Anita’s mantras for success: Work hard, be well connected, think creatively

Anita Huberman, synonym for confidence and cheerfulness

Anita Huberman is an epitome of positive energy, not only in appearance but also in words. It is this daring personality that would’ve made the Surrey Board of Trade (SBOT) trust her for the last two decades. The Canadian government too recently professed their confidence in Anita’s vibrant attitude and genre of functioning by appointing her as the Honorary Captain in Royal Canadian Navy, affiliated with the office of the Commander Canadian Fleet Pacific, in Esquimalt, BC.

“It is a privilege to appoint Anita Huberman as an Honorary Captain (Navy) and welcome her to our military family. As a prominent member of the Vancouver business community, I am certain she will be an excellent ambassador for the Navy, our sailors, and continue to strengthen the vital relationship between the Royal Canadian Navy, industry, and communities for years to come.” It is with these words of praise, Jason Kenney, Minister of National Defence, welcomed her to the board. Jason Kenney’s  endorsement says everything about Anita’s leadership skills and excellence in public relation, especially the prime role of an Honorary Naval captain being to bridge gracious relationship between military and civilian communities.

Anita is also the Trustee of National Film Board of Canada. Appointed for the first time in 2012, her tenure is extended for another 3 year term. Being a communications graduate from Simon Fraser University, Navy and Films were not in her list of passion. But her leadership qualities paved the way for her in sailing into new orbits.

Started as an intern in summer, Anita’s association with Surrey Board of Trade is nearing two decades. It’s been almost a decade that she is at the helm of the board. Anita Huberman, raised in Canada for immigrant parents shares her thoughts and dreams with the Immigrant Times.

How do you feel being an Honorary Captain in the Royal Canadian Navy and how do you plan to make a difference?
I was very much honoured being the only woman and first from the South Asian community to be appointed to this prestigious position. My effort will be to make a difference in the role and also to elevate women in the military. Navy can contribute a lot to the society and the business. Recently the Canadian Navy helped seize one tonne of cocaine while patrolling the Caribbean Sea. If the Navy was not in the lead role in this operation, that cocaine would’ve been on our streets. People should really understand the powerful role of Navy in our security and their contributions to our economy in general.

What is the secret of your success?
In fact I am not a newcomer to this country, but my parents were. I was really able to learn a lot from them. They worked hard to feed the family and to be successful. Learning from them and what I have implemented in my life, I can only say that you have to work hard. It’s not easy to start a new life or to start any life. Even if you are an existing Canadian you have to work hard to become a successful person. You have to be well connected. You have to think very creatively and look at the opportunity.

How did your parents harmonized with the new culture?
My parents moved from small town to small town. In fact they were the only South Asian family in Prince George in the late 70’s and the early 80’s. You can imagine the difficulties and discrimination they would’ve faced in such a situation and the hardships to integrate into the community. It actually made me to work hard and prove myself. I know that every new immigrants will be going through this stage. To overcome this you have to find ways to really get integrated into the community. Not only into your own culture but within all cultures. Get involved with the community, make a difference. This will help in your career and your family too.

Business, Films, Military… Is that all you are genuinely interested?
Connecting to the film and military are brand new things to me. My bachelor’s degree is in Communications. I always try to learn new things and to create opportunities for the organizations that I work for which is one of my strength. My role as an Ambassador is to showcase and promote the great film works and Canadian culture locally, nationally an internationally. In 2011, as the CEO of Surrey Board of Trade, I was part of India Film Awards in the Vancouver Surrey area. We wanted to showcase the connections and also to produce some Bollywood films here. I was quite vocal and I guess the Canadian government heard it and that’s how I came into the ’picture’.

Can you please share some of your passions?
I love to travel and explore on different cultures. I also love to dance. Apart from these I love to spend time with my husband and family.

What were your childhood dreams?
My parents wanted me to be a doctor. But my dream was always to open up my own business, something regarding travel. As a CEO of a trade board I am in the process of creating opportunities. But my personal dream is yet to be materialized.

Any secret in your success?
Nothing else, but working hard. Don’t just aim for a 9-5 style time schedule. Don’t be lazy. You should have a set of good friends or people whom you can trust or with whom you can share your ideas. It can be someone more than a family friend, like a mentor or so.

Is volunteering a beneficial concept?
Work is not always about getting money. It’s all about making difference. Giving back to your community or business community and the economy are also important. Helping a food bank or so is so important for the community as It makes a difference in some other person’s life and also in your life.

Anita Huberman’s association with Surrey Board of Trade was triggered as a summer intern working one day a week. It’s only the dedication and motivation lifted her to the prestigious Chief Executive Officer (CEO) title, who manages the day to day operations of the board. Established in 1918 as The Surrey Board of Trade (Chamber of Commerce), the organization is now known as the Surrey Board of Trade. It is also easily recognized with the name the Surrey Chamber of Commerce. The entity represents 6,000 member contacts and over 60,000 employees, representing 2,100 businesses. The mission of the organization is to advocate at all levels of government, facilitate networking opportunities, and provide cost-saving benefits and marketing opportunities.

What are the changes you have made in the Surrey Board of Trade on becoming the CEO?
Our government advocacy portfolio has really strengthened. When I first started we only had one government relations committee. We had no media profile and no advocacy profile to make a difference on legislation within locally, provincially, or federally. I believe the changes that I have made and have been able to make a difference and it really enhanced the brand on that. I have also introduced the international trade portfolio into our organization. We had few trade missions and implemented the international trade centre, which is common in European, Indian and Middle Eastern chambers. This enabled our ability to create global business connections for local businesses. Also made a difference in leveraging while speaking to authorities about labour, skill shortage and tying it to  the education sector in terms of curriculum development.

Still having some dreams…?
I always wanted to be an entrepreneur and I hope that it will happen one day. I don’t know when it will be possible.

‘Never stay in one box. Always explore new horizons…’- Anita signs off with positive energy, thoughts and expectations. For her, accomplishing the dream will be a cake walk for sure. Expect more wonders, dexterities and divergent endeavours from Anita Huberman, the synonym for confidence and cheerfulness.

Vinod John
Mr. John is a Print, Online and Visual Media specialist with experience in Office Administration, Public Relations, Corporate Events and Marketing Activities. He has extensive experience in Reporting, Editing, Photography, Videography and Graphic Design covering a wide range of areas including Sports, Business, Politics and Community activities. He was assigned to cover the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany for Malayala Manorama, the largest selling language daily in India. His field of studies include Economics, Journalism and Communication, Visual Graphic Design and Digital Marketing Management.

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