Clubs are back in style

Interview with Club President – Sippy Chhina

1. How long have you been a member?

I’ve been a member of the Petroleum Club for seven or eight years. As a child I was fortunate to have the opportunity to participate in Clubs, and highly value their contribution to the community.

2. How did you become President?

I have always been a fan of Bonnie DuPont, who was the first female President of the Club. She encouraged me to become a Governor at the Club and always advocated to be a part of the solution if you want change. When I was awarded the opportunity to take on the role of President, I “leaned in” as I believe in the value the Club can bring to not only women in business, but also to new entrants into the Calgary business landscape. I am grateful for the opportunity to serve as President.

3. What do you think is an important direction for the Petroleum Club to take in regards to the demographic they’re trying to target?

I am a firm believer that the business case for diversity has never been more compelling for our industry. Not just diversity of gender and race, but more importantly diversity of thought. We need to be innovative and open to ideas from all fronts in order to build an industry that is globally competitive. As such, it becomes important for the Club to be strategic and target the demographic that brings new ideas, while respecting the Club’s current values. There needs to be an incentive to invite a younger, more diverse demographic, that utilizes all of the offerings of the Club, so as to renew and rejuvenate our membership base that is currently aging.

4. How do you suggest the Petroleum Club should cater to its younger demographic?

We need to provide more opportunities for networking amongst their peers, and also opportunities for mentoring from business leaders, not just from within the Club’s membership, but also from the industry. Networking events have to be fun and relevant to this age group. Events around food, wine, spirits, live music, and so on, may be appealing to them. We want to hear from our younger members. We have expanded our Board committees this year to include some younger members, so that we as a Board, better understand their needs. For mentoring, I encourage them to attend our intimate Leaders and Mentors lunches, and we are looking at a new Speaker Series featuring speakers that will be popular with them. Ideas from all members are welcome!!

5. Is the Club conducive to having families here, is it something that’s encouraged?

Yes, we want to encourage families to come to the Club, especially in the evening. We will continue to nurture, and look to expand family events.

6. What do you feel the number one benefit of the Club is for you personally?

The benefit I value most is having a place to go with Calgary’s business leaders, where I can have a one-on-one conversation about a variety of business issues, without interruption, in a comfortable environment. The great food and wine sure doesn’t hurt!

7. Do you have any words of wisdom for the young members?

The next generation of Calgary’s business leaders are ambitious, forward thinking and innovative. My advice is that, in thinking about the future, don’t miss out on the present, and the opportunities to create change now. Invest in your community, build relationships, and don’t lose sight of your values.

8. Do you have any last thoughts?

Clubs are coming back in style! The University Club in New York is becoming more and more exclusive. The Club grounds you, brings you to a community where you can cross pollinate ideas and support each other. It’s a great place for business development, community support, collaboration, and family fun.