Weekly Roundup - April 9, 2021

Will Burns on Friday, April 9, 2021 at 12:00:00 am 

#ChamberStrong Initiatives 

  • The Flint & Genesee Chamber unveiled its new identity this week, the Flint & Genesee Group. The organization will market its network of services through four divisions dedicated collectively to advancing the region’s attractiveness as a great place to live, work, play and invest.
  • The Greater Boston Chamber partnered with chambers and businesses across Massachusetts to launch the Massachusetts Business Coalition on Skills, which will focus on closing the skills gap by ensuring that every business can find the talent they need to succeed and every resident to acquire the skills needed to thrive.
  • The Gwinnett Chamber and the Georgia Vietnamese American Chamber recently formalized an alliance to collaborate on projects and advance business and economic development outcomes that promote a vibrant and inclusive economy.
  • The Charlotte Regional Business Alliance launched five new “Collaboratives,” opportunities for investors to engage in the organization’s mission driven work.
  • The West Des Moines Chamber hosted its inaugural Black and Brown Business Summit to elevate the profile of minority-owned businesses and support diverse entrepreneurs and aspiring entrepreneurs.
  • The Sonoma County Housing Fund, a collaboration of the Santa Rosa Metro Chamber and a local community development financial institution announces its first three loans, which will support three developments that will bring 200 affordable homes to the region.
  • The Eugene Area Chamber’s foundation, Onward Eugene, won a major grant to improve access to reliable internet service in an underserved community that was devastated by a wildfire late last year.
  • The Loudoun Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!), presented by the Loudoun Chamber Foundation and Loudon Economic Development Authority, held its fifth annual investor panel where 21 local student entrepreneurs pitched their business plans to a panel of investors.
  • The Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce continues to pivot by expanding support to small business and bolster services for minority-owned businesses
  • The Greater Tallahassee Chamber of Commerce presented a community scorecard to the city commission this week to help policymakers make data-driven decisions that support community priorities. 


What We're Reading

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ACCE Names Anissa Starnes VP & Announces 3 Promotions

Will Burns on Monday, April 5, 2021 at 12:00:00 am 

ACCE named Anissa Starnes, IOM vice president of member engagement. In this role, Starnes will oversee the member knowledge center, professional development programming and membership recruitment and retention.

A 25-year veteran of the chamber industry, Starnes founded the consultancy, Swingbridge Partners, in 2016. Her work focused on executive searches, strategic planning, board development and public speaking for groups of all sizes. She began her career at the Charlotte Chamber, now known as the Charlotte Regional Business Alliance. After her tenure in Charlotte, she served as president & CEO at three other chambers in the Carolinas.

“Anissa is passionate about supporting chambers and chamber professionals to make a greater impact on the communities they serve,” said Sheree Anne Kelly, ACCE’s president & CEO. “Her knowledge of the chamber industry and strengths in professional development and strategic planning make her a perfect fit for this role.”

ACCE also announced the promotion of three other staff members.

Amy Shields was named executive director of the ACCE foundation. Shields joined the ACCE team in 2018 as senior manager of community advancement. Under her guidance, ACCE has improved its professional development programming in areas of education and talent development, diversity equity and inclusion and economic and community development. In 2020, she revamped ACCE’s annual year-long talent fellowship program to focus on helping chambers ensure a more equitable economic recovery as they helped their communities through the COVID pandemic.

Susan McGuire was named senior director of professional development. McGuire has been with ACCE since 2014, serving in various roles overseeing professional development programming, the Certified Chamber Executive (CCE) program, the Membership Development Division and the association’s regional training conferences. She played a leading role in ACCE’s efforts to provide additional online training opportunities during 2020.

Emily Counts was named program associate. Counts joined ACCE in 2018, working on ACCE’s community impact programs, including the healthy communities programming. In recent months, her role has expanded to support all of ACCE’s professional development programming. She spearheaded the growth of the Events Division and supported the association’s work to provide more online training programs throughout 2020.

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The Benefits of Benchmarking

Jen Pack on Monday, March 29, 2021 at 12:00:00 am 

ACCE members use insights from our annual Operations Survey in a variety of ways to gauge performance, benchmark against similar-sized chambers and produce compelling board presentations.

Dynamic Chamber Benchmarking collects data from hundreds of chambers and provides customizable reports that can help you identify trends and track key operations and financial metrics over time. The reports allow chamber leaders to evaluate, benchmark, and improve their organizations through data-enabled strategic planning.

What does this look like in practice? We asked three long-time participants how they use the metrics to improve their organization's competitive edge, create data-backed awareness of COVID's impact, and use benchmarking to develop strategic planning with a future focus.

