It's hard to believe that after spending more than 30 years in the community newspaper industry, that I'm not more jaded and skeptical.
While there's undoubtedly a bit of an endorphin rush that still comes with covering the breaking news stories, and rushing to get that information to you - our readers - I still love and prefer to share the good news stories with you.
So it's no surprise that a lot of time and space in this column through the years has been dedicated to positive and uplifting things that local business people are doing in our community.
One such tidbit crossed my desk this week that's worth sharing. The staff at Aldergrove Financial Group have again united for the sake of the community. They raised more than $15,000 for the United Way of the Fraser Valley.
In itself, that might not seem like a significant contribution. But given that the credit union team frequently steps up to help the community's less fortunate, downtrodden, needy, and vulnerable, makes this announcement much more impressive.
The United Way raises funds annually to provide essential social service grants to local agencies, resulting in a strong safety net of services available to individuals in need, explained the credit union's CEO Gus Hartl.
"Each year the United Way helps hundreds of children and families who are in need of support," he elaborated. "Through personal staff donations and fundraising, our staff continue to make a difference in the lives of many individuals while supporting the community."
Kudos to the 130 staff members who managed to raise $15,500 for United Way. Keep up your great work.
Tap into marketing ideas
A marketing expert from Abbotsford will be speaking to Walnut Grove business owners later this month.
Patrick Giesbrecht, president of the Abbotsford Chamber of Commerce and a senior partner in a marketing firm, has been invited to lead a workshop for the Walnut Grove Business Association.
The meeting, called Business After Hours, is being held in the RBC conference room on Wednesday, Jan. 23. Geisbrecht will share his secrets about delivering massive marketing value to a business' database at little or no cost.
The workshop runs from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., and pre-registration is required by calling 1-604-850-5095 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
The chamber is mixing things up, and targeting Langley's young entrepreneurs - our existing and future community leaders. Smart move.
Last week, I told you about the Greater Langley Chamber of Commerce's dinner meeting next Tuesday, where oilsands expert Don Thompson will discuss Canada's energy advantage. These are always great meetings, but not always convenient for some entrepreneurs, and sometimes a little pricey for struggling business owners.
Recognizing that, the local chamber continues to grow its events calendar to include more, and their calendar just got a little busier starting this month.
Now, there's another new and potentially exciting networking opportunity being rolled out, explained chamber events coordinator Jaclyn Van Den Berg.
"We are really looking forward to our January event schedule," she said. "On top of our regular networking opportunities at our dinner, breakfast and Open Late for Business events, we are now offering a special networking event for the under 40 crowd: U40 Monthly Mingles. The new year offers something for everyone in the Langley chamber."
The chamber also has the established Business Breakfast Club, which this month is being held Wednesday, Jan. 30 at the abc Country Restaurant starting at 7 a.m. This month Sherri-Lee Pressman will address social media.
For those looking for a different kind of evening networking opportunity, there's the Open Late for Business. This free forum not only encourages business people to mix and mingle, but it is hosted at a different business each month, giving those business owners a chance to showcase their company's produces or services and facilities. This month's meeting is Thursday, Jan. 31, from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. at the Valley First Aid on Duncan Way.
To pre-register for any of these, call the chamber at 604-530-6656, or email email@example.com.
Now, if you haven't overdosed on networking opportunities, there might be something new coming to town.
Fraser Valley Business Network offers networking lunches and professional development events. The group started online (www.fraservalleybusinessnetwork.com) two years ago, and began face-to-face meetings in Abbotsford last fall. In just three months, attendance doubled to 60, and founder Jennifer Henczel is planning to create new meetings in Langley - among other communities - in 2013.
Stay tuned. I'll let you know if it comes to fruition.