It’s always an exciting time to welcome new faces to the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce and this month, we’re opening our arms to six new members:

JK Wood and Associates
Mobile Transport Safety
Bluepoint Public Relations  –  a full-service public relations and communications consultancy located in Southern Ontario, Canada.
Joseph T. Santoro Professional Corporation provides professional legal services in a manner that is not only cost-effective but also develops clients’ trust and confidence.
Take 5 Oil Change Sarnia conveniently located at 646 Cathcart Blvd. in Sarnia, ON, where certified technicians are ready to serve you seven days a week.
Siskinds LLP The Law Firma team of over 230 lawyers and support staff covering personal, business, personal injury and class action law and over 25 specialized practice areas.

Please take every opportunity to reach out to these new members with a warm Chamber welcome!

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A program intended to generate new tourism-related initaitives in the Sarnia-Lambton area resulted in three finalists being selected by a group that included the Ontario Tourism Innovation Lab and Tourism Sarnia-Lambton.

At an event held at the Ipperwash Beach Club on Wednesday, Feb. 12, three finalists in a “Dragon’s Den” style competition each came away with $3,000 grants to pursue their tourism-related projects.

The winners (pictured left to right )included:

—Megan O’Neill, 100th of a Marathon Event, Lambton Shores;
—B0 Tait, Throwchella Event, Sarnia; and
—Kailyn Shepley and Anne Hazzard, Historical Story Walk, Port Lambton.

In addition to a source of funds and mentorship, winners will gain access to a network of tourism innovators, entrepreneurs, and leaders.

“We were excited to receive 21 applications from across Sarnia and Lambton County,” said Justin Lafontaine, Program Lead for the Ontario Tourism Innovation Lab. “We congratulate our pitch session winners and look forward to supporting them to help take their great new tourism ideas to the next level.”

Information on this initiative can be found online by clicking HERE.

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One of the programs that your Chamber offers to its membership is a savings of 3.5 cents per litre in fuel.  The program is easy to access and easy to use at any Esso or Mobil station in Canada.

It’s one of many ways membership in the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce continues to drive value.

Click HERE to register for the Esso Fuel Savings Program and get started on your new journey toward saving on every kilometre you drive!


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Part of telling your business story – and encouraging customers and potential customers to know, like, and trust you – is to share personal things that your audience can identify with. As is true in building any relationship, with social media for business it is important to let people in. You want them to see your business (and you) as someone who “gets” them and understands what they want and need.

However, you can share too much. Even with the increased desire on behalf of consumers to get to know companies they do business with, there’s still a line between effective sharing from a revenue perspective (it translates into more customers and greater retention) and the type of sharing that requires a public relations professional to smooth over the damage.

Why Share Anything at All?

If there’s a big risk of offending or turning off your audience, why share anything at all?  You should share with your audience for a number of reasons. First, getting them to know, like, and trust you is essential to winning their business. Secondly, people are more apt to share things they identify with or find meaning in. The more you share, the more your audience will respond with likes and shares. Those interactions help you reach your audience organically and indicate to the search engines that your content is worthwhile.

Factors in Sharing

The key to successful sharing to increase business depends on your audience and your type of business. Things that dictate the level of sharing you should do, and the topics you cover, include:

—The average age of your ideal customer and other key demographics of your buyer

—What you sell and the industry you work in

—Whether you are an independent entrepreneur/consultant or part of a larger enterprise

—Whether you own the company or not

—The tone of the company’s marketing communications

—Your end goal in the communications

While there isn’t an exact formula in deciding if something is too much, the better you understand your audience, the easier it is to grasp the appropriateness of content.

Things You Don’t Want to Share

As mentioned earlier, what to share depends on your audience, but the following things are general no-no’s for business as they tend to break relationships down instead of building them up. However, some of these topics may be integral to your business. For instance, a political consultant should share political commentary as her audience would expect that and desire it. A grocery store owner, on the other hand, may find it alienates his customers.

Politics, religion and other topics that divide

If you’ve ever defriended someone on Facebook because of their political rants, then you know why this is a divisive subject. Unless your business calls for it, your audience wants it, or your post has something to do directly with your business (like a proposed bill that will affect your industry), skip these types of posts.

Rants and whines

Your business account should be about helping people and building people up. You are a resource and a business. If your stream is filled with rants and whines, your audience will lose interest quickly.