Colorado Springs Chamber & EDC

Cecilia Harry, CEcD, chief economic development officer for the Coloarado Springs Chamber &, described the importance in the comparison between 2019 and 2020 data for the Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce & EDC.

“We’ve already used the most recent available data and assistance from AskACCE to help our board understand our health before the pandemic and how our challenges with membership and revenue were on par with peer chambers,” Harry said. “We will use FY2020 metrics to again benchmark ourselves against other chambers and queue a comeback story as our economy strengthens and gets back on track.”

Louisiana Association of Business & Industry

The Louisiana Association of Business & Industry uses ACCE's Operations Survey to help make better human resources decisions. Wanda Allphin, chief financial officer, pulled staffing metrics to compare benefit offerings with other chambers. LABI uses the benchmarking metrics to stay competitive and reduce staff turnover. The organization’s personnel committee was so impressed with the metrics that Allphin has continued to enter data and share benchmarking reports every year.


Tulsa Regional Chamber
Allison Walden, senior vice president of resource development at Tulsa Regional Chamber, values the ability to benchmark against chambers similar to hers – organizations with similar revenue that combine chamber/EDC/tourism. She uses the charts and reports available in Dynamic Chamber Benchmarking to benchmark key performance indicators like retention rates, spending allocations, number of members per staff member, and funding and operational trends against those in her tier.

“Short-term comparison to other chambers is not the concern, rather it is winning in 2025,” Walden said. “This requires long-term benchmarking against oneself – comparing when we felt ‘normal’ in 2019 to when we project we may be stable or operating in a ‘new normal’ in 2021 and beyond.”

Participate in ACCE's Operations Survey in Dynamic Chamber Benchmarking (DCB) today to gain insights and benchmark performance and plan for your future.

Enter your data by April 5 to gain access to our new economic recovery report and customizable benchmarking reports. April 5 is also the deadline to submit your data to determine eligibility for the 2021 Chamber of the Year competition, sponsored by MemberClicks.

Learn more and enter your data today.

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Investing in Regional Partnerships

Cathy Lada on Monday, March 29, 2021 at 12:00:00 am 

New Building Enables Chamber to Scale its Impact in Workforce and Community Development

The West Alabama Workforce and Community Development Center in downtown Tuscaloosa, Alabama, is much more than just “the building that houses the chamber of commerce.” It’s a center born of “extensive due diligence, committed partnerships, and a whole lot of patience,” said Jim Page, CCE, President and CEO of The Chamber of Commerce of West Alabama, referencing the project’s origins in a 2018 chamber benchmarking trip to Commerce Lexington in Lexington, Kentucky.

The chamber, which recently sold its former space, now owns the more than 40,000-square-foot building, formerly the main local branch of Regions Bank. The building and its parking lots take up the better part of a city block and thanks to the chamber’s leadership, is going to be home to several of the region’s leaders in workforce and community development.

“We’re excited about the potential synergies between these partner entities working together in the building, sharing common spaces – we can’t yet imagine all that we will see,” said Page.

Page and his board knew the chamber would never need 40,000 square feet, but their vision was much larger than simply housing their organization alone. Page sees the move as more than just a great financial investment – due to their winning proposal the chamber gained immediate and significant equity in the building – he sees it as a great investment in regional partnerships.

The chamber was already a catalytic leader for workforce development in the region, serving as the State of Alabama’s coordinating entity for nine counties through its workforce arm, West Alabama Works. In addition to workforce development, the chamber engages in community development issues directly tied to growing and supporting a thriving workforce, which in turn supports healthy economic development. These issues include access to housing and education, building up the community in underserved areas, access to childcare, transportation investment and more.

The new center is coming alive with tenants representing a variety of aspects of workforce and community development in the region – some who currently partner with the chamber, and others who are new. The building represents a big leap forward in capacity for the region’s numerous partners in workforce and community development to collaborate in a big way, said Page. Tenants include Habitat for Humanity, Junior Achievement, and The Junior League, all of whom are leading successful community, education and workforce development programs. Other tenants the chamber is in discussions with include an organization that offers meaningful employment opportunities for past offenders and one that works with at-risk youth. Camgian Microsystems, an artificial intelligence and machine learning company the chamber helped recruit to Tuscaloosa, will also call the Center home as a tenant. The chamber is partnering with officials from Camgian on strategies to grow the “knowledge based” sector of the economy in a focused effort to keep educated talent from The University of Alabama, Stillman College and Shelton State Community College in the area.

Jim Page, CCE

Page says the building isn’t named for the chamber, but rather, for the broader purpose of supporting inclusive, comprehensive workforce and community development. “We want buy-in from all of our partners, we want them to feel part of the facility,” he added.

