Cory Redekop may still be a relatively new face at the Greater Langley Chamber of Commerce, but he’s not new in the chamber world, nor in Langley – for that matter.
The 36-year-old joined the local team after 12 years at the Burnaby’s equivalent of a chamber, plus he’s been a resident of Langley’s Willoughby area for the past six years.
“Fair to say I’m evangelical about the chamber network,” he said.
Fresh out of university – where he focused on politics and governance studies – he joined the Burnaby Board of Trade. Through a dozen years there, he worked in every capacity, from answering phones and organizing events to focusing on policy development.
When the chance arose to apply all he’d learned to a position in his own community, Redekop said he jumped at it.
“I’m a big believer of walking through doors that open,” he said, anxious to make the most of this opportunity.
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A big part of the mandate in his new job has been to re-engage the chamber with the business community – especially after COVID – meaning he’s been on the phone or making a lot of in-person visits to companies, to hear their concerns, learn about their challenges or growing pains, and trumpet their successes.
“In my view, a huge part of our role as a chamber is to be out there, be front facing, to be at the community table, to be on the field, on the ground,” Redekop said.
“What chambers really are, we’re economic development organizations… we don’t just throw parties. We’re conveyors of the business community. We don’t just complain about issues. We’re a champion for the challenges of the business community to find solutions. We don’t just wonder what’s going to happen with the community. We’re a catalyst for economic development. We’re doing all the things to make sure we have the DNA in place and the landscape in place for businesses to be successful and then, if an issue arises, we tackle that issue.”
During his visits and discussions, Redekop has learned a lot about the community, its people, and their “incredible” resilience.
On top of that, he’s been blown away by how “welcoming, opening, and inclusive” the business community has been – always making him feel welcome and always willing to share their experiences.
He’s actually met more business owners and operators in the past eight months with the Langley chamber than he met in all the years he worked in Burnaby.
“Every chamber is unique, like their community,” and he’s really enjoyed getting to know Langley better.
He continues to be impressed by the level of engagement of Langley’s business community, saying it bodes well for the current and future economic well-being of not only the businesses, but the community overall.
READ MORE: Langley chamber lauds drop in unemployment in B.C.
Being so engaged means, for him, attending an estimated 100 functions a year, where Redekop is always talking to people, as part of his job.
So asked about his off time, he said it’s “pretty boring.”
“I have a pretty quiet life to compensate for that,” he said.
He loves cooking and watching TV – HBO shows in particular – but nothing “too organized.”
His down time is about spending time with family – doing crafts with his eight-year-old daughter, Annabelle, or taking walks in the rain with his wife of 11 years, Meagan.
Team gives it their all
Admittedly, he said, chambers are not an industry people get into if they’re looking for a 9 to 5 job.
But if it’s diversity, community engagement, and a peppering of politics someone’s looking for, this could be a potential career path.
He commends his team, consisting of Bernice Hebbard and Jen Tirschman, with punching well above their weight-class in the chamber realm – juggling all they do in the way of events, plus all the behind the scenes work from advocacy to member benefits.
Returning to the level of close to 1,000 members, this chamber is one of the biggest in the province and on par with Burnaby, Tri-City, and Surrey – which he notes have more than double the population of Langley.
In addition to Redekop, there are two other staffers at the Greater Langley Chamber of Commerce.
Jen is the administrative lead for the Langley chamber. She joined in October 2022. She recently switched careers after 15 years as a registered massage therapist in Manitoba. In 2019 Jen decided to move to the Lower Mainland to be closer to her family and fell in love with living her best West Coast life here in Langley. In her spare time she enjoys taking road trips, and discovering new parks and trails with her dog, visiting farmers markets, and tasting new foods from all the diverse restaurants the area has to offer.
Bernice joined the Greater Langley Chamber of Commerce in November 2021. She has taken the role of our event coordinator. She’s a result-orientated professional bringing 20-plus years of experience in customer service, office operations, and event planning. Her diverse background is certainly an asset to the chamber. Bernice is responsible for sponsorships and planning, and managing events both in person and virtually. In her spare time, she enjoys road trips, singing out loud, and outdoor adventures with her husband and dog.
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