Trade centre joins forces with chamber of commerce
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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 19/02/2022 (225 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Mariette Mulaire is stepping down as the CEO of the World Trade Centre Winnipeg and the organization is physically moving in with the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce.
Budgetary efficiencies and some uncertainties about its role as the province’s export development agency has led to the restructuring.
While the move may look like the WTC will be integrated into the chambers’ operations it will still retain an independent board and will still maintain its contracts with the federal and provincial governments including running the Trade Accelerator Program and the various support services of the Business InfoCentre.
Mulaire and the former CEO of the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce, Dave Angus, secured the WTC licence 10 years ago. Since then she has served on the international organization’s board for many years including in the vice-chair role.
“I’m really, really happy with how we got the WTC to Winnipeg,” said Mulaire.
She said she is confident the new arrangement will mean the organization’s work will continue.
“I’ve been able to promote Winnipeg like crazy and the organization became one of the province’s economic development agencies,” she said. “It has been very gratifying being been able to work so directly with many Manitoba businesses.”
Mulaire was formerly the head of the bilingual organization called ANIM that became inactive when the WTC licence was acquired. But her work in attracting Francophone businesses to Manitoba met with all sorts of success over the years.
She personally had a hand in the attraction of several high-profile enterprises who eventually made significant investments in Manitoba including Roquette, Ubisoft, Alt Hotels and Spa Nordik. She was also the driving force behind the very successful Centralia events that brought all sorts of business people from around the world to Winnipeg.
Diane Gray, the CEO of Centreport and the former chair of the WTC board said, “Mariette is underappreciated for the small-a ambassadorship work she has done that has put Winnipeg and Manitoba on the map not only in the global Francophone community but through the WTC network. I don’t think people realize the amazing job she has done at that.”
The organization’s move downtown to the chamber offices on Portage Avenue also helps resolve the uncertainties over its current location at the former St. Boniface city hall on Provencher Boulevard.
Fiona Webster-Mourant, chair of the WTC Winnipeg board and president, Manrex Limited, said the organization looks forward to the move downtown.
“Ideally when we bring people to the city we want them to come downtown to a prominent space and also we’ll be able to participate in the repopulating the downtown as it reopens,” she said.
In the larger scheme of things the move is not so unusual in that WTC operations in Toronto, Montreal, Edmonton and Vancouver are all similarly connected to chambers of commerce or boards of trade in those cities.
Loren Remillard, the CEO of the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce, welcomes the move.
“While we have always worked closely with WTC it will be even more so now with them co-located. It will allow us to be able to work directly with them on a day to day basis,” he said.
The move is partly driven by economic realities. With public sector funding becoming more challenging to access — the WTC has been forced to trim its own staff over the past couple of years — creating better operating efficiencies by sharing back office and operating infrastructure with the chamber was seen as an important move for the sustainability of the organization.
Mulaire, who is on the board of directors of the Bank of Canada, will stay in her position at the WTC until the end of April.
She said she will take some time off and then look forward to embarking on new ventures.
Martin Cash has been writing a column and business news at the Free Press since 1989. Over those years he’s written through a number of business cycles and the rise and fall (and rise) in fortunes of many local businesses.
Updated on Saturday, February 19, 2022 3:02 PM CST: Changes "end of month" to "April"