Erin Udal (Champion) is a community organizer for positive change who has a depth and breadth of experience and skills to support the Chamber’s mission, vision and values. Born and raised on Gabriola and having worked in social and environmental capacities in various other communities across British Columbia, Erin brings a commitment to community, unique ideas, diverse network, sustainability lens, and rich understanding of island culture to the Chamber.
Erin holds two degrees from Simon Fraser University (B. Sc and B. Ed) and has worked in public education and managed projects spanning social and environmental community programming including pollinator conservation and food systems capacity building. Erin shares: “I am excited for the opportunities and challenges of economic development on Gabriola, and recognize the social and environmental fabric this work weaves.”
One of the key goals and priorities of the Chamber that Erin is well-positioned to advance is our commitment to locally-relevant education and programs for local entrepreneurs and businesses in service of a robust island economy. With her formal education, 10+ years of non-profit project management, and award-winning community engaged leadership, we are excited about the positive impact Erin will make in overseeing the new Island MBA program and other initiatives related to sustainable tourism and economic development. “The Island MBA’s goal is to understand capacity, knowledge, and resiliency goals of businesses. I can’t think of a better time to be reinvesting in learning how to create these tools for our business community,” she says.
Another of Erin’s areas of expertise is small business system upgrades and database management. The Chamber has approximately 120 members and the islands host over 300 businesses and organizations that can benefit from enhanced connectedness. Erin’s organizational and strategic skill sets will support the Chamber to not only enhance value-add benefits for members, but also increase overall membership to provide meaningful support to more island businesses and organizations. With Erin’s leadership, we are excited to create opportunities for enhanced collaboration, shared tools and resources, and collective action in service of economic, social, and environmental vitality of Gabriola, Mudge, and DeCourcy islands.
Erin’s non-profit background, personal and professional network, and experience working at local, regional, and provincial levels will also help advance the Chamber’s goals and priorities related to rural island advocacy and funding provision: “I look forward to serving the islands’ small business and tourism opportunities alongside our environmental integrity and community values,” she shares. Erin is a Member of Canada’s Institute of Corporate Directors and currently sits as a Board Director with the Gabriola Community Bus Foundation and the Native Bee Society of BC. These volunteer roles, including Earth Day Coordinator for the past 2 years, demonstrate Erin’s commitment to community engagement, understanding of institutions and governance, and her passion for positive action on sustainability, resiliency, and vitality for our islands and beyond. We look forward to this next chapter at the Gabriola Chamber of Commerce and thank you for your support and encouragement of Erin in her new leadership role.
The Chamber wishes to express gratitude and acknowledge the exceptional contributions of outgoing Interim Executive Director, Maria Malmgren. Maria stepped up for the past year to hold this vital role in service of organizational continuity and with desire to support the business and broader community. With her leadership, the Chamber received significant funding for the Island MBA, provided timely support for businesses in response to power outages and pandemic recovery, implemented new campaigns to support off-season tourism and economic development, and created new tourism and community resiliency resources through a revised Visitor Map and Gabriola Triumph materials.
Thank you, Maria, and best wishes with your continued success in ChangeWorks Coaching & Consulting and next adventures.
From the Gabriola Chamber President, Graham Bradley: “We’re excited that Erin Udal is our next ED. Erin’s leadership style, strong relationship building skills, creativity and ambition are an excellent combination that we think will meet the needs of this complex and demanding role. We appreciate the opportunity to employ someone who grew up here and who wants to serve her community and step into this important role for the island. On behalf of the Board, I also want to express tremendous gratitude to Maria Malmgren who has kept the Chamber on course with such professionalism, compassion, and administrative expertise. This was no small task, and Maria has done an exemplary job. Thank you, Maria, and welcome, Erin!”
To connect with Erin at the Gabriola Chamber of Commerce, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or pop in to the Visitor’s Center to say hello!