2024 Professional Development Day



How to be Adaptable & Resilient in Today’s Environment

    • The role of BIAs is changing and with life getting complicated, how do you get back to basics to advocate for your BIA and be better prepared for your job by managing expectations and building relatonships, especially with your municipality? When every day is a nightmare, how do you use your forces for good? Sometimes you need to say no.
    •  Hear from Municipalities and industry leaders on how to manage expectations.
    • The Gaslight District Tour
    • Experience the River Lines, a playing surface that marks the 1974 Grand River flood line and visit Meander – a joyful interactive sculpture inspired by the Grand River and more!
    • 8:30am – Breakfast 
    • 9:15am – Welcome & Introductions 
    • 9:30am – Morning Session
    • 10:30am – Morning Session
    • 12:00pm – Lunch 
    • 1:00pm – Community Tour of The Gaslight District
    • 3:30pm – Closing session
    • 5:30pm – Event Complete
The goal of this event is to see activations in Cambridge that assist in community building, provide shared experiences and networking while building capacities of BIAs across the province.
Stay tuned for more session updates.

Sponsorship Opportunities


Address74 Grand Ave S, Cambridge, ON N1S 2L9


For those requiring accommodations, OBIAA has a group block at the Cambridge Hotel. 

Cambridge Ontario Hotel

700 Hespeler Rd, Cambridge, ON N3H 5L8
$134.00 CAD / night. Cut-off Date: September 6, 2024
TO BOOK BY PHONE, CALL 519-622-1505 or
TO BOOK BY EMAIL, SEND to [email protected] 
QUOTE THE FOLLOWING GROUP NAME: “Ontario Business Improvement Association” and provide requested dates.
Rooms are available on a first-come, first-served basis.
All rooms will be considered guaranteed 48 hours prior to arrival. Any cancellations within 48 hours and/or “no shows” will be subject to full charges against the credit card provided at the time of reservation.
Check-in time is 3:00pm on the day of arrival and check-out is 11:00am.



Rachel will be presenting a session on how the St. Catharines Downtown Association works closely with local partners to achieve success.


Rachel Braithwaite recently moved into the position of Executive Director for the St. Catharines Downtown Association. 

The St. Catharines Downtown Association (SCDA) is a non-profit organization that represents approximately 500 members including commercial property owners, retailers, restaurants, and professional offices in the designated BIA. The mandate of the St. Catharines Downtown Association includes participating in programs aimed at the physical improvement and beautification of the core, as well as the promotion of the Downtown as a great place in which to shop, work, dine, play, meet, live and explore. 

Prior to that, she was the Executive Director of the Barton Village BIA for 6 years. She founded the Barton Village Festival in 2015, an annual street festival that celebrates what the Barton community has to offer and brings over 25,000 people to Barton Village. In the last 3 years she welcomed more than 30 new businesses to her BIA. Barton Village BIA, once Hamilton’s Historic Shopping District, is transforming to be Hamilton’s newest Restaurant district with unique and cultural treasures.

Scott will be taking attendees on a tour of The Gaslight District and finishing off the day with a session to help inspire attendees to implement best practices in their communities.


Scott Higgins is a passionate business and community builder who is helping HIP Developments play a leadership role in the evolution of Southwestern Ontario.  Scott’s desire to achieve both business and community success is the driving vision behind HIP’s “Building More Than Real Estate” philosophy.  In addition to simply being a large residential and mixed-use real estate developer, HIP Developments actively creates and supports public spaces and events that inspire community confidence and joy. Scott invites you to open your hearts, minds and spirits to explore new possibilities, and imagine what cities built for the human spirit can bring to our collective future.

▪ High value speakers and professional development content including industry subject matter expert keynote speakers

▪ A tour of The Gaslight District 

▪ A Continental Breakfast and a Hot Lunch 

▪ Networking Opportunities


Kerry Jarvi | Chair | City of Woodstock

Liz Behrens | Volunteer

Salvatore Marchese | Sault Ste. Marie Downtown Association

Brendan Wetton | International Village BIA (Hamilton)

Nick Crozier | Uptown Saint John BIA

Melissa McFarland | Lindsay Downtown BIA

Jody Yantha | Bancroft BIA


Kay Matthews | OBIAA Executive Director

Erin Douglas | OBIAA Administrative & Membership Manager 

Kennishia Duffus | OBIAA Event Manager



City of Cambridge


Explore Waterloo Region

For Additional Information

If you require any further information, please contact OBIAA at 1-866-807-2227 or email [email protected]

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