‘How can I help?’ leads to (eventually) chairing the Chamber of Commerce

Michael John Kooy, returning to native Sarnia after 18-year absence, reconnects with the community

When Michael John Kooy, equipped with a doctorate in English literature (from Oxford no less), decided with his wife (a native of Ukraine and a biology professor) to head “home” (he grew up in Sarnia), the next logical step (aside from getting a job—which he did by joining RBC Dominion Securities as a financial planner)—was to build a network.

That was circa 2010 and Kooy soon joined the Rotary Club of Sarnia. He also reached out to the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce, asking how he might best contribute to the mission of the business leadership organization.

As it turns out, the Chamber had a City of Sarnia proposed budget that needed a “business response.”

And would he be interested in taking that on?

Kooy said “of course,” the first step in a path that subsequently resulted in him joining the board of directors and eventually becoming chair, a role he took on in February 2017. He’ll serve for a year.

His role at the Chamber is one of governance, leading a board that sets policy. Those policies are then set in motion by Chamber CEO Shirley de Silva, herself a board member, who overseas Chamber staff.

J.D. Booth, Editor of Lambton Shield, spoke with Kooy in his downtown Sarnia office and we present that conversation here in this episode of Spotlight. Enjoy!

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