Part of telling your business story – and encouraging customers and potential customers to know, like, and trust you – is to share personal things that your audience can identify with. As is true in building any relationship, with social media for business it is important to let people in. You want them to see your business (and you) as someone who “gets” them and understands what they want and need.

However, you can share too much. Even with the increased desire on behalf of consumers to get to know companies they do business with, there’s still a line between effective sharing from a revenue perspective (it translates into more customers and greater retention) and the type of sharing that requires a public relations professional to smooth over the damage.

Things to Share

So what should you share?

Share content that is helpful to your audience, or content you found helpful and why, inspirational content, content that provides (positive) insights into your life, and content that helps forge relationships and is not divisive. Examples of this type of content include:

“Moms and apple pie.” “Moms and apple pie” topics are largely regarded as loved by everyone. These include pictures of sunsets, kittens, puppies; videos of babies laughing or you goofing around waiting in line (everyone has to wait in line, right?); and posts on your favorite books (who can argue with the benefits of reading?).

Trivialities of Life. Marketer Kim Garst is known for doing this on Facebook. She asks questions like, “Night Owl or Early Riser?” They are so basic, but people really open up with them. She answers these questions herself and has built a very loyal tribe by using them.

Images. When in doubt use images from your life such as your view from your business, a trip you’ve taken, somewhere you’d like to go, your cat, your favorite recipe, or any number of things that interest you. Even selfies can be effective when they’re not all focused on your appearance.

A Final Word About Social Sharing

The key to successful sharing is envisioning your ideal customer and asking yourself if that person would find value in what you’re posting. Next, decide whether the post topic and the wording will bring you closer to that customer or push them away. Never shy away from sharing details about your life, but do so to build rapport and serve as a resource. In business even when you’re sharing things about you, it must always, ultimately, be about (and for) your audience.

This advice seems counterintuitive because I’m suggesting getting personal and then telling you not to get into your personal issues. The key difference here is the term “issues.” Share things about your personal life. However, don’t share old-school Howard Stern style, unless you’re trying to be the “shock jock” of your industry.

Instead, share personal challenges, hopes, dreams, even setbacks but do so in a helpful way. Look at everything you share through the lens of your audience. How is this post helping you to connect and assist them? For instance, if you recently had a health scare, there’s nothing wrong with sharing that, especially if you’re able to find a purpose behind the share by telling people why it’s important to get regular exams.

However, when you’re a business owner every social media post is an audition to see if someone wants to hire/do business with you. Keep this in mind with every post. Don’t share anything that will make people question your ability to do the job at hand. If they think your personal life is a mess, they will want to stay far, far away.


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“You have to have a diversity of viewpoints at the table to have an effective team.” – President Barack Obama

If you looked around the room at the Economic Club of Canada’s Future Skills: A Conversation with President Barack Obama event, you’d see a diverse crowd in age, race and gender. From students to young professionals to your own #TeamChamber, Canada’s future leaders gathered to examine what our workforce needs to prosper. The answer? People.

Our workforce needs people who are adaptable. Many argue that in today’s digital age, there’s not much that people do that a machine can’t do better. Our workforce shouldn’t resist this. We need to imagine new uses for human power because automation will never have the ability to contribute innovative ideas or have the capacity to set goals like people do. Those are what we call durable skills: skills that go beyond a specific job that you can take with you anywhere and that will never be obsolete, such as creativity, leadership and good communication. To create an adaptable workforce, it’s crucial that people harness their EQ (emotional quotient) and IQ (intelligence quotient) to find their AQ (adversity quotient) to help them adjust to the rapid changes that are happening to our workforce.

Our workforce needs people who are diverse.

Diversity is imperative for an effective workforce.

Our prosperity depends on ensuring all Canadians – from all sectors, regions and backgrounds – have the opportunity to take part in our society. Research shows that the most successful organizations are creating diversified and inclusive workplaces in which individual differences and the contributions of all employees are valued.

Our society needs to dismantle the barriers countless people face in order to access the talent and potential across the country. That’s why we’re committed to advocating for better mental health, accessibility and diversity in the workplace in order to help businesses take measures towards meaningful action.

Our workforce needs people who are leaders.

Canada’s future lies within its next generation of leaders. We need a culture of openness where young leaders have the ability to bring their ideas and insights forward. We need a culture that’s not risk-adverse, where decisions are information-based yet people are comfortable taking chances. We need a culture that binds together social, business and political communities rather than dividing them. We need a culture that gives future leaders hope.

