New Chamber plan will strengthen businesses

From the Tallahassee Democrat

My View by Reggie L. Bouthillier, Greater Tallahassee Chamber of Commerce Chairman of the Board of Directors

Now is an exciting time to be involved in growing Tallahassee’s economy. Our community is poised for success with all the right ingredients: talent, a growing spirit of entrepreneurship and leaders who are committed to seeing all businesses flourish.

The Greater Tallahassee Chamber of Commerce is committed to sustaining this momentum with a new strategic plan that reflects this pivotal time in our community’s history.

The Chamber’s new strategic plan is the result of an extensive process that involved gathering input from our members, nonmembers and many others in the community. With the tremendous help of North Highland Company, we conducted more than 70 interviews and surveyed our 1,400 members. Our plan reflects what you, our members and our community want to see from your Chamber.

As the Capital City’s largest and longest-serving business support organization, the Chamber has always been a catalyst for economic growth. Our new strategic plan represents a critical step in the evolution of our 93-year organization. We’re a Chamber on a bold new path with new energy and a stronger commitment to driving value to our members and being the premier voice for business in our community.

The Chamber is adapting to our community’s approach to economic development, which includes the recently formed Tallahassee-Leon County Office of Economic Vitality. Together, we will cultivate a vibrant community where everyone can thrive.

This month we begin implementing our new strategic plan, which outlines our commitment to growing the economy, advocating for business success and driving value to our members. There are three key tenants to our new direction:

Growing business

We will grow business with a focus on four areas: talent, entrepreneurship, existing industries and the business environment. These priorities are the foundation for everything we do.

One example of our approach is the Tally Job Hop, a program that has introduced dozens of university students to our city’s top employers in technology and marketing. We will expand this program with the goals of retaining talent and promoting Tallahassee as an exciting place to work and live.

Advocating for business

We will speak with one voice on the issues that matter most to business through a network of community partners including local government, higher education and industry representatives.

An example here includes the Chamber’s recent success in advocating for the elimination of the City of Tallahassee’s business license tax. Special thanks to city leadership for making this happen. Another example includes the launch of Capital City Day to celebrate Tallahassee and focus the Legislature’s attention on our economic priorities.

We will continue to be a powerful influence for change supporting business.

Driving value to members

We will deliver value to our members through innovative programs and services. We are here to connect members to the information and resources they need to grow their bottom line.

Moving forward, we will continue to maintain open channels of communication and transparency, and we want to hear from you.

If you’ve been waiting to join the Chamber, now is the time. If you are a member and want to get more involved, now is the time.  We are connecting people across our community to build an economic future where everyone can succeed. We want you at the table.

This is your community and your Chamber. Please contact us today and let us know how we can help you grow your business.

Reggie L. Bouthillier is Chairman of the Board of Directors for the Greater Tallahassee Chamber of Commerce, a shareholder at Stearns Weaver Miller, and chair of Stearns Weaver Miller’s Land Development, Zoning & Environmental Group.