leadership skills by attending Business School. After his studies, he returned to the Fast-Moving Consumer Goods industry where he rapidly advanced through various managerial positions.

Roger’s impressive management track record has allowed him to train twelve Store Managers to become his assistants. His leadership has been credited as “the best in the business”!


Escape Room Challenge – June 13, 2019

What a great party! For this Summer Mixer, VMBC hosted an Escape Room event. VMBC guests were divided into 4 teams of 3-5 members each. Each team was provided an escape room package which included all the necessary tools to solve the puzzles within. Teams were then given 1 hour to fully complete the escape room challenge.

Despite the challenging and seemingly impossible task, we did have one team victorious and multiple teams minutes away from victory.


Afterwards, VMBC guests had an opportunity to mingle and network while enjoying fresh fruits, chips, and snacks. That was a great brain exercise to end the day!

We hope you enjoy your summer holidays and we will see you all again in September!

Facing the Victoria renting challenge with Hunter Boucher – May 3, 2019

Rental agreements, their implications and conflicts are a large and complicated topic. We are so happy that Hunter Boucher was kind enough to share his expertise with us this month and answer all the questions from VMBC’s guests regarding meeting the challenges of renting in Victoria.


Hunter Boucher’s Bio:

Hunter Boucher, Director of Operations, LandlordBC, worked in the rental housing industry for 9 Years as a help line resource for landlords across the province. He also works closely with the Residential Tenancy Branch through its Industry Stakeholder Committee.

Skills Needed To Be an Entrepreneur with Larry Earnhart – April 17, 2019

In this month’s informative presentation, Larry Earnhart explains the skills needed to become an entrepreneur and details his own experience as an entrepreneur of over three decades in both Canada and the U.S.


Larry discusses the process of starting a small business from where to find available funding and raising capital to the different types of business models and their requirements.


Larry Earnhart’s Bio:

Larry Earnhart is a Business Coach and Consultant with more than three decades’ experience running, advising and launching businesses in the U.S. and Canada. With his Ph.D. in Chemistry and an MBA, Larry has managed teams of up to 75 people for chemical companies producing more than $300 million of product annually. . Since moving to Canada from the US he has bought, managed and sold several companies, including stints as a financial advisor, a restaurateur and owner of a franchise handyman business. Larry also teaches business courses in Entrepreneurship, Operations Management, International Business and Investments as an adjunct Professor with University Canada West.