Ultimately, our workforce is moving towards a culture shift, one tied to a sense of community in the institutions we are a part of. Canada’s next generation of leaders are tired of hearing about the future; they want to shape it, and diversifying our workforce is how we’ll do it.

To learn more about the workforce strategies that we are advocating, click here.

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In cooperation with Ontario’s Workplace Safety & Prevention Services, the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce is hosting a free presentation that outlines a “Road Map to Simple Safety Solutions” to be held at the Chamber’s offices on Friday, Feb. 28 at 3 p.m as part of our Frontline Essential Skills initiative.

Presented by Lori Shepherd, Regional Community Coordinator for Workplace Safety & Prevention Services, the information provided will include details on:

—Ontario’s health and safety system;
—Building a business case for safety;
—Benefits of investing in health and safety;
—Creating a Safety Road Map;
—Duties and responsibilities;
—Training and orientation.

Lori Shepherd has more than 25 years in the field of occupational health and safety. She connects with businesses and communities in southwestern Ontario, to share simple safety solutions.

To register for this FREE seminar click HERE.

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There are specific steps that Sarnia Lambton businesses can help to limit the spread of the coronavirus, the infection that began in mainland China and which has since found its way to North America and other regions of the world.

So says Lambton County’s medical officer of health, Dr. Sudit Ranade, who points to steps that can protect someone from influenza as being effective with this particular disease.

“Keep yourself as healthy as you can, get your flu shot, keep your immunizations up-to-date, wash your hands frequently, stay away from other people when you’re sick, cover your cough or sneeze to avoid contaminating other surfaces,” said Dr. Ranade.

Getting a flu shot is among the precautions that could be on a list, although it’s important to note there is no vaccine for the coronavirus or its variations.

“For local people, right now, there’s no recommendation other than do the things you would do to protect yourself from the regular flu season.”

As to the issue of the effectiveness of wearing a face mask, questions remain.

“In fact, there’s some suggestion that wearing a face mask while you’re healthy may put you at greater risk because you’re touching your face more often,” said Dr. Ranade.

The role of Lambton Public Health is to conduct surveillance for this type of disease, manage cases and contacts to prevent or control outbreaks and work with health system providers to ensure the community is prepared.

Lambton Public Health has also mobilized resources to be ready if needed.

“We’ve already got infection prevention and control, communicable disease control teams, and we’ve just made sure that they’re ready to go in case we need to start acting,” said Dr. Ranade.

It has been working with health system partners, including the hospital, “to have processes in place for diagnosis, testing and that type of thing,” he said.

Authorities are generally better prepared now than in 2003 when a provincial emergency was declared following a severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) outbreak, Ranade said.

The symptoms of the current virus can include fever and cough and are similar to other respiratory infections, such as flu.

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The entire Sarnia-Lambton community along with those connected with the business community are saddened this week by news of the passing of Marty Raaymakers, a longstanding member and past chair (2003) of the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce.

While Marty’s contributions to the community he loved so much cannot be overstated, it was clearly his enduring commitment to family and friends that stood out from so many other features.

A business leader who began his career with Monteith & Sutherland in 1972, Marty eventually became president and CEO of MIG Engineering.

By 2005, he had been awarded the Chamber’s Business Leadership Award and he was a board member at The Bowman Centre for Sustainable Energy as well as a contributing pioneer for a number of large energy projects.

A podcast interview with Marty done by Lambton Shield editor J.D. Booth last summer can be found HERE.

Having sold MIG Engineering In December 2018, Marty nevertheless stayed active professionally, as one of the founding partners of GFive Inc., developers of the former Sarnia General Hospital site.

His friends and particularly his family, notably his wife and best friend Pami (nee Free), his children and the 14 grandchildren (aged 3 to 27), will all attest to his enduring love for them.

He will clearly be missed.

Friends are being invited to celebrate Marty’s legacy on Wednesday, February 19, 2020, at the Sunbridge Hotel & Conference Centre (formerly the Holiday Inn), from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. As an expression of sympathy, friends who wish may send a memorial donation to River City Vineyard, Sarnia-Lambton Rebound, or any. other local charities in need.

A complete obituary can be seen at the McKenzie & Blundy Funeral Home & Cremation Centre Ltd. by clicking HERE.

