After merger, former West Ottawa board CEO looks to advocacy work

Former West Ottawa Board of Trade Sueling Ching has launched a new consulting firm that will work closely with the new Ottawa Board of Trade.

One of west Ottawa’s prominent business leaders will tackle issues such as women in leadership alongside the freshly merged board of trade.

Sueling Ching, formerly the CEO of the West Ottawa Board of Trade, has launched a consulting firm focused on advocacy work.

Ching tells OBJ that while she was thrilled with the high-level leadership role at WOBOT, the shift in executive positions after the organization merged with the Ottawa and Orléans chambers of commerce this past summer allowed her to branch out and take on more issue-driven projects.

“Where my heart really lies is in the advocacy work,” she says.

She’ll keep her close ties with the regional business group; her consultancy’s first two projects are with the Ottawa Board of Trade, focused on the organization’s executive membership program and advancing women in leadership positions.

The new board has a variety of membership tiers, with some offering more advocacy opportunities in exchange for higher fees. Ching will work with the “executive membership,” an option available to businesses in the top two tiers of the board’s members, which will look to set economic priorities with the municipal government.

"Where my heart really lies is in the advocacy work."

She’ll also continue an initiative to promote women’s leadership in local businesses, community groups and public life in general. WOBOT had recently created the Women Wine Wisdom event series, which looked to inspire individuals to step into leadership roles and foster a supportive environment for women in business.

“What we want to do now is to take it one step further,” Ching says, adding that the event will continue and a new group will look to advance policy progress in this area.

Having the combined weight of all three regional chambers behind these initiatives will do wonders for advocacy work of all forms, Ching says. She believes the triple merger was “long overdue,” and likely should’ve happened back when Ottawa was first amalgamated in 2001.

While the three disparate organizations would often collaborate on events and advocacy issues, she says it was difficult to make progress when their mandates were only for specific areas of the city.

“We were also trying to run multiple agendas and it just didn’t make sense.”

The combined Ottawa Board of Trade will allow the organization to “step more fully” into its primary responsibility as the voice of local business community, Ching adds.

While her consulting firm doesn’t have a formal name yet, Ching is looking forward to working with the board of trade and other clients on strategic planning, communications and consolidation work – similar to the merger she just helped to execute.