Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce – CEO Introductory Breakfast

From left to right, Partner Shaun Carpenter, Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce CEO Catherine Holt, Partner George Madden

PFM Executive Search recently hosted 30 key Victoria area business and community leaders at a private breakfast to introduce the new CEO of the Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce (the Chamber). It was held at the newly renovated Fairmont Empress Hotel which was fitting given the historic nature of both the Chamber and the Empress hotel in the city and also with both organizations embarking on new beginnings. Catherine Holt has taken up the CEO role with the Chamber after a national search process conducted by George Madden and Shaun Carpenter from PFM Executive Search.

As the new CEO, Catherine is working with diverse community groups, as well as the Board and the Chamber membership, to ensure a continued focus on issues that impact the vitality of the business community in the Greater Victoria area. The Chamber has been the business voice for the region since 1861 and has always represented a cross-section of viewpoints that have allowed the Victoria area to prosper over the decades. As Victoria is the provincial capital, the Chamber has a front and center opportunity to shape political opinion and help ensure the small business community is the economic driver throughout the entire province of British Columbia.

The breakfast offered an opportunity for Catherine to outline her plans for the future as CEO and how important it is for the Chamber to have a sharp focus on initiatives which will enhance the quality of life for residents in the region, as well as spur new business opportunities on Southern Vancouver Island.

PFM Executive Search regularly hosts events for key community leaders, allowing the chance for attendees to network and hear innovative thoughts and ideas around new initiatives. Our firm has recruited dozens of senior leaders to a variety of organizations in the Victoria area over the years and is recognized as a leading executive search firm in Canada.

Catherine Holt – Chief Executive Officer with the Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce

Al Hasham, Chair of the Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce, has announced the Board of Directors has selected Catherine Holt as its incoming CEO. Catherine was hired after a thorough and rigorous selection process led by PFM Executive Search which included careful consideration of more than 70 candidates coast to coast by the CEO Search & Selection Committee of the Board.

Catherine succeeds Bruce Carter as head of the Greater Victoria Chamber.

In making the formal announcement in Victoria, Al Hasham as Chair said “ We are delighted to have a person of Catherine’s calibre at the helm of the Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce. The Board of Directors is confident in Catherine’s ability to lead The Chamber.”

“I’m looking forward to getting to know the members of The Chamber and to providing them with great service,” said Catherine Holt. “Member involvement is essential and it allows the Chamber to do its part to make Victoria a great place to live and do business.”

“I take great pride in the Chamber and our members and all that we have accomplished in the community” said Bruce Carter. “I look forward to working with Catherine during the turnover and beyond.”

Quick Chamber Facts:

• More than 1,400 members, representing private, non-profit and public organizations throughout Greater Victoria, from Sooke to Sidney.
• Board of Directors comprises of 17 people.
• Second largest chamber of commerce in B.C.
• Largest business association in Greater Victoria.
• 57 events in 2015, attended by more than 4,500 people.
• The Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce has been in operation since 1863.

The Chamber is funded by businesses to support business. It works to strengthen the region’s business community by acting as the voice of business through networking events, mentorship opportunities, professional development activities and other unique programming.

Catherine Holt Biography

Catherine has a diverse background spanning more than three decades. She has worked at the executive level and has a proven history of providing leadership on complex and difficult issues using sound judgment, discretion and creative strategies. She has worked with private sector clients, such as Spectra Energy, IBM, and SNC-Lavalin, providing strategic advice on public policy and government decision-making processes that affect their interests.

Catherine has worked extensively with not-for-profits, including the BC Safety Authority, and the Land Title and Survey Authority of BC, focusing on improving stakeholder relations, designing and recruiting boards of directors, strategic planning, evaluating new lines of business and organizational design.

While Catherine’s clients have been mainly B.C.-based organizations, she have also worked for national organizations and for clients in Alberta and the Yukon, as well as on public service improvement projects in the Middle East and South Africa.

Catherine has an interest in public policy and the improvement and transformation of public services. Most recently, she was the Strategic Business Advisor to the CEO of TransLink, and has done extensive work with BC Transit, BC Assessment Authority, and other public entities and First Nations organizations.

Catherine has a Master of Arts from the University of Western Ontario and a Bachelor of Arts from the University of British Columbia.

Work History
• President and Principal Consultant, Sage Group Management Consultants (1998-2016)
• Associate Faculty, Masters of Business Administration Program, Royal Roads University (2003-present)
• Assistant Deputy Minister, Government of B.C. (1992-1997)
• Cabinet Communications Adviser, Government of Yukon (1989–1992)
• Producer, CBC/Radio-Canada, Toronto and Whitehorse (1983 –1997)
• Treasury Board Analyst and Legislative Intern, Government of B.C. (1981–1983)

Community Service
• Chair, Finance Committee, Victoria Police Board
• Board Member, BC Gaming Commission
• Founding Chair, Vancouver Island School of Art
• Founding Board Member, Child and Nature Alliance of Canada.
• Founding Board Member, Victoria Cycling Adventures

To learn more about this appointment, please click here.

Our search firm, based in Vancouver, along with our Panorama Global Search Partners, provides outstanding facilitation of large and diverse Search & Selection Committees in our work with private, public and not-for-profit organizations. The hallmark of success for PFM Executive Search over the last 23-years has been our ability to develop a strong working relationship with Boards and Selection Committees in creating a seamless process that nets proven results for our clients.