Gabriola Island Chamber of Commerce
Supporting and Growing Local Businesses since 1984
The Gabriola Island Chamber Story
The Gabriola Island Chamber of Commerce was established in 1984. The Chamber members are a diverse group of entrepreneurs and family-owned enterprises. Members work together for the common good of our island community by providing services, support, and networking opportunities for business to succeed.
The Chamber is managed by a volunteer Council which is elected by its members. These Councillors sit on a wide variety of committees to ensure that the Gabriola business community is represented in the decisions made for our island. The Chamber also employs two professional contract staff. The work of the Chamber is carried out by staff, volunteer committees, and task forces.
The Gabriola Island Chamber relies on membership dues and fundraising events to support its activities. Destination BC provides operational funding for the Visitor Centre.
Expanding into Economic Development
In 2016, the Gabriola Chamber began the exploration and creation of a local economic development plan. The grassroots initiative envisioned sustainable economic growth rooted in island values and presented actions towards building local resiliency through collaboration.
With the support of Island Coastal Economic Trust and Community Futures Central Vancouver Island, the Gabriola Economic Readiness Plan was developed through wide community engagement and facilitated sessions with residents, business owners, and local organizations.
In 2017, the Community Economic Development initiative was underway when the Gabriola Chamber saw an opportunity to hold a Service Agreement with the Regional District of Nanaimo for Tourism and Economic Development.
With the Service Agreement in place, the Chamber applied for and was awarded funding from the BC Rural Dividend for implementation of the Economic Readiness Plan.
In March 2018, the Economic Development Advisory Group was formed as the advising body for the Community Economic Development Officer.
The Economic Development Advisory Group is an integral part of the Community Economic Development initiative as they represent the whole of the population. Their input, direction and advisement encourage positive community, environmental and social impacts as well as build a resilient, robust and sustainable local economy. In May of 2018, Julie Sperber was hired as the Community Economic Development Officer.
Chamber Staff and Volunteers
Julie Sperber is passionate about local economies being vibrant, sustainable and reflecting the unique community values, strengths and challenges that exist in each place.
She has been directly involved in the Gabriola economy as a business owner for over 10 years. Her local entrepreneurial pursuits ranged from studio jeweller to coffee roaster to restauranteur. She is a natural connector and outside the box thinker and has been positively engaged in the community since she arrived in 2007.
Julie’s favourite part of the job is that the work is focused on increasing positive impacts island-wide.
Danna Briscoe is proud to be a part of the community on Gabriola Island. She has an extensive background in customer service and a marketing education. Her strongest skills are problem-solving and effective communication. She believes in building a sustainable economy, supporting local businesses, environmental justice and eco-conscious practices.
The Chamber Administrator offers support in organizational management, communication, and community development in consultation with the Membership Committee and the Executive Director.
With the help of our team of dedicated volunteers and funding from Destination BC, the Gabriola Chamber runs the island’s Visitor Centre in the heart of the village core.
We love our volunteers! If you or someone you know has a love and passion for our beautiful island; likes interacting with and meeting people; and enjoys sharing knowledge about Gabriola, then helping at the Gabriola Visitor Centre is the perfect volunteer position for you.
Contact Julie and let her know!
- Economic Development Advisory Group
- Gabriola Food Hub, Good Earth Farm
Farm to School BC – Nanaimo Hub
Gabriola Agricultural COOP
Gabriola Health & Wellness HUB
- Positive Impact Coaching
- Maria coaches people, teams and leaders to be their own, unique positive force for change.
- Economic Development Advisory Group
- Vancouver Island Tourism
Judy Joseph Black Consulting
- social purpose entrepreneur
- strategy, creative, culture
- works locally and globally on human rights, public health, social equity, and organizational development
- award-winning designer, sought after strategist
- green-thumbed, island-loving