2021 was the year we felt like the kids in the back seat asking “are we there yet?” and we’re not – yet – when it comes to recovering from a pandemic but somehow, in one way or another our business community has risen to the challenge, finding ways to grow and change, whether by taking advantage of the silver lining in our cloud, or being inspired to innovate and refresh.
Our top 10 most-read articles list this year reflects both the issues and the people who captured our readers attention.
Number 10: A masterclass in authentic leadership
Love her or not, B.C. Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry has impacted every one of us, as she leads the province through the chaos of an ever-evolving health crisis. In this article Jim Hayhurst measures Henry’s leadership style against the Five Traits of Authentic Leadership (by Bill George) and details how and why she excels. First published in 2020 (and in our Top 10 List for that year), it’s still a popular read today.
Number 9: Powering the Indigenous economy
Carole Anne Hilton is one of Canada’s most outspoken advocates for the growth of the Indigenous economy in B.C., known for her work promoting Indigenous entrepreneurship while simultaneously calling out bias, stereotypes and the egregious effects of colonialism. After her 2021 Indigenomics Conference, she told us why Canada deserves more than Indian Act economics.
Number 8: Transforming health care on Vancouver Island
One silver lining of the pandemic is how it assertively pushed rapid adoption of technology for effective communication and problem solving. In the health care industry, it accelerated the digital transformation of a system long overdue for modernization. Carolyn Camilleri talks to the visionaries behind the work and how our public sector is embracing the change.
Number 7: Local restaurateur battles to save startups
The federal government’s uneven response to the pandemic inspired a national campaign called Save Startups, designed to advocate for new business owners who didn’t fit the criteria for various support programs, including CEWS and CERS. Local restaurateur Peter Wood of Bear and Joey was one of Victoria’s most vocal activists, lobbying hard for a voice at the funding table.
Number 6: CHEK’s clever pandemic pivot
For CHEK TV, navigating COVID-19 meant leaning into their community roots, which included running a fundraising telethon and creating The Upside, a TV show focused on bringing smiles to our faces during turbulent times. Their dedication to supporting Vancouver Island had audiences tuning in every night for Jeff, Ed and a nightly laugh.
Number 5: A hempcrete solution for climate change mitigation
Every business has their own approach to contributing to a regenerative, circular and sustainable economy as we collectively battle the climate change crisis. Two hair salon owners on Salt Spring Island built sustainability into their business quite literally from the ground up, using a revolutionary material called hempcrete, and incorporating earth-friendly practices into every aspect of their operation.
Number 4: Celebrating Vancouver Island’s best new businesses
In challenging times it’s more important than ever to highlight and applaud the businesses whose talent, innovation and dedication have a positive impact in our community. This year’s Douglas 10 to Watch winners showed both tenacity and an appetite for risk and impressed the judges with their potential for future success.
Number 3: Shooting for the stars
Vancouver Island’s film industry is growing by leaps and bounds, with 2020 reflecting a record year as a TV and movie location mecca. Now local advocates are pushing for several production studios to be built to further take advantage of the opportunities they present. We detail the success and the momentum in this article by David Lennam.
Number 2: Campbell River shapes a bold new future
Our cover story for the April/May issue is the City of Campbell River. Long known as a resource-based community, it has rapidly become a hotspot for innovation and ideation, home to entrepreneurs whose impact ranges far beyond the Island they call home. Andrew Findlay profiled the businesses and organizations leading the charge.
Number 1: The social enterprise making waves
Our most read article of 2021 was a profile of social enterprise visionary K’odi Nelson, whose mission to keep the Kwak’wala language alive seeded the Nawalakw Lodge and Healing Village, an eco-tourism lodge and the home of traditional healing programs, language and culture training.