Local business owner gives to the Games, thanks to years of success

For immediate release Feb. 19, 2010

As a well-seasoned entrepreneur in Metrotown, owner of Central Park Business Centre Diana Gray is learning how years of hard work can pay off: It’s by being able to pay back to the community.

Having wisely built up an efficient staff to take care of her business, Gray had the freedom to become an official volunteer for the Vancouver 2010 Olympics. The enthusiastic business-owner says life is rewarding her the chance to be part of something that’s going to help our tourism and economy, not to mention her fellow business folk.

And how proud of her efforts she is…

“It makes me feel good to be a part of this…I feel proud to be wearing the well-recognized blue uniform, and to be a part of this Olympic event. I feel like a city ambassador even when I’m not on shift!”

Gray thought that with her extensive business expertise she would be helping out by providing administrative and management support services. She not only runs a 25 year-running business center, she’s also co-authored a national-selling text book called The Complete Canadian Small Business Guide, now in its third edition. But when the desperate call came for more drivers, she jumped at the chance to play tour guide and chauffer at the same time.

“It afforded me an opportunity to meet a wide variety of people and to engage in one-on-one conversations while driving them from their hotels to the various Olympic venues,” explains the 30-year Vancouver resident, who could win her own gold medal at being an enthusiastic city ambassador.

Her commitment has her working 30 to 40 hours a week driving from downtown to Cypress Mountain, to Canada Place to the Olympic Oval and beyond, but as far as she’s concerned, this is what she was made for (to adapt one advertiser’s Olympic slogan).

“I feel as Vancouverites and Canadians, we all have an opportunity and responsibility to play ‘good host’ to our City’s guests…Visitors’ impressions will have a direct impact on whether they choose to return again either for business or pleasure.

“Especially after this tough economic period we’ve experienced over the past year or so, it gives us a unique opportunity to help to turn things around.”

Luckily, Gray was willing to share the secret of being a “good host”: Smile!

“Although there are language differences, a smile means the same in every language. It communicates a welcoming and accepting attitude. It crosses cultures and every ethnicity. Smiles are contagious.”

For Gray, this won’t be the end of her community spirit. She knows her experience at the Games will open up other avenues where she can continue to reap the non-materialistic rewards of volunteering. As she puts it, “There is a real camaraderie that exists amongst volunteers that is very engaging and widens one’s circle and perspectives. It is very motivating and satisfying to me personally.”