Reflecting back to my first blog as Chamber President, I talked a lot about being excited and overwhelmed, which I suppose is appropriate for starting a new job. A year and a half later, however, I still find myself excited and overwhelmed, only with a slightly different twist. I am still excited to be working at the chamber, facilitating the programs and events that connect and engage our members. I enjoy building those relationships in the community and connecting people. As our area continues to grow, there are even more occasions to do so. I am excited at the numerous and increasing opportunities to advocate and serve the business community. Yet, I am still overwhelmed at the scope of this as more and more issues come across my desk. I am overwhelmed at the generous volunteers and committee members, which give of their time and abilities which enable us to do so much more that would be impossible with just our small but dedicated staff. As we prepare for our Annual Awards Banquet (in 10 DAYS!!), I wish we could give out more awards and recognize more people – we had over 28 nominations this year! It is a testament to the quality of people living and working in this community.
Back in July of 2016 I wrote: “As I continue on the weeks ahead, I invite any and all feedback from our members…stop by, call or email me. Keep an eye out for all the great things you are used to as well as the new things to come… I trust that I’ll continue to be excited and overwhelmed.”
True. I always welcome feedback. One of my biggest challenges is finding the time to meet with members. There are still some I have not yet gotten the chance to visit. I also titled the blog: Same mission. Also true. Our focus remains on our mission: the Champion of the Williston Area United Business Community. For over 110 years, the Chamber has been in the Williston area advocating for business interests, promoting prosperity for the businesses and likewise promoting the general welfare of the area. One of the common misconceptions I have heard out there is that we are division of the city. We of course have a very close working relationship with the city and county, however, at our core, the Chamber distinguishes itself in order to advocate for the businesses. While often we have the same objective as the city, other times, we do not. And likely, if something is impacting you, it is impacting others. As a membership organization, the Chamber has a strong voice – it is the over 500 businesses united verses one person or business. The Chamber is working on your behalf while you are working on your business. We keep your interests near and dear to our heart and constantly work so that you don’t have to, especially alone. We know how busy you are.
Reflecting on where we go from here, it is all about our focus. The backbone of all that we do is our mission. In 2018, our strategic focus, while tweaked a bit, continues to be focused on improving in a few key areas: Advocacy, programs and services, strategic partnerships, and organizational excellence. Plan to attend our Annual Meeting on January 23rd to find out more. And as always, please reach out – email, call or stop by! We will continue to visit you, and of course, advocate for the united business community.