It has been a challenging year for the Greater Westside Board of Trade, which held its annual general meeting online Tuesday morning.

As of the 2021 AGM there were 339 members, compared to 356 at the 2020 meeting, although there was less attrition with the 2020-21 renewals.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Board of Trade ended up cancelling all of its in-person events after the March Business After Hours.

“That hurt because connecting members to one another is such a big part and enjoyable part of our mandate,” said outgoing president Craig Garries.

The Board of Trade showed it was relevant during the pandemic, said Garries, by remaining open throughout the

year, supplying information on government programs, operational issues and advice and sometimes a shoulder to cry on.

The year also saw executive director Karen Beaubier resign and the eventual hiring of her replacement, Heather Robinson.

The Board of Trade successfully held its Key Business Awards online and will be launching Wise Words, which Robinson described as similar to a reading club that will offer monthly discussions on topics such as human resources, entrepreneurship and marketing.

The board hopes to be able to resume in-person events in late spring, depending on provincial health orders.

The meeting included the presentation of the new board of directors who were sworn in via Zoom by West Kelowna Mayor Gord Milsom.

Each term is two years.

Newly elected directors are Bryan Fitzpatrick of Pushor Mitchell, John Whitehead of John K. Whitehead, Marci Paynter of New Dawn Marketing, Tina Bisson of Manchester Signs, Dr. Lauren Tomkins of West Kelowna Integrative Health Centre, James McCormick of Valley First and Adrian Perron of Winmar.

Non-voting appointee directors are Jenny Money from the Westbank First Nation Economic Development Committee and John Perrot from the City of West Kelowna.

Amber Hall of Telus, Sarah Sabo of Aries Accounting, Ed Stephens of West Kelowna Daybreak Rotary and Julie Pringle of Snap Commercial Photography are returning directors.

Andrea East, Ray Kandola, Sean Shepherd,. Calvin Barr, Carmen Weld and James Carmichael have left the board of directors.

The directors will hold their first meeting Tuesday and will vote on the new president and executive at that time.