The Ottawa Board of Trade removed the “interim” tag from its leader’s title on Wednesday, officially naming Sueling Ching as its permanent president and CEO.
Ching, who previously led the West Ottawa Board of Trade before it merged with its counterparts in central Ottawa and Orléans in 2018, had been serving as the Ottawa board’s head since last September.
“I’m really excited about the role, and I’m very honoured to work alongside a lot of the business and community leaders that we have in Ottawa,” Ching told OBJ Wednesday afternoon. “I think Ottawa’s got a fantastic future ahead of it.”
Ching is no stranger to the business advocacy realm. In addition to spending three years as CEO of the West Ottawa Board of Trade, she acted as an executive director of Brockville’s chamber of commerce, later leading that region’s YMCA as CEO for several years.
Board chairman Ian Sherman praised Ching for her leadership and advocacy skills, saying she’s the right person to take charge of the organization in its post-amalgamation era.
“She has demonstrated the ability to envision and execute on a plan to scale up our organization and support the evolving needs of our business community in a global economy,” he said in a statement.
Ching said the Board of Trade plays a “key role as an advocate” for local businesses to all three levels of government. The organization also hosts networking events such as the popular Mayor’s Breakfast series and runs skills workshops in addition to offering members perks such as discounts on gasoline.
Among her priorities, she said, is seeking input from members to come up with more “tactical, timely ways to help our businesses grow.” As an example, she pointed to an accelerator program the organization launched last year to help companies tap into global markets.
Ching also said diversifying the organization’s membership is another key item on her to-do list. The board is funded almost entirely through annual fees which range from $250 to nearly $3,000 depending on the level of services members receive.
“Membership growth is important to us,” she said. “More members gives us the ability to further expand how we can support more members.”
Ching replaces former president and CEO Ian Faris, who left the job last fall after six years at the helm of the organization.