Influential Women in Business Awards: Elizabeth Model

Q&A: CEO, Downtown Surrey Business Improvement Association

Downtown Surrey Business Improvement Association CEO Elizabeth Model is the recipient of this year’s Influential Women in Business Lifetime Achievement Award | Rob Kruyt

BIV is pleased to recognize five outstanding leaders with 2022 Influential Women in Business (IWIB) Awards.

This year’s recipients have achieved remarkable success in their respective careers. They are recognized by their peers for their contributions to community, and they are advocates and champions of women in business. Recipients will be celebrated on March 8 at the Terminal City Club. The event will be livestreamed at 

Elizabeth Model, CEO of the Downtown Surrey Business Improvement Association, is the 2022 Lifetime Achievement Award recipient. Her extensive 35-year career includes management of a large land development firm, owning and operating a Vernon hotel and leadership of the Tri-Cities Chamber of Commerce. In her current role, Model has been a major influence on the growth of B.C.’s second largest city.

What career highlight are you most proud of?

The most important highlights are the value of people I’ve had the opportunity to work with and the relationships fostered — my business friendships and connections.

Your toughest professional challenge as a woman in business?

Acceptance of failures, knowing when to “pull the plug” and recognizing in retrospect, as a learning experience.

Greatest advice ever received?

1. Always be open to explore new opportunities that are presented and come your way, and never make a quick “judgement” decision. My 24-hour rule; think things through.

2. Get to know your community leaders and nurture those relationships.

3. Serve on community boards and volunteer.

What do you wish you knew when you were first starting out?

The real estate gains in Metro Vancouver. I would have purchased more properties.

What does it take to be a leader in 2022?

Adaptability. The ability to be very forward-thinking with ideas through education about the new realities surrounding our ever-changing environment. Look to the experts, fact finders and researchers for information and be innovative. Hire and surround yourself with people from diverse skillsets and with different points of view, but who also align with your values and ethics.

Your top takeaway from leading during the pandemic?

Share your credit. Great success is all about team efforts. Value your volunteers and staff.

What is your best habit?

My early morning workout routine without distractions. It sets me up for the day as I work things through and is my best, most alert thinking time. My best ideas come to me during “my time.”

A book you would recommend? 

My interests in reading are so diverse: Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike; The Secret Race: Inside the Hidden World of Tour de France; The Five People You Meet in Heaven. Favourite daily reading: The Economist and BIV.

A surprising or improbable fact about yourself?

I have finished 101 full Ironman Triathlons and 125 full marathons. I have raced on seven continents, and travelled to 50 countries and counting.

What are you looking forward to personally and professionally this year?

Professionally: in-person meetings and events. Personally: more international travel with my partner and “active lifestyle” friends. •