“A Trusted Convener”

One of the most important roles the Chamber plays in our community is that of a trusted convener. Those aren’t my words – they come from the many member interviews and focus groups that lead to the development of our current strategic plan. Of all the comments and member feedback we received during that process in 2016, it was the concept of being a convener that has stuck with our staff the most. With that motivation in mind, your Chamber is always working to bring the brightest and most passionate people in Tallahassee together to create pathways to a more prosperous future.

Over the course of the last century, the Chamber has become an important place for leaders to gather, converse and strategize for how to best move the community forward. Beneath that reality is a long held belief that shared prosperity comes from an expressed desire to grow. Because of that belief, more times than not, when the Chamber convenes various community leaders, discussions about growth are on the agenda.

The range of those discussions across a given week can be quite diverse. Sometimes the conversations are aimed at important infrastructure projects or public policy and other times they revolve around impacting issues like poverty or talent retention. Either way, you can bet we will seek to fill the room with subject matter experts, local officials, industry leaders and other relevant Chamber members. As Chamber staff, we know we don’t have all the answers, but by filling the room with the right people we can increase the odds of finding solutions that work for everyone.

In case you were wondering, these meetings are not held in smoke filled rooms with the curtains pulled shut. These are meetings that happen all across our community. Just this week a number of Chamber leaders gathered at City Hall to learn about how the City is delivering 21st century transit services to our citizenry. That meeting even included a bus tour of South City which was aimed at educating our members on how system improvements at Star Metro can better connect our local workforce to jobs. This was part of a community discussions series inspired by feedback from those who attended the trip to Greenville, SC this past Spring.

In another meeting this week, a variety of business leaders met to learn about the potential benefits of the proposed Suncoast Parkway expansion into our region. This project would more effectively connect the Capital Region to Central and South Florida via our State toll road network. In today’s globally competitive environment, projects like that can make the difference between winning and losing potential jobs. There is still much to learn and rest assured that we will be convening more meetings to educate our members about the project and its potential impacts.

As Chamber staff, we are constantly looking for what the next meeting should be about. In our mission statement, we lay out our desire to be a Catalyst for Business Growth, but it is important to remember that as a trusted convener we have to always consider how we can inspire community growth.

The idea of community growth is bigger than just new buildings and roads – although those are massively important. In reality, community growth is more holistic than that. It means growing the pie so that everyone’s slice can be a bit more fulfilling.

To generate that kind of scale for our community requires comprehensive strategies and a clear plan for execution. This is something that every community has to work on, but here in Tallahassee there are strong signs of improvement on this front. Each time that our team sends out a meeting request, we feel good knowing that there are numerous local leaders who will adjust schedules, prioritize their time and make every effort necessary to be in the room where they are needed. The long term success of Tallahassee and the Capital Region depends on the people who keep showing up when asked to convene. As long as our members keep answering that call, we will continue to have a bright and prosperous future. If you know someone who needs to be a part of the next important gathering, I hope you’ll encourage them to join the Chamber and be a part of moving Tallahassee forward.

Jay Revell

Vice President

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