Like a loaf of bread in your cupboard, every company will eventually go stale. When that happens, there are numerous problems that ensue. Sales decline, revenue plummets, people leave their jobs and customers disappear. It happens every day and often it’s because the flow of ideas has run dry.
New ideas are the lifeblood of any entity and the day they run out is the day the decline kicks in. That is why companies must continually refresh their organizational charts with new talent. It’s not about replacing people but instead adding to the perspective of the team and bringing new energy to help boost the entire company. In today’s business world, new ideas and energetic execution are must-have components for achieving success. The same is true for your local Chamber of Commerce.
The reason that the Greater Tallahassee Chamber of Commerce has survived for nearly 97 years is that we have a constant stream of new members and leaders participating in the work we do. These fresh faces are welcomed into the organization each and every day and with them comes new ideas for how to make a bigger impact on the community. This week, our team welcomed eight new leaders to our Board of Directors, who were recommended after the careful consideration of our nominating committee and incoming Chair, Beth Corum.
The Chamber has a large Board of Directors and that is intentional. With 43 members, our Board offers us the chance to engage a wide variety of business interests from all across the community. The best part is that due to the large size there is a regular turnover created when members term out after years of service to the organization. As much as we hate to see wonderful Board members depart, it is also exciting to see new directors join. They are the ones who often can be credited with sparking ideas that lead to our never ending organizational evolution.
A good example of that evolution is how we on-board the new slate of directors. For the 2019-2020 fiscal year, we shook that model up quite a bit. In previous iterations, we had an orientation meeting that included the entire Board of Directors. Even though that provided a convenient refresh on how we operate, it probably didn’t give new directors a good enough opportunity to connect with each other, share their business story and express new ideas to our staff. Thanks to the creative thinking of our own Sarah Solomon, Coordinator of Board and Strategic Engagement, we held a small gathering just for our new directors and staff to get to know each other and talk about what we do, how they can help and where the Chamber is headed in the future.
With a menu that included coffee and conversation, our team spent an hour and a half engaging with the newest directors of the Chamber Board this week. We walked them through our priority areas – Growing Business, Advocating for Business, and Bridging the Talent Gap – while also sharing how we aim to drive value to our members through all that we do. There were staff introductions and discussions about our affiliate programs, as well as some basics on how we keep the doors open. After those formalities, we shifted into broader talks about what they want to see from our Chamber.
The best part of this orientation was getting to listen to how passionate each of the new directors is about what they do and learning more about how they see the Chamber through their unique world view. These are the kind of member perspectives that our Chamber staff is always looking for in an attempt to understand how to do what we do better. Our newest directors represent a wide array of companies and partner organizations and that is exactly how we like it. Their diverse backgrounds and wildly varied career paths are the type of ingredients we have to keep adding to our recipe for success in order to remain relevant.
We can’t allow our Chamber to be like an aging loaf of bread in the cupboard. Being stale means being tossed out. In order for the Chamber to continue being the voice for business, we must keep new faces and new ideas coming into our organization and the Board that steers it. To be the catalysts for business and community growth, the Chamber has to remain a place where people who want to fight for a more impressive future continue to gather and bring new energy to the work we do. At this week’s Board orientation, our staff saw great evidence that we are on the right path. Our newest directors came to the table with big ideas, valuable experience and a desire to be a part of something that matters. You can learn more about these directors below. In with the new and onward together.
Kelly O’Keefe, Shareholder, Stearns Weaver Miller
Jason Ghazvini, Vice President, Premier Fine Homes
Ted Frazee, President, Redwire
John McNeill, Commercial Advisor, NAI TALCOR
Danny Shrine, Founder & Owner, Full Press Apparel
Amanda Morrison, Managing Partner, Social Catering and Events
Sha’Ron James, Partner, Berger Singerman
Rochard Moricette, Student Government Association President, FAMU