Rotarian Yakov Sobolev introduced CEO Jill Raycroft of the Belleville Chamber of Commerce as the lunch speaker at the Rotary Club of Belleville.  With a combination of 20+ years in the post-secondary education sector and 30+ years volunteering for various causes, Jill brings a dynamic blend of experience and education to serving the community she loves and lives in.  Following a 17 year career at Loyalist College, going back to school for her MBA, raising two children, running for Mayor in 2014 and volunteering with numerous committees and organizations, she finally found her place in the community with the Belleville Chamber of Commerce in 2017.
The Chamber helps business prosper, connect and share.  Through the strength of the Chamber network across the country, organizations grow and prosper with membership being as diverse as the organizations who join.  The Chamber connects members to each other and the community, representing them at all levels of government, municipal, provincial and federal.  The Chamber shares the influence of their voice to impact change for the communities they serve.  The Chamber is celebrating 160 years in 2024, was accredited in 2020.  They are governed by a volunteer Board of Directors, 15 in number, and operate by the Board Trade Act, Part II.
The membership is 500+ strong and is well balanced with professional services, building and renovation, shopping and specialty retail, food and drink, social services and not-for-profit, arts, entertainment and recreation, advertising, publishing and promotion, property sales, development and services, healthcare and many more.  The benefits of belonging include doing business with those they know and  trust as well as networking opportunities and information that keeps you up-to-date on Chamber events, member news and programs of interest.
2019 was the transformation year, re-branding, coming up with new ways to do things.  The plan was to reap the rewards in 2020, but then along came a pandemic and dollars were needed to support small business as it became evident how vital the businesses were and how important it was to recognize the people around the businesses.  The Annual President's Dinner became an opportunity to celebrate the members by presenting Cornerstone Awards, Life Achievement awards and presenting a Key To The Cabin, the Rotary Club of Belleville being the first, celebrating 100 years of working together on events such as the Waterfront Festival, Hometown Hockey, Santa Claus Parade, Family FUNfest and Touch-a-Truck.  Jill is looking forward to how the Chamber and Rotary might realign as partners with intention for the "betterment of the community" as it was resolved to do back in 1923.  Many thanks from Jill to Rotary for their audience, for always aspiring to do more and to look at avenues to stay connected in the future.