We often refer to board members at the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce. But who are these people? What’s their background and what’s their vision for an organization that has been helping local businesses grow for more than a century?

This week we introduce Ryan Bell, who began his career as a lawyer after graduating from Western Law and joining GMSB—formally known as George, Murray, Shipley & Bell LLP.

Not unsurprisingly, the “Bell” in the firm is his father, D’Arcy Bell. And equally unsurprising is the fact that the firm has been a Chamber member “for longer than anyone can remember,” says Ryan, who became a board member at the Chamber in 2015 and is currently first vice chair.

A “born and raised” Sarnian, Ryan first attended King George Public School, then Northern Collegiate. He then went to McMaster University for his undergraduate degree (in philosophy).

In his youth, he was active in local minor sports, most notably curling, in which he achieved success at the regional and provincial level representing the Sarnia Golf and Curling Club and Northern.

He worked as a summer student for several years at GMSB before joining the firm as an associate upon his call to the Bar in 2014.

Not unlike his father, Ryan is focused in real estate, wills and estates, corporate/commercial, and municipal law, and he looks forward to forging long-lasting relationships with his father’s clients as well as new ones.

Ryan is married to Lila Palychuk, who is an accountant at MPW Chartered Professional Accountants. His younger brother, Graham, is a financial adviser at Barill & Company in Sarnia, and Ryan’s mother, Janis, is a retired nurse.

Outside of work, Ryan is an avid home cook and enjoys many outdoor pursuits. He also has a passion for reading, writing, indie music, and video games. 

In addition to his role as a director on the board of the Chamber, Ryan serves as Chair of the Sarnia Lambton Children’s Aid Society and also sits on the board of the Dow Centre for Youth.

Ryan believes the highest priority of the Chamber is implementing the new strategic plan that was adopted in 2018, one that looks to meet the challenges facing Chambers across Canada by restructuring memberships, engaging youth, embracing technology, and (as always) helping members grow their business in a changing world.

“I believe that we have to be progressive and inclusive in order to foster a vibrant business community moving forward,” he added.