Wishing We Were With You

Today would have been the day. With cars loaded, bags packed, and business cards freshly stocked over 700 people would be headed to Amelia Island for our 2020 Annual Community Conference, presented by Capital City Bank. Board members would be coming off a productive meeting and our team would be at full attention and ready to greet our guests. Handshakes, hugs, and high fives would be happening all around the corridors of the hotel and as people checked in, they would be receiving bags full of glorious branded swag.  That’s what we should be doing right now, but unfortunately, due to the pandemic, we can only dream of that experience and look forward to reliving it again next year.

There is nothing our Chamber team loves more than producing the Annual Community Conference. It’s our Super Bowl and to be frank it drives much of our thinking each year. Our work goes on, of course, however, there is new and pressing work to do at this moment. Chamber leadership and staff continue our charge by doing what is necessary to drive local business growth. We like to think everything happens for a reason and right now our services are needed in so many ways.

One thing that our leadership and team members pride ourselves on is the ability to pivot. Even while Conference was still up in the air, we were actively having conversations about how we could make programming changes to serve our member’s needs. Once the decision to cancel this year’s conference was made, many of those plans began to go into action.

A good example is next week’s Talent Forum. On Thursday, August 20, we invite you to participate in a virtual event where we will be joined by Florida Chamber President Mark Wilson as our keynote speaker. During that forum, you will have an opportunity to learn about how we are working with various partners to reimagine our local workforce. You won’t want to miss it. Registration is now open and can be accessed at www.talchamber.com.

In addition to next week’s Talent Forum, we will also be working closely with our members to help them apply for additional recovery funding that will soon be made available. Beginning August 17, we will be assisting the Office of Economic Vitality and other local Chambers to help businesses in applying for grants being provided through Leon County by way of the CARES Act. Many of our community’s most impacted businesses will be able to receive this needed financial aid and we will be here to help in that effort. You can learn more about those funds and eligibility requirements online HERE or reach out to our staff directly by emailing Dana Noles at dnoles@talchamber.com.

Although we won’t be kicking off our conference with a welcome reception and this weekend won’t feature nationally recognized speakers or new business connections for attendees, we do hope you will mark your calendar for next year, August 13-15, 2021.  We have received so much support from members in recent weeks and for that we are grateful. Our members mean the world to us, and we hate that we can’t be with you at our conference right now. We would like to send a massive thank you to all our 2020 Annual Community Conference Sponsors who would have helped make the event so special. We couldn’t make the conference or any of our work happen without you all and we can’t wait to gather again with you soon. Until then, stay safe and we hope to see you at our upcoming virtual programs.