The vision for the project, though born of need for more office space due to the chamber’s growing scope of work, was incubated in leaders’ minds after an intercity benchmarking visit to Lexington, Kentucky. Page led a team in 2018 to visit with Bob Quick, CCE, President & CEO of Commerce Lexington, and his team, to get ideas for economic development and study the convention center model in Lexington. Though the goal of the trip was gathering knowledge and insights about The Lexington Center and Rupp Arena in Lexington, something else stood out as well. The Commerce Lexington building houses businesses and organizations, such as Northwestern Mutual and the UK Small Business Development Center, as well as chamber-affiliated entities for economic development, minority business development, and workforce development. Page said he and his group were inspired by seeing employees of all these groups able to collaborate so easily – sometimes over a cup of coffee in their shared break room – and knew something like that could work back home.

The chamber’s vision for the new center includes shared spaces to facilitate those types of valuable exchanges. In addition to the chamber offices, temporarily occupying space on the second floor until the building is fully renovated and open to other tenants, the building will have additional office suites as well as many shared spaces. These include a large and dynamic Boardroom and attached catering kitchen, meeting rooms, a multi-media studio, and a two-story atrium. The atrium formerly housed bank tellers but will be repurposed into a special events space where tenants can have receptions, seminars, and programs. These facilities, by design, are not just open to the building’s tenants, but to all partner agencies looking to collaborate and work on large projects. The lower level of the building houses a large break room, vending machines and a coffee station where employees can converse, eat lunch or gather.

Page’s vision is even bigger still. He and his team are evaluating the possibility of retrofitting and leasing the former bank drive through and associated space for a small deli to serve the tenants in the building as well as the surrounding downtown area. He’s quick to say that this is just an idea, so stay tuned for further updates.

All in all, Page and his team are pleased that the sound financial investment and business decisions will serve the entire Tuscaloosa and West Alabama region now and into the future. In his press release, he gave testament to the fact that these kinds of results are what intercity benchmarking trips are all about – real results that improve the community.

The Backstory

So how did Page and his leadership team leverage a straight-forward commercial property purchase into a powerhouse project to support regional workforce and community development?

In 2018, Page and Donny Jones, the chamber’s chief operating officer, had been having casual conversations about the need for more workspace for chamber staff. The board’s treasurer, Elizabeth Winter, an executive at Regions Bank, shared that her bank was looking to build a more modern, smaller facility and was selling their existing building. She connected Page to their corporate real estate officials, though he knew his chamber would never be able to secure a facility with more than 40,000 square feet of space. Regions was taking proposals, and Page determined it was infeasible to submit at that time. However, he ended up submitting a proposal at the last minute he was sure was never going to measure up financially to the other proposals the bank was sure to receive.

Elizabeth Winter

He was taken by surprise about a month later by a call from the bank’s vice president of corporate real estate, informing him that the vision outlined in the chamber proposal aligned perfectly with Regions’ community priorities. Though the financial offer was indeed not the highest, the bank highly valued the broader purpose of the chamber’s proposed use, and with the lengthy track record of the chamber’s success and with the leadership of Winter, now the chair of the chamber board, the proposal was accepted.

Page says he was shocked the proposal was accepted and knew at this point he had to take it to the full board. Up until that point, only Jones and key members of volunteer leadership had been engaged, but with the support of the full board, the chamber began its due diligence process of what this project would look like. It took about a year, and In January 2020, the chamber officially listed its existing facility, expecting it to sell quickly. Then COVID-19 hit, and no one was buying commercial property. The project was shelved for six months so the chamber could focus all its energies on helping its community through the pandemic, revisiting it in the fall of 2020. On New Year’s Day 2021, the building was shown, and an offer put in on the following Monday, which the chamber accepted.

Page says, “Their [Regions Bank] willingness to make this facility available to the Chamber at a price below market value has made this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity possible, and we are beyond grateful for their generosity and civic-minded focus. Regions shares in the chamber board of directors’ vision of creating a center for workforce and community development that will lead to unprecedented collaboration and synergies in support of job creation, under one roof.”


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Weekly Roundup - March 26, 2021

