Victoria – Seattle
Semi-annual event




12:00 pm – 4:30 pm

Westin Hotel, Seattle


We were catalysts for initiating, planning and organizing the highly successful Victoria-Seattle Roundtable held in Seattle in October of 2002.  During several trips to Seattle on behalf of the Chamber we met with the Seattle Chamber, the International Trade Alliance, the Canadian Consulate, and a Venture Allstars group of venture capitalists and CEOs.  Acting as and advocate for the Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce we were able to sell the idea to the Consulate, determine the format of the day and what would bring people out from Seattle, and contact over 90 people in Victoria and Seattle to invite them personally to this great event.


In spite of a few problems with logistics the event was a smashing success!  The turnout was over 40 people (20 from Victoria, 20 from Seattle).  The focus for the day was what we could do collectively in the Pacific Northwest Region to remove barriers to doing cross-border business and how we can better market the region.  Representatives from both the US and Canadian consulates were there, along with MLAs, the mayor of Victoria and a representative from the City of Seattle, CEOs of both Chambers, President of Tourism Victoria, and CEOs from Tourism, Transportation, and Technology sectors.


The Concept

The Roundtable will be a full or half-day semi-annual event hosted alternatively by Seattle and Victoria.  This Roundtable is an opportunity for BC and Greater Victoria based companies to bring together like-minded businesses from the Seattle area to focus on developing future cross-border partnership opportunities.  There is a general consensus that we need to learn more about what our respective needs are in order to better help each other.  The focus for the day will be what we could do collectively in the Pacific Northwest Region to remove barriers to doing cross-border business and how we can better market the region.  The roundtable will focus on the following sectors:

q Technology

o Tourism

§ Transportation

While the Roundtable is a forum for discussion the primary goal is that of action!  To this end a special task force for each sector will be created.  Specific barriers that need to be removed and key issues will be identified by the sector task force.  Priorities will be established.  The sector task force will select 1 issue or barrier to remove as a focus for the 6 months following each Roundtable.  An action plan will be developed and individual task force members will be assigned specific tasks and responsibilities to carry out during these 6 months.  At the next Roundtable each sector task force will be able to report on progress to-date, outstanding issues, and plan the next 6 months.


The Format

After much consultation, polling, and discussion with the various stakeholders and potential participants a suggested format has been developed.  This format has been suggested by the Canadian Consulate and the International Trade Alliance and would be most likely to draw Seattle businesses out to this event.  Additionally, the Consulate in Seattle can arrange prominent keynote speakers from each of the sectors.

All of the stakeholders are willing to promote the Roundtable throughout their memberships, websites, etc…  Last year we had insufficient lead-time and there was a lengthy delay in producing an invitation/flyer for the event, which prevented our stakeholders from promoting this event for us.  At least 3 months lead-time is necessary with the type of individuals we are trying to draw out to this event.

Not everyone can take a half-day away from his or her business.  Nor will many people be interested in a general discussion forum unless it relates to their business or area of interest.  By being sector focused with breakout sessions, topics, and prominent keynote speakers a CEO will be more likely to be interested in attending and can choose to take a few hours rather than half a day out of his busy schedule.

The purpose of the roundtable needs to be clearly defined and communicated.  Is this a mini trade mission?  Is this a networking session?  Is this a Multi-Sector Task Force?  Each of these 3 functions requires a different format.  Based on my numerous consultations the consensus was that a Multi-Sector Task Force is the purpose and intent that best met the needs of all participants and stakeholders.

We are all committed to action!  As the saying goes “Faith without works is dead”.

Or one I like even better:

“Intellectual knowledge until converted through action into wisdom is a milestone around our necks.  In other words … the more we know and the less we do the more we suffer.”

The timing and length of individual portions of the day can be altered but generally the format is this:

Introductory Remarks

Seattle and Victoria - 2 perspectives

A prominent keynote speaker from each region will give the
broad picture including:

q       Economic, Social, Environmental, and Political climate

q       Benefits and Constraints within the region

q       Trends and Future predictions

Breakout Sessions

Relevant Topics, Discussion Panel (with prominent speakers), or a Task Force action planning session for each of the following sectors:

q       Technology

q       Tourism

q       Transportation

Report back from Breakout Sessions

A Chair of each Task force will give a short summary of the discussions along with the one issue or barrier they have selected to collective work on during the next 6 months.

Closing Remarks


A lunch may be part of the day, however, timing of this can be tricky.  We want to avoid having people just showing up for the lunch and leaving.

Finish the day off by attending …


'Celebrate the Relationship'

Westin Hotel Grand Ballroom, Seattle

Six o'clock pm to One o'clock am

A special evening of entertainment, dining, dancing, door prizes and auction to commemorate Canadian Thanksgiving and the special relationship shared by Canada and the U.S.