Tallahassee Chamber evolves to meet members’ needs in 2020 — and beyond | Opinion

Via Tallahassee Democrat

As chair of the Greater Tallahassee Chamber of Commerce, I’ve seen firsthand how quickly we pivoted to help local businesses not only survive, but thrive, in 2020.

None of us could have anticipated the struggles we would face due to the global pandemic. In difficult times, it’s especially important that we pause to appreciate everything we’ve accomplished together. There are many reasons for hope as we enter 2021.

Facing COVID-19 head-on

Once it became clear this would be a year like no other, the Chamber quickly mobilized to offer programming that would address the struggles our members were facing. Along with webinars on the Family Medical Leave Act and the Paycheck Protection Program, we hosted a series designed to help businesses adapt.

Topics included developing unique selling and outreach strategies, dynamic leadership and preparing for the post-pandemic economy. The Chamber will continue to evolve to help businesses navigate the challenges ahead.

Launching TalentHub 2030

Even as the Chamber offered new programs, we remained dedicated to our priorities: growing business, advocating for business and bridging the talent gap. In August, the Chamber worked with partners throughout the region to launch TalentHub, an online platform that assists our workforce in exploring careers, building skills and finding jobs. The Chamber is dedicated to making Tallahassee the talent capital of Florida by 2030.

Advocating for business

The Chamber continues to advocate for initiatives that offer the biggest return on the quality of life and economic success. In June, the board of directors endorsed the Children’s Services Council, approved by Leon County voters in November.

This was the right position, not only for our children but for creating a well-educated workforce. The Chamber will continue to advocate for issues that benefit our community and create a vibrant economy.

Looking ahead

Now more than ever, businesses are seeing a return on their investment in Chamber membership. The membership retention rate for 2020 was 90%, and we welcomed 125 new members.

Today’s Chamber recognizes the value of collaboration. We continue to seek ways to work with other local Chambers of Commerce as well as other business and economic organizations. We’ve also strengthened efforts to ensure diversity among our board of directors. We’re dedicated to ensuring the board is reflective of our diverse community.

As I pass the gavel to Jay Smith, vice president of Ajax Building Corporation, I know the Chamber will stay the course on these priorities. Jay has been heavily involved in a refresh of the Chamber’s strategic plan, which will be unveiled during the Annual Meeting at 11:30 a.m. on Thursday, Jan. 14 with in-person and streaming options for attendance.

Please join us as we continue this positive momentum. If ever there were a year that showed us the power of working together, it was 2020. When businesses stand together, we are all stronger.

Beth Corum is the outgoing chair of the Greater Tallahassee Chamber of Commerce and COO of Capital City Bank.