I remember when my boys were babies everything was tracked by months. Three-month checkup, 18-month checkup, etc. So here I am completing a six-month checkup. It’s hard to believe six months has already passed. I’ve had an amazing experience getting to know the membership, Chamber staff and the Board of Directors.
As a Texazonan, I originally came from Texas but have lived in Tucson for 22 years; I am incredibly invested in Tucson. A Wildcat married to a Tucson native Wildcat, this is my home and I am so proud to lead the business community to create a stronger economy.
Many would describe me using three words – persistent, collaborative and funny. I want those three attributes to shine through the Chamber as well, as I put the “Amber” in “Chamber” (There is a sign of the funny part I mentioned. I can’t take myself too seriously.)
Over the past year we’ve made a lot of changes here at the Chamber. Some employees have gone on to their next adventure, while others have come to start theirs, myself included. The new Chamber, reflecting our core values, has a renewed focused on addressing the business needs of our community.
We have been surveying our members and it’s clear what is wanted by the membership – business advocates. How that is defined can be different for each business. Advocate doesn’t just mean pushing a pro-business political agenda, it includes being a catalyst for business growth and champion for a stronger community. While we have retooled the Chamber’s advocacy department with the addition of Vice President Michael Guymon, who will focus on local political issues, the Chamber will also be a business advocate in supporting business operations for sustainability and growth. This is where we have really grown as an organization.
Have you seen our new Calendar of Events? We know that small businesses, and really businesses of every size, need connections. As we represent 1,500 companies, who better to provide new connections than the Chamber? Due to the size of our organization, our list of event attendees is very diverse. You’re not going to have the same group of people at each event. We’ve listened to our members’ feedback and have incorporated a variety of meeting times, so that individuals can try to attend based on their schedule.
We’ve begun a new Speed Networking event, where you can start your morning by making 16 new contacts in 60 minutes. Knowledge at Noon is a chance to network with colleagues while attending a mini-workshop on business matters to help improve your operations and bottom line; and we of course want you to be able to relax after a long day with some colleagues at our Chamber XChange networking happy hours. Each of these events are held monthly with the exception of December, because we know how busy the holidays can be.
In September we will introduce our CEO mixers with the Chamber’s Board of Directors and Emerging Leaders Council so that we can continue to develop mentoring opportunities for the next generation that will take over the reins. Our Issues Over Easy breakfast is now monthly at a lower price point offering more members the opportunity to attend and hear about regional issues such as workforce development, which is being featured at this Friday’s Issues Over Easy. This particular issue is where the Chamber will shine, leading and collaborating with regional partners including Sun Corridor, Pima Community College, Visit Tucson, JTED, the University of Arizona and many others as we work on workforce development and talent attraction issues.
Overall, I am here to serve you alongside the entire Chamber team of staff and board of directors. Being your business advocate is the Chamber’s core mission and our goal is to advocate for you- whether we are identifying more opportunities for you to make connections in a meaningful way, reducing red-tape at the bureaucratic level or providing you with resources to run your business- it is all designed with you in mind as we serve businesses in every industry, of every size. We will support you in your day-to-day operations while also working on community issues that impact our overall economy.
Please reach out to me directly with an issue or use our online “We Can Help” button. It’s a pleasure and honor serving you and I look forward to the next six months.
President & CEO