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  • Writer's pictureLorna Hamilton

Business Networking Breakfast Sparks Inspiration For Local Entrepreneurs


From left, Community Futures’ Sharon Munn, Library Board Chair Justin Thompson, Alberta Hub Bob Bezpalko, and Library Board member Margaret McCormack. Photo Vermilion Public Library

In a gathering before dawn on March 21 at the Pomeroy Inn & Suites in Vermilion, business owners, employees from the MLA’s office, and esteemed guests converged for the Vermilion Public Library’s Free Business Networking Breakfast.

The atmosphere was chatty as attendees were greeted with steaming cups of coffee and an array of refreshments including fruits, yogurts, and delectable baked goods. Margaret McCormack, the emcee for the event and a figure on the Library board, introduced the two special speakers.

Kicking off the event was Bob Bezpalko, the Executive Director of Alberta Hub, who delivered a compelling address on regional economic development. Bezpalko emphasized the critical importance of fostering dialogue and collaboration across geographical boundaries. Drawing on personal anecdotes from his upbringing on a farm in the County of Two Hills, Bezpalko painted a vivid picture of the evolving economic landscape, stressing the shift towards a regional approach in economic development. He underscored the significance of organizations like Alberta Hub in driving investment and facilitating growth in communities like Vermilion.

Bezpalko’s insights into the workings of Alberta Hub shed light on the organization’s strategic focus and its role in enabling investments in high-impact regional projects. He praised Vermilion for its proactive efforts in attracting businesses and enhancing infrastructure, particularly highlighting initiatives such as the expansion of broadband internet access.

Following Bezpalko’s address, the stage was graced by Sharon Munn, a seasoned small business strategist from Community Futures. Munn captivated the audience with her engaging presentation on the nuances of customer service and satisfaction. Through thought-provoking discussions, she challenged attendees to assess their businesses’ service cultures and identify areas for improvement.

Highlighting the stark reality that perceptions of superior service often diverge from reality, Munn urged participants to bridge the gap between internal standards and customer expectations. She underscored the potential ramifications of subpar customer experiences in the digital age, where negative feedback can spread rapidly across online platforms.

Munn’s presentation served as a wakeup call for local entrepreneurs, illustrating the imperative of prioritizing customer satisfaction in an increasingly competitive market landscape. Her pragmatic advice on cultivating positive customer experiences resonated with attendees, equipping them with actionable strategies to enhance their businesses’ service offerings.

As the breakfast drew to a close, participants departed with newfound inspiration and a renewed commitment to excellence in business practices. The Vermilion Public Library’s initiative in hosting this transformative event underscored its pivotal role in fostering collaboration and innovation within the local business community.

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