Time flies when you have fun!! It is now 37 years ago I left Sweden and arrived in Toronto in 1976. This is the second time that I am getting involved in the Chamber, and I do so with a great sense of excitement.
So many things have happened and the time for an aggressive, active, and collaborative Chamber is here. My name is Lennart (Len) P. Kleine and I am taking over from my friend Erik Thorsrud who has been the Chair for the past two years. I wanted to extend a sincere Thank You to Erik on behalf of the Board of Directors and myself for bringing us to this very exciting point!
We are talking about “Team Sweden” — not to insinuate we are a sports team but as an indication of the very strong bond we are forming between The Swedish Embassy, our Honorary Counsel, Business Sweden, and Swedish-Canadian Chamber of Commerce. The synergies are transparent and will benefit each organization, their members, and help promote Sweden from not only a business point of view but also our culture.
I am fond of a saying that my brother gave birth to many years ago: he said “Canada is just like Sweden, only bigger and faster”, then he proceeded to tell me what a bad decision I made. Apparently I should have moved to Florida so he could come and golf during the winter months. I am very glad I choose Canada. I did reside in Lake Tahoe for 7 years but my children, Britt 26 and Eric 28 grew up in Unionville, just north of Toronto, where we resided for over 20 years. Since five years I live in beautiful Brooklin ON, together with my wife Mimma and are enjoying being empty nesters.
I am very excited to be part of the SCCC in 2013 and going forward, since I feel the timing is great for some really interesting and timely initiatives. Marie Larsson has been over to Sweden twice recently and met with various groups who are interested in learning about the Chamber’s activity here in Toronto. Marie made some very valuable contacts, both in the public and private sector.
My professional experience is in the Healthcare field and we all know the challenges that exists in that industry; Sweden and Canada currently have ongoing discussion around the Healthcare issues: exchanging ideas, and sharing failures and successes.
I want to take the opportunity to thank all Directors of the Board for their work and at the same time I want to encourage the younger generation to get involved in the Chamber. We will work hard but also make it fun with our numerous events. The Lucia Luncheon at the Royal York, our Golf Tournament, and our Crayfish/BBQ party with promises of new ideas and positive modifications in each of the above. All in the interest of making the events ‘world class’, fun and something NOT to miss! That is a promise!
The year kicked off with a number of positive events: the Launch of Business Sweden was great, we wish Kristofer and his team success and the chamber will assist were we can. I also had the opportunity to visit with Magnus Andersson, the previous Trade Commissioner when he was in Toronto in February, I attended a EUCCAN & CETA update meeting that was very informative and attended a function in Honor of Mats Sundin’s Foundation for Developmental Health. Mats is a great athlete but also a really approachable good guy! It was a pleasure to be part of that event.
Watch for us!
I want to make a special mention to Volvo Cars of Canada and Marc Engelen and his team. They moved in to their beautiful new Head Office in Richmond Hill earlier this year and they are our newest Platinum Members! In addition, Volvo provided the Chamber with a beautiful Volvo C30 that Marie will be driving. Marie is extremely happy and grateful. Look for the very colorful wrapped Volvo C30 around town, clad in the Swedish and Canadian Flags!
Our sincere thanks to Marc and his team for making this happen.
Marc has also agreed to join our Board and that is something we all look forward to.
I also want to personally welcome our other two new Board Members, Axel Kindbom and Ingela Baker. Axel and Ingela will be very valuable members of the Board and we are very happy to have them. A warm welcome to Marc, Axel and Ingela!
In summary, 2013 will be an exciting year, please get involved and let us know your thoughts and or ideas. If you are interested in participating on the Board let Marie know. Please join us for the AGM held April 22, 2013, everybody counts and we want hear you!
Lennart (Len) P. Kleine
Chairman of the Board of Directors