Todd Corrigall is resigning his position as chief executive officer of the Prince George Chamber of Commerce and it’s not for health reasons.
After five years leading the Chamber, the 45-year-old Corrigall got a job offer he simply can’t refuse.
“I think five years in a leadership position is a long time, and of those five years we had two and a bit that were COVID years and those were certainly challenging, so I think it’s a good opportunity for some fresh perspective to be brought in,” said Corrigall.
In September, Corrigall was the first candidate to formally declare an interest in running for election as Prince George mayor. But three weeks into his campaign he dropped out of the running citing health concerns, which he has since put behind him.
“It has nothing to do with that,” said Corrigall. “I feel great.
“In all honesty, there was an opportunity that came to me and my wife (Melanie) and I had a good long chat and decided that this the right time to make a move and it’s an excellent opportunity for the future.”
His resignation takes effect on Jan. 13.
Corrigall said he was unable to disclose what his new job will be, but he and his wife Melanie and their young daughter Violet won’t have to move.
“The nice thing is it does keep me in Prince George, with a lot of travel, but I’m here where my wife was born and where my daughter was born, in a community we love,” he said.
Corrigall was hired by the Chamber in January 2018, taking over the position left vacant the previous November when interim CEO Erika Ewacha resigned. Prior to that, Christie Ray held the job for three years. Corrigall offered this advice for the person chosen to succeed him to head the organization, which represents about 750 local businesses.
“The most important part is that they get out, that they connect with the members and that they really understand what’s on the mind of the businesses in our community,” said Corrigall.
“I was fortunate from the very beginning of my tenure that we got great engagement. That went down a little with the pandemic because businesses were focused on survival, but it’s picking up again. It’s important that whoever is in this position that they spend a significant amount of time having those conversations, whether its in a business location or walking down the street or grabbing coffee, wherever the opportunity present you will gain a tremendous amount of knowledge from any conversation with the businesses."
In addition to providing a strong voice as an advocate for local businesses in municipal and provincial politics, Corrigall helped spearhead a partnership agreement with the Lheidli T’enneh, which opened channels of communication for the local First Nation and Prince George businesses to work together.
“That was something I had been working on for over three years and it was important to me because I understand the value of the working relationship with our local First Nations,” said Corrigall. “It just took the right combination of time, people and discussions and we got there. It allows for a lot of work to happen without needing to go back to the table.”
Corrigall was behind the creation and expansion of SupportPG, a program to help businesses find the resources they needed during the COVID-19 pandemic.
It was put together during the first week of the pandemic shutdown and ii helped local businesses access support funding from nine partner organizations. Its success led to Corrigall’s chamber colleagues copying the model to bring the program to their own communities.
“In its inception it was a one-stop shop to understand what businesses were open and how you could access them, what their hours of operation were and what the restrictions were,” said Corrigall.
“What we evolved it to was understanding that there were still organizations out there that had community-giving aspects they needed to fulfill for their corporate mandates, so we accessed those funds because there were no events going on. What we could do was put that money directly into small businesses by purchasing gift cards and anything we could purchase from them and running contests so that we got higher engagement levels through the activation. We created a full marketing program around that where we had a pledge people could take to shop local.. and that resonated through the community.
“SupportPG was recognized by the Premier twice in the Legislature and that was impressive for a local initiative.”