Six local business leaders share their objectives for 2014

They offer resolutions for their companies and for themselves, their families and their community

By Gordon Oliver, Columbian business editor

Published:

 

The turning of the calendar page from Dec. 31 to Jan. 1 is no different from any other moment. Yet many of us use that moment, and the days that border it, as a time of serious personal reflection that sometimes leads to positive change.

Because the start of the new year arrives just after the shortest day of the year, the period of reflection seems hard-wired biologically as a way to cope with the long nights and short days of winter. The gradual expansion of daylight that brings the earth's awakening signals a time for renewal of mind, body, and spirit. Many people launch diets or sign up for gym memberships to improve their health, and they give more generously. Businesses and nonprofit groups tap into those instincts by selling diet plans and gym memberships, and offering an opportunity to make tax-deductible charitable donations.

In the spirit of the season, The Columbian decided to ask some local business leaders about their resolutions for the new year. We asked Kelly Parker, president and CEO of the Greater Vancouver Chamber of Commerce, to suggest names, and we followed her recommendations to recruit participants in this admittedly random exercise.

The six people who responded offered resolutions for their personal lives and for their businesses. And in recognition of the many divisive community conflicts in 2013 over transportation, oil transport and political priorities, we asked these leaders what their wish would be for our community in 2014. Their answers, edited for clarity and brevity, are offered inside this section.

A happy new year to all!

Ben Hoskins

photoBob Hoskins

(/The Columbian)

Buy this photo

Bob Hoskins is a Vancouver franchise partner of 1-800-GOT-JUNK and You Move Me.

• Personal Resolution

Summer is our busy season for moving and junk removal, but this summer we are going to take a two-week road trip to visit friends and family. Our daughter starts kindergarten in September so our previous system of traveling in the fall isn't going to work anymore.

• Business Resolution

In 2014, You Move Me is resolving to bring all our clients a cup of coffee or tea the morning of their move. We try to make the process of moving as pleasant as possible — almost as if your friends were helping out. When people move they've often packed their coffeemaker and a friend would offer to bring them coffee, so in 2014 we will as well!

• Community Wish

I hope that in 2014 community leaders focus on opportunities for improvement in areas of agreement or shared goals. Small improvements compound. I hope we continue to experiment and tweak with the goal of continually becoming more efficient and effective in how we allow the economy to grow, how we educate our children, and how we help our most vulnerable. Also, if I never have to hear the word "bridge" — from either supporters or opponents — that will be OK.

Erika Donaldson

photoErika Donaldson

()

Erika Donaldson is a digital marketing consultant at Fringe Media Web Design in Vancouver.

• Personal Resolution

Our New Year's resolution is to further our collaborative, positive work environment for all employees. This will begin with furnishing our brand new office in downtown Vancouver. We are excited to now be fully immersed in all that Vancouver has to offer, and we look forward to adding our Fringe charm to the downtown area. We will also accomplish this by hosting networking events where we can all get together and strengthen the unity that is already flourishing within this area.

• Business Resolution

We are ready and excited to be an active part of our Vancouver community. We plan on strengthening our alliances with our business partners which include WSU Vancouver, the Greater Vancouver Chamber, the Portland Business Alliance and many others. We are going to make it a point to educate local small businesses about the importance of digital marketing and how to engage in successful marketing campaigns. We will give to charity and do everything we can to help growth and awareness of the importance of technology in our current society. We will grow our business and establish our brand in Vancouver and Portland. We will also help nonprofits, such as the Sunshine Division in Portland, strengthen their digital presence through targeted volunteer work.

• Community Wish

Our wish is for everyone to pay it forward. We encourage everyone to go out of their way to do something nice for a stranger each and every opportunity they get. By doing this, we can make Vancouver into the perfect place we all would like it to be.

Jim West

photoJim West

()

Jim West is a real estate broker at Coldwell Banker Commercial, Jenkins & Associates in Vancouver.

• Personal Resolution

Several factors influence my thinking for a 2014 resolution.

  1. I'll turn 60.
  2. Last year I became a grandparent for the first time.
  3. Last July I was in an accident with a car while riding a bicycle. (My good fortune — I had minimal injuries.)

It seems I'm entering a new stage of life, and I realize none of us know how long we have. So I have outlined a series of activities to make sure I am spending more time and reaffirming and strengthening my relationships and time with my wife, Betsy, our kids and granddaughter.

• Business Resolution

I am starting my sixth year in commercial real estate. I've had some successes and feel I am on the right track to continue to grow. Entering this industry in late 2008-2009 was a bit frightening and there were times I wondered if I'd made a good choice.

