Amber Darling receives Canada’s first

Community Futures Professional Designation

Amber Darling

Amber Darling, Business Advisor with the Trenval Business Development Corporation is the first person in Canada to earn a Professional Designation from the Community Futures Leadership Institute (CFLI).  The CFLI is a nation-wide professional development program for staff at Community Futures Development Corporations. 

Ontario’s 61 Community Futures Development Corporations are experts at rural economic development. Through assisting and financing small businesses, and collaboratively and strategically planning, CFDC staff work to build Ontario’s rural economies. 

In Ontario, 55 CFDC staff members are registered with the Community Futures Leadership Institute, and 22 have completed their Certification, which is the first level.  Ms. Darling is the first to complete the Professional Designation or second level.   The CFLI has four areas in which Community Futures staff can earn certifications: General Manager, Business Analyst, Community Economic Development Officer, and Administrative Coordinator. 

Ms. Darling has been with the Trenval Business Development Corporation, located in Belleville, for 21 years. “I started in reception and moved on to bookkeeping, then I became Trenval’s coordinator for the Eastern Ontario Development Program.  I moved on to become the Executive Assistant and began lending,” she says.  For the past 10 years she has been Business Advisor, looking after all Investment Services.

Her rise through the ranks at Trenval BDC is the result of her passion for professional development.  She has always looked for educational opportunities to aid her career path.  “I believe in continual upgrading”, she adds.  She completed courses in Financial Accounting for Lenders and Commercial Lending to Small Business through the Ontario Association of Community Futures Development Corporations (OACFDC). In addition, she took courses on Bankruptcy and Collections. In 2010, she was certified as a Small Business Counsellor with APEC (Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation), through the Acadia Centre for Social & Business Entrepreneurship at Acadia University in Nova Scotia.

In 2012, she received her basic certification from CFLI, and then in 2014, she moved forward with her Professional Designation, becoming the first to complete the program.  “I am pleased to have this designation; it demonstrates professionalism.  It’s important for our community here in Belleville and area to know that we at Trenval are professionals, and we are part of a bigger organization such as the Ontario Association of Community Futures Development Corporations,” says Ms. Darling.

“At the OACFDC, we are very proud of Amber and her achievements, and we’re especially pleased that the first person with a Professional Designation in Canada is from Ontario,” Executive Director Diana Jedig says.  “Amber has always been a great supporter of the Community Futures program and our Association,” Ms. Jedig adds.  She cites Ms. Darling’s involvement in the Association’s various professional development courses and her attendance at the OACFDC’s annual conference as evidence of her passion for the work that the Community Futures Program does. 

The Community Futures Program was founded in 1985 by the Government of Canada. The Program supports 61 Community Futures Development Corporations (CFDCs) in rural Ontario through FedDev and FedNor. CFDCs provide flexible, repayable loans to small and medium sized businesses in order to facilitate local economic development. There are 37 in rural Southern Ontario and 24 in the North. Ontario CFDCs are part of the Ontario Association of Community Futures Development Corporations (OACFDC) and the Community Futures Network of Canada (CFNC).

To learn more about CFDCs in Ontario or the OACFDC,
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