Board of Directors
Chair – Syd Austin
Syd studied Business Administration at Conestoga College Kitchener. He has been in the retail business for over forty years and was a small business owner for over a decade. Syd brought his wife Diane and his young family to the Scenic City 27 years ago in an senior executive position with a major Food Service Distributor. They have called Owen Sound home ever since. Syd’s career has come full circle and he is currently the General Manager of Staples. Staples and Syd have been strong supporters of the Chamber and are the proud sponsor of the SOHO Award at the Chambers annual Business Excellence Awards. In his rare spare time Syd and Diane love to ATV with their friends, exploring our beautiful area or spending quality time with his growing family. He is a proud grampa of Connor and Coen.
Vice Chair – Marg Benedict
Marg was born in Mount Forest. Graduated nursing in 1971 and nursed for 27 years. Took a Simply accounting course 1998. Current Co-owner and managing partner of Benedict Electrical, independent business, inception 1998. Marg has an active background in leadership in various executive organizations. Her greatest joy is being with her family & in the summer time golfing but in winter snowmobiling. Her son also would say networking is the top of Marg`s list.
Past Chair – Debbie McKague
Debbie was born and raised in Oxenden. She is currently Property Manager for the Professional Centre in Owen Sound. She has held management positions in retail and service positions as well as working in the healthcare field 8 years with the Red Cross and Paramed Home Health Care. She has an active volunteer background with a number of different organizations in this area and is currently Chair of the Chamber’s Business Excellence Awards.
Treasurer – Christie Leeder
Christie Leeder has over 7 years of experience in the financial services industry. Her passion for helping people lead her to join the Leeder and Associates Wealth Management Group of RBC Dominion Securities in 2015 as an Investment Advisor. Prior to joining RBC, Christie was a Manager at National Accounting Firm BDO Canada LLP working out of the Owen Sound office. She obtained her Chartered Accountant Designation in 2009 after having completed her Bachelor of Business Administration degree at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo in 2008. Christie has been on the Executive of the Owen Sound and District Chamber of Commerce as Treasurer since 2013 and is a Committee Member for the Canadian Cancer Society “Bears in Blue” and “Pink in the Rink” fundraising events in Owen Sound.
Agnes is the owner of Agnes’ Bookkeeping Service serving Grey and Bruce County. She has a wide range of clients in Owen Sound, Wiarton, and surrounding areas as far as Orangeville. Agnes holds a degree in Bookkeeping and also in Office Administration. She is on the Business Women’s Network Committee as well as a volunteer member of The Grey Bruce Animal Shelter. Agnes sponsors the New Business of the Year Award for the Chamber Business Excellence Awards. She lives in Georgian Bluffs with her husband Bruce and her yellow lab named Daytona and loves racing and football in her spare time.
Kelly is a partner of the Owen Sound Law Firm of Middlebro’&Stevens LLP. She is a graduate of Acadia University (1988) and Queen’s University Faculty of Law (1991). Kelly’s main concentration is in the areas of Labour Relations and Employment Law. She also pursues Civil Litigation, Estate Administration and Real Estate. Kelly has been on the Board of Directors of both the Grey Bruce Health Services and the Community Care Access Centre. She is currently the Secretary of the Community Foundation Grey Bruce and the President of the Owen Sound Skating Club. Kelly is also a member of the Zonta Club, an organization for professional women. Married and with four children, Kelly and her family enjoy long trips in the car visiting relatives and sightseeing the countryside of North America.
Born and raised in Owen Sound, Patty is the Membership & Volunteer Facilitator at the Tom Thomson Art Gallery. She has many years of experience in sales and marketing, as well as event planning. Patty is an active volunteer with the Royal Canadian Legion, currently holding the position of District Commander for the 50 branches within District C. Patty is a life member of the Owen Sound branch of the Royal Canadian Legion, and continues to volunteer, when time allows. She has volunteered countless hours with other groups and organizations volunteering on various committees and boards. A proud mother and grandmother, during her down time Patty enjoys spending time with family and friends, as well as dabbling in crafts and make work projects.
Born and raised in the Owen Sound area, Tyler is known more for his music than as a Financial Advisor at Sun Life Financial. Since the age of 3, Tyler has played the fiddle and, growing up in a musical family, began at a young age, playing retirement homes and local events along with his sister Linsey, as The Beckett Family. He became an accomplished and well-rounded multi-instrumentalist, performing across Canada, the U.S, Europe, the Philippines, and even at the Kandahar Air Field in Afghanistan in 2011. Tyler is also a respected session musician, playing on numerous albums, including Justin Bieber’s 2011 release, ‘Someday at Christmas’. In 2009, Tyler graduated with his Business Administration degree from Sir Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, and moved to Missouri to work for the bluegrass super-band The Chapmans. Tyler has always had an interest in finance and business, and a passion for helping people. When given the chance to move back home and join the ranks of Sun Life Financial in Owen Sound, he jumped at the opportunity!
Born and raised in Owen Sound, David ’s working life has included construction, furniture-making, advertising, marketing, real estate and now, property management. Whoever said you can’t go back hasn’t met David. Forty years ago, David helped his father prepare the foundation for the building that now houses SuiteSpots, his latest venture and Owen Sound’s first flexible business space for start-ups, professionals and small business. As a graduate of Wilfrid Laurier University’s urban economic geography program and GTA resident for 35 years, David has a greater appreciation for the rustic beauty and warm hospitality offered by his hometown. David along with his wife and three children have traveled extensively and enjoy immersing themselves in exotic cultures, architecture, experiences and scenery. Always on the lookout for the next big thing, David lives by the motto “embrace change for the opportunities it creates”.
Bio to follow
Derek was raised in Owen Sound and left to complete a Bachelor of Math at the University of Waterloo. He also has a Masters in Business Administration from Wilfrid Laurier University and his CPA designation. After working in the automotive industry with Michelin and Valeo, he returned to Owen Sound in 1996 to join TC Transcontinental RBW Graphics where he has been General Manager since 2009. He is currently a member of the Owen Sound Regional Hospital Foundation board, and also sits on the City of Owen Sound Economic Development and Tourism Advisory Board.