Of course for 2014 I have some marketing and networking plans for creating new opportunities and relationships with prospective clients. However, one area I want to significantly improve in my business is communications with, and appreciation for, the client base I've developed and served these first five years. I've created a simple action plan to raise my game in that arena.

• Community Wish

I attempt to stay plugged into the activities of our community in a number of ways. In non-profits or service clubs I find people of all political persuasions working together with no bickering, sniping, or nitpicking. Yet somehow that often seems to dissolve when we get to the political arena. I had some experience running for office in 2012, and speak with many folks in both parties regularly, and I find there are many subjects you can't even have a discussion about. The real problem with all that is that we aren't actually dealing with the long-term issues that are the most important.

So my wish would be that Clark County becomes a community that changes that trend. Listen more — understand what drives peoples' actions and look for common ground.

Kim Capeloto

photoKim Capeloto

()

Kim Capeloto is executive vice president of Vancouver-based Riverview Community Bank.

• Personal Resolution

I am hoping to be able to focus on keeping a balance between my "personal life" and my "professional/community life." That line can get blurred easily and I am lucky enough to have an amazingly supportive (and patient) wife and family that have always backed me. Spending even more time with my wife and children as we all continue to "grow up" is my main focus. This does not mean a reduction in community outreach. It simply means continued effort to keep the balance.

• Business Resolution

Riverview celebrated its 90th anniversary this past year. We asked many of our employees, clients and our board what they felt was missing from banking these days. Frankly we expected to hear that we needed more technology solutions or more locations, or …

What we heard loud and clear was that people want banking to be more fun! So that is our resolution for 2014 … to put more fun in banking. We are not 100 percent sure how we'll do that, but we are fairly sure that it has something to do with money!

• Community Wish

My wish for our community is that we sincerely all work toward making this a better place to live, work and raise a family. That will mean that not all of us can get exactly what we want all the time, but that when decisions are made and leaders are picked and causes are identified and needs are uncovered, that we set aside our personal agendas and REALLY do what is in the best interest of our communities and their citizens.

Donald Russo

photoDonald Russo

()

Donald Russo is an real estate attorney in the Vancouver office of regional law firm Schwabe, Williamson & Wyatt.

• Personal Resolution

That all of my family and friends stay healthy during the coming year, for when you have your health, you have virtually everything.

• Business Resolution

I hope that our law firm, Schwabe, Williamson & Wyatt, and in particular the Vancouver office, continues to grow its business and that every attorney in the office continues to stay involved in helping to make our community a better place to live.

• Community Wish

That our local (and state) leaders choose to guide our community forward with a positive vision, to place the needs of our citizens, including the unemployed and the homeless, ahead of personal agendas, and to take positive nonpartisan action to help grow our local economy.

My New Year's wish for our global community: as Eleanor Roosevelt wrote: "When will our consciences grow so tender that we will act to prevent human misery rather than avenge it?"

Veronika "Ronnie" Noize

photoVeronika "Ronnie" Noize

()

Veronika "Ronnie" Noize is the founder of the DIY Marketing Center in Vancouver.

• Personal Resolution

While appreciating the idea of resolutions, I find that for me, making a commitment is far more powerful. A resolution is often nothing more than a good idea that I want to do, but a commitment is what I am honor-bound to do.

My personal commitment for 2014 is to enjoy 365 days of gratitude. I have done this before, and it had a profoundly positive effect on my life, so it has become my top commitment for the new year. The way it works is quite simple: Every morning when I wake up, I write down 10 things for which I am grateful in a small notebook, which is kept in my bedside table. The only rule is that nothing on the list may be repeated within seven days. The process is simple, fast, and starts my day with a smile on my face, and gratitude in my heart. It reminds me how very lucky I am, and, even in the face of fear or tragedy, how much good there is in my life to appreciate.

• Business Resolution

For 2014, I am committed to perfecting the systems in my business. About a year or so ago I received a book in the mail from Sam Carpenter, the author of "Work the System." The book dazzled me because of the absolute clarity with which it presented one of the key issues for small-business owners — the swirling confusion and overwhelming nature of a business when one is a solo entrepreneur. The solution to this confusion is creating systems that provide the structure to achieve strategic objectives (and my entrepreneurial dreams!).

One of my goals is to expand this business to become its own entity, and not just something that I do from 9 to 5; to make it a "real" business that can be duplicated in other markets and help millions of people requires a systematic approach that others can follow to achieve the same results. 2014 is that year for me.

• Community Wish

My wish for our community in 2014 is full prosperity, based on this definition from Wikipedia: "Prosperity is the state of flourishing, thriving, good fortune and/or successful social status. Prosperity often encompasses wealth but also includes other factors which can be independent of wealth to varying degrees, such as happiness and health."