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For most businesses, the About Us page on their website is one of the most viewed pages. Generally, it comes in second behind Pricing, not including the Home Page, of course.

Is that true for you?

If it is, you need to ensure it contains good quality content that makes readers feel a connection with your business. That’s why they go there in the first place. They’re looking to know more about you. If you don’t give it to them, you’re missing an opportunity to allow them into your world and make a connection. People buy from those they like.

But what makes an effective About Us page?

One that will resonate with your audience and that means having the following things:

1. Tell your story. That’s the whole point of this page but no one needs a history of your business. Instead, talk about what drives you—your why for being in business. Talk about your inspirations and dreams. If you have a special connection to the community, industry, your services, etc., share those.

2. Use pictures. Don’t paint a picture using only your words. Add images that will help people identify with you. The picture of your building can go on another page. You want pictures that will help people feel like they know you and your team.

3. Use video. Some people simply don’t want to read. Use a 1-3 minute video to connect to your audience.

4. Show the company pet. Who can say no to a cute furry face? Maybe you don’t believe in the power of pets. One business that has nothing to do with pets usually reaches about 20-30 people on Facebook. The owner posted a picture of a cat dressed like a shark during Shark Week and reached a whopping 750+ people because of shares and likes.

5. Add a subpage featuring your team bios and interesting things about them. Play up aspects of their personalities, hobbies, and/or interests that people will identify with.

6. Give your visitors something to do. This page is supposed to help them connect with you so don’t let them just X out of it after they get the warm and fuzzies about you. Direct them somewhere else on your site like a team page, customer success page, community service page, or somewhere else they can learn more about you. Do not direct them to buy your product. It’s too soon. Let them enjoy the date before asking about a wedding.

7. Show your audience something they will want to be a part of. Most real estate agents will tell you to remove personal pictures when selling your home. Staging experts suggest that personal pictures are distracting and take away from a potential buyer seeing themselves in the home. They think of it as your home, not their home. Instead, you want them to see themselves there, imagining BBQs in the backyard and making holiday memories by the fireplace. Your About Us page should invite your web visitors in the same way so that they can imagine what it would be like to be part of your customer “family.” Do this by sharing pictures of you having fun with customers or other examples of your connections to make them want to be affiliated with you.

8. Add social share buttons that make it easy for people to share what they’ve discovered about you.

9. Add a Tweetable quote. If you have some good inspirational quotes (maybe from your heroes, like dear old grandpa), make them tweetable so others can share them easily with a click or two.

10. Ditch your marketing lingo. Yes, seriously. This is not the time to use corporate speak like synergy and the rest. You want identifiable language that speaks to your ideal audience, not language used in business books. Speak like a human; connect like one.

Creating an About Page that increases conversions is easy; just think about how your best friend would talk about you and your business. Show how you help and why you love what you do. Those types of positive emotions are contagious and people will want to buy from you when you show them why.

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Lambton County Developmental Services (LCDS), a non-profit service agency committed to providing quality supports for people with developmental disabilities and contributing to our communities throughout the area, is celebrating its 65th anniversary in 2020.

The agency, which is a member of the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce, was founded in 1955 by a group of pioneering parents who dreamed of a meaningful life for their children beyond institutions.

This grassroots movement marked the establishment of the agency’s humble beginnings as the parents realized there was a gap in the education system with no structured learning environment for their children. The realization led to the opening of the first-ever school for people with developmental disabilities in Lambton County, which is located at the Lord Baden Powell House in Petrolia.

The rest is history.

LCDS strives to be a leader in the Developmental Service sector, providing the support that will enhance the growth of meaningful relationships, inclusive communities, and valued community roles for everyone. The Vision—Inclusive Communities-Innovative Leaders—is ultimately driven by the people and families it supports, who are at the heart of everything it does.

Their unique abilities, choices and dreams shape who the LCDS and how it provides services, one person at a time.

Our goal is to help each person to have a life that is truly meaningful to them and this helps us determine the types of programs we offer,” said Karen McClintock, who serves as Organizational/Community Relations Director. LCDS currently operates community participation, respite, educational, employment, supported volunteerism programs and many innovative residential options.

LCDS actively seeks ways to give back to the community with a focus on events and projects.  The organization continues to grow and provide innovative services even without increased government funding.

“Thankfully, through the success of our fundraising activities, responsible stewardship of funds, and advantageous partnerships, we have created much-needed services for people and their families.”

More information on the LCDS can be found at

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