Sidney Business Improvement Area Society Launches Brown Bag Series for Members

(Sidney, B.C.) Drawing on the expertise of its members and others in the community, the Sidney BIA (SBIA) recently launched a series of monthly noontime learning opportunities open to all SBIA members. The purpose of the series is to provide short, focused sessions of interest—and relevance—to business and commercial property owners. “We know people don’t have a lot of extra time in their day to explore new ideas,” says Donna Petrie, Executive Director of the SBIA. “So we’ve developed a series of one-hour ‘brown bag’ lunch sessions to provide members with a chance to learn something new, explore fresh concepts and network with others who share an interest in a given topic.”

Donna emphasizes that the program is possible because “of the incredible range of skills, knowledge and experience” among members and their willingness to share their time and ideas. Each presenter plans and facilitates a session at no charge to the SBIA. And the Mary Winspear Centre, an associate member of the SBIA, has donated its Boardroom for each session too. As result, the sessions are offered to members without cost.

“The collaborative effort doesn’t stop there either,” says Donna. “Several of the coffee shops and restaurants have donated tasty brown bag lunches for participants. We are very grateful thus far to Toast, Starbucks and Alexander’s Coffee Shop for their generosity.”

The first session, facilitated by Erin Brocklebank of Holy Cow Communications Design, focused on the topic of branding. Chris Straub, a participant and an attorney with Henley & Walden LLP, commented that “the brown bag sessions are a great resource for all types of businesses and organizations.”

The October session, “Maximize the Potential of Your Customer Base” will be offered by David Bremner of d.g bremner & co. and Shai Thompson, owner of House of Lily Koi. Both businesses are well known for their creativity and attention to detail in meeting customers’ needs. In November, international consultant and Sidney business owner, Susan Simosko, will offer a session entitled “Make Yourself Heard—Getting Over Your Fear of Speaking in Public.” Brett Mikkelson, Sidney’s Fire Chief, will offer the December session on “Emergency Preparedness for Small Businesses”. “All together,” says Donna, “we are very excited about bringing these opportunities to the business community. I look forward to putting together another whole set of sessions for 2017.”

SBIA members can register or propose a topic for a future session by contacting Donna Petrie at