“It Starts With Us”

Time moves fast. As 2019 yields to 2020, the world seems to be speeding up at an unstoppable pace. Things are changing fast here in Tallahassee too. Think of how far our community has come in the past ten years then imagine where this new decade might take us. There is no way to know how things will pan out, but we can presume that in the years that lay ahead Tallahassee and Leon County will continue to change dramatically. It is important to consider our role as business minded citizens in this oncoming era of change.

Here at the Chamber we are focused on creating a vision for the future of business in the Capital City while shaping the broader community in ways that benefit us all. We believe the work happening today will greatly impact the more prosperous future we hope to forge. Our Chamber board and other leaders believe that with the momentum we have the potential to build as a community in the coming years can lift our standing in the world. There are already numerous projects of great importance being both built and considered and if we do that work well, collectively we might just be able to reshape how the world thinks about the place we all love so much.

Our community has tremendous potential, but in order to achieve our best possible future we must first be willing to see the extent of what we can become. This has long been a motivation for our Community Leadership Trips. In the past decade, our Chamber has visited numerous cities – Boulder, Nashville and Greenville for example, to learn and take caution from other communities which have planned and inspired high impact growth. Taking such trips to learn from other places is important, but as we stand on the threshold of a new decade the time has come to convert ideas into reality right here at home.

With that in mind, we are committed to working with our community partners to make this next decade one of the most important and impactful in our history. Fortunately, we have two important milestones to help us find our motivation and measure our success along the way. In 2023, our Chamber will turn 100 years old. As we prepare to celebrate a century of being community champions and civically engaged businesses, this organization remains focused on how we can make Tallahassee a place that people want to live, and companies want to locate. The following year, in 2024, Tallahassee and Leon County will both be recognizing our community bicentennial. In the nearly 200 years since our home was declared the Capital City of Florida; our citizens have carefully crafted a community in which there is much to be proud of. Now is the time to start thinking about what kind of Capital City we will become over the next 100 years and what kind of Chamber we must be to help guide positive, meaningful, and attractive growth here.

On our way to the Chamber centennial and community bicentennial, we must constantly consider what economic opportunities exists here, how we attract and retain talent and most importantly what kind of world we are creating for our children. Those questions are what currently drive our Chamber leaders in the various discussions we regularly take part in with stakeholders across the community. We are very blessed to live in a place that offers us so much to enjoy as part of our high quality of life, but we must press forward and strive to do better for the whole community. There is still much work to be done if we hope to make our future one where all citizens believe they can achieve a safe and prosperous existence.

As Chamber members, volunteers, and staff, we must all insist that our community be one that measures itself with a desire to achieve excellence in all that we do. We should endeavor to inspire our neighbors, aspire for greatness, and cultivate a culture in which we all invest in building the city we all know and hope we can become. If we want to see Tallahassee emerge as one of America’s best mid-sized cities, then we must adopt a new mantra. As we look in the mirror each day, we all must tell ourselves that “It starts with us.”

We each possess the ability to make a difference in our hometown and as we propel ourselves into a new decade with important milestones ahead, it is critical that we all embody the hopes we have for our future and lead by example. There is little time to waste and no room for debating if we should be so ambitious. We, as a community, simply have no choice but to excel.

When people are looking to find the best of Tallahassee and see signs of what we may become, they should not have to look any further than the Chamber of Commerce. We are the organization who can bring people together and set a course for impressive accomplishment. The generations who follow us will judge how well we do and as time moves fast, so should we. The reasons that people join a Chamber of Commerce are many, but we like to believe that one of the most important is that our members want to support work that matters. As staff, we are empowered by our Board of Directors and many volunteers to work on behalf of our members in a manner that both lives up to their beliefs and makes them proud to be part of something impactful. With the arrival of a new decade and the potential for many great outcomes, we are excited to work with so many people, organizations, and businesses who want to make a difference. We are also committed to doing our part in making our home as great as it can and should be.