Chamber Programs Invest in Community’s Future

In working to build a strong local business community, the Greater Tallahassee Chamber of Commerce places a priority on providing programs and events that bring people together to learn, share, network and do business together. But it must also keep an eye on the future – developing leaders and relationships that will guide the organization for years to come.

“The many programs that fall under the Chamber umbrella are all related to helping local business people be more successful,” said Matt Brown, president and CEO of Premier Bank and current Chamber chairman. “But some are focused specifically on the future of our community. Leadership Tallahassee and Our Region Tomorrow are two of those programs.”

Leadership Tallahassee is a year-long program that seeks to educate and encourage adult participants to actively seek positive and constructive changes in their community through leadership roles. The program begins accepting applications for its 28th class next month.

“Leadership Tallahassee allows us to find those gifted with leadership and identifies those willing to work hard, be engaged, and further the quality of life in Tallahassee,” Brown said. “Leadership Tallahassee also allows new members of the community a quick way to learn what’s important about Tallahassee and gives them an opportunity to be quickly engaged in the leadership process.”

Executive Director Barbara Boone said that the Leadership Tallahassee experience provides a deeper understanding of the issues and challenges facing our community. “By becoming more aware of these issues, participants are able to see areas in which they can make a difference. And they do.”

For more information on Leadership Tallahassee, visit

In addition to developing strong future leaders, the Chamber is working with current leaders from neighboring counties to develop a more regional perspective. Through Our Region Tomorrow, leaders from Leon and nine neighboring counties are working on regional visioning and long-range action planning to help ensure sustainable economic growth and the protection of our natural resources, according to ORT Executive Director Matt Doster. “Gaining a true regional view of our area is vital to both business growth and strengthening the quality of life enjoyed by our residents and visitors.”

Launched in 2007, ORT is off to a quick start in 2010, including the hiring of Rob Palmer as projects director. “At the start of a new year, we are energized and ready to continue the important progress we have made so far,” said Randy Hanna, chair of Our Region Tomorrow. “We have opportunities in this region that we can only truly take advantage of if we work together.”

For example, on February 15, ORT will be co-hosting A Legislative Dialogue with Florida’s Great Northwest. The event, which is being held in conjunction with Access Tallahassee’s annual Access to the Issues program, will feature State legislators from 18 counties ranging from Madison to Escambia who have been invited to discuss workforce and economic development priorities for the upcoming legislative session. Other areas of emphasis for ORT in 2010 include development of a Phase II strategic plan, and upcoming programs on key issues such as infrastructure and economic development.

For more information on Our Region Tomorrow, visit