At the age of 32, Anita Huberman became the CEO of the Board of Trade for one of the largest cities in Canada and has held this role for 13 years. As the only South Asian woman to ever fill this role, her business knowledge and acumen required her to be par excellence to do what’s right for those that she represents.
Working tirelessly as the CEO of the Surrey Board of Trade to make Surrey a prosperous place in which to live, learn, work and do business, Anita is a champion with a lot on the go. She guides a staff of ten who work as a cohesive unit on often complicated issues involving investments, business development, government policies and initiatives, board governance, operations and events that cater to over 6,000 members.
When members, media, and government officials send her emails, she makes it a priority to respond personally. Putting in 12-hour days is the norm, and her effort has not gone unnoticed. She holds the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal, was the recipient of the 2011 Business in Vancouver’s Top 40 Under 40 award and was awarded the Canada 150 Community Medal. She has been appointed by Canada’s Minister of Defence as an Honorary Captain of the Royal Canadian Navy, is on the SFU President’s Advisory Council and the SFU India Advisory Council, Co-chair of the Surrey Local Immigration Partnership Committee, and nationally she has been a Trustee of Canada’s National Film Board for 6 years running. Anita has been a trail blazer advocating for change for business and for Surrey, at all levels of government.
The Surrey Board of Trade is a non-profit organization that speaks for the business community at public hearings and to the media, with financial support derived solely from membership fees, sponsorship and service contracts.
Birthplace: Hinton, Alberta
Highest Level of Education: Bachelor’s Degree in Communications at SFU with a minor in European History.
Favourite Past-time: I love listening to live music and dancing. My husband, Ron and I also love exploring new places and traveling.
Toughest professional decision:
Dealing with politicians. It’s very challenging trying to navigate through the myriad of different political perspectives, and to stay true to your own values and ethics. And sometimes you simply have to agree to disagree with grace.
When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
My parents wanted me to be a doctor, but I wanted to work on a cruise ship and travel the world! I saw a job posting to work at the Tourism Travel Information Centre for the Surrey Board of Trade in 1992 which is called my name (laughs). I got the job!
What advice would you give your younger self?
Believe in who you are. There is so much doubt when you’re young, so many questions. But in the end if you stay true to your values and don’t change yourself to cultivate other people’s perceptions of who you should be, you will win in the end.
What does the future look like?
I’d like to travel more; it lends itself to bettering yourself in your professional life. You experience different people, experiences, cultures; it puts you out of your comfort zone sometimes, which truly helps build your professional outlook and leadership ability.