With change comes new opportunities | Opinion

From the Tallahassee Democrat

“If you don’t like change, you’re going to like irrelevance even less.”

All conference rooms at Prime Meridian Bank include framed versions of this message. When folks visit, they always ask me about it. It’s a great reminder (and a good conversation starter).

Looking back over the last two years, I’m not sure anyone could anticipate how true this statement would turn out to be. The status quo simply doesn’t cut it. As community advocates, our recent experience with unavoidable change brought on by a pandemic – taught us all to do things differently. The way we hold meetings changed. The way we provide services changed. Even the way our children play changed.

Here’s the good news: as we addressed these challenges, our toolbox just kept getting bigger. Now, we are even more prepared to deal with the unexpected. If we can approach change as something to be embraced, think how much stronger we will be as a community. During my term this year as chair of the Greater Tallahassee Chamber, that will be my goal – Embrace Change.  I will work to do this by bringing people together.

Jay Smith, my predecessor, and Sue Dick, our Chamber’s rock-star President/CEO, have already modeled inclusivity.

In 2021, they forged an extraordinary partnership between the three chambers in town as well as the Network of Entrepreneurs and Business Advocates (NEBA), to support the Northeast Gateway and Airport Gateway projects. The same is true for the Chamber’s Classroom Connection program between the business community and Leon County Schools.

We will build on these successes and look hard for collaborations, high and low, wherever we can find them. We will talk with anyone and everyone to forge positive change for Tallahassee. Let’s unleash the economic power of the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory (MagLab) at FSU.

The MagLab continues to spin off valuable (and marketable) research and it’s right in our backyard.  This will drive good jobs and prosperity more than we can even imagine. Let’s share this message with the world and parlay it into even more jobs and investments.

Partnerships in our medical community are also thriving, most notably between our hospitals, Florida State University and Florida A&M University. The work being done at Tallahassee Community College, Lively Technical College and Leon County Schools will help us bridge talent gaps and make sure our young people have a path to meaningful employment. Creating opportunities to grow good jobs and a strong economy are the best ways to combat the challenges we face as a community.

Please join us as we continue this positive momentum and kick off the year at the Chamber’s Annual Meeting at 8 a.m., February 23. Tickets are available at www.talchamber.com.

If ever there were a year that showed us the power of working together, it was 2021. We used to say, “Let’s get to work.”  How about we make that, “Let’s work together.”

Sammie D. Dixon, Jr. is Vice-Chairman, President and CEO, Prime Meridian Bank, and 2022 Chair, Greater Tallahassee Chamber of Commerce.