Will Burns on Friday, March 26, 2021 at 12:00:00 am 

#ChamberStrong Initiatives 

  • The San Diego Regional Chamber launched the Time To Vaccinate campaign to encouraging employers to provide time and flexibility to employees to get vaccinated 
  • The Frederick County Chamber in Maryland announced an expanded and enhanced curriculum for its Leadership Frederick County profit in partnership with Hood College’s doctoral program, embedding graduate-level leadership masterclasses into the curriculum. 
  • North Orange County Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Theresa Harvey was named 65th Assembly District’s 2021 Woman of the Year by California Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva (D-Fullerton). Congratulations Theresa! 
  • The Moore County Chamber of Commerce in North Carolina recently moved into new space and took advantage of the opportunity to offer up their conference room and gathering area to the community as a collaborative workspace
  • The Alameda Chamber of Commerce in California recently launched a 501(c)(3) foundation to support the chamber's educational and charitable programs focusing on business, leadership, and community challenges/development. 
  • Jennifer Tavares, President of the Tompkins County Chamber in New York, provided an update on the organization’s diversity, equity and inclusion work during a recent episode of WHCU’s All Things Equal podcast. 
  • The brainchild of a Grand Rapids Chamber coalition effort, a new child care pilot program is being launched in Michigan to assist lower-income workers with affordable and accessible child care. 
  • The Maryland Chamber Foundation teamed up with George Mason University and Amazon to provide computer science externships to 20 teachers
  • The Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia and the city launched Ready.Set.Philly!, a collaborative initiative to promote a safe return to Philadelphia for work and play. 


What We’re Reading

Tags: Covid-19

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Weekly Roundup - March 12, 2021

Will Burns on Friday, March 12, 2021 at 12:00:00 am 

American Rescue Plan Act Signed Into Law

The $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 was signed into law this week. The law makes an additional $7.25 billion available for the Paycheck Protection Program and expands eligibility to most 501(c) nonprofit organizations. It does not, however, change the program's March 31 expiration date.

The law also extended the Employee Retention Tax Credit to December 31, 2021 and continued the extra $300 in extra weekly unemployment benefits through September 6, 2021.

Other key provisions include

  • $1.25 billion for a grant program for shuttered venues.
  • $25 billion for a new restaurant revitalization program.
  • $350 billion in state and local aid.
  • $300 in extra weekly unemployment benefits through September 6, 2021.

Here is an overview of other key provisions from our friends at ASAE.

In other PPP news, the Small Business Administration released guidance to clarify the definition of "lobbying activities" as it related to PPP eligibility for 501(c)(6) organizations. Learn more here.


#ChamberStrong Initiatives and Programs

  • The Buffalo Niagara Partnership launched an online petition to urge state government leaders to include essential manufacturing sector workers in New York’s COVID-19 1b vaccination group. 
  • The Monroeville Area Chamber of Commerce in Pennsylvania teamed up with Allegheny Health Network earlier this month on an event at the Monroeville Convention Center that provided COVID-19 vaccinations to 5,100 people in one day
  • Grand Rapids Chamber’s director of inclusion Ken James earned a prestigious Executive Certification in Diversity Coaching through the Coach Diversity Institute earlier this week. Congrats, Ken! 
  • The Seymour Chamber in Indiana launched a mural project to commission an artist to paint the side of its building. The goal is to provide a colorful and eye-catching piece of public art to enhance the downtown area and elevate the experience for those visiting the recently revitalized Burkhart Plaza.
  • The Culver City Chamber in California launched earlier this month to promote tourism and commerce in Culver City during a vital time in the pandemic’s recovery phase. 
  • The La Crosse Area Chamber in Wisconsin launched a community-wide talent attraction campaign, aimed at attracting more top-quality employees to relocate, live and work in its community.
  • The city of Nixa, Missouri named Nixa Area Chamber President & CEO Chris Russell 2020 Nixa Citizen of the Year. Russell was recognized his role in helping to guide the community through the COVID pandemic. 
  • The Greater Omaha Chamber is pleased to see several projects that could provide improved transit options, connectivity and walkability for the city’s residents. “There is a growing interest and desire to focus on walkability, bikeability and public transit,” said Stephen Osberg said, director of transportation development for the chamber. 
  • The Rowan County Chamber in North Carolina will host a Salute to Agri-Business to highlight the importance of the industry to the region’s economy. 
  • The Queens Chamber in New York announced a new collaboration with the NYC Family Enterprise Center to support family-owned businesses that have been hard hit by the COVID crisis. 

What We’re Reading

  • Korn Ferry: The way organizations interact with their customers, employees, and society at large is changing at breakneck speed. Organizations must learn how to improve, build on wins to generate momentum and move into a state of continual transformation. 
  • Heartland Forward: Bright, educated millennials are heading into the heartland in search of opportunity, affordable housing and the chance to live where they feel they can make a difference. 
  • Bloomberg CityLab: Don’t flatten the curve on urban innovation. Just because an end to COVID is in sight, cities shouldn’t abandon the bold ideas and actions that made a recovery possible. 
  • MultiState: Earlier this month, Virginia became the second state in the U.S. to pass a comprehensive data privacy law. Will other states follow suit?  
  • NYT: In statehouses, stolen-election myth fuels a G.O.P. drive to rewrite rules
  • Brookings: From commitments to action - How CEOs can advance racial equity in their regional economies. 
  • The New Localism: The American Rescue Plan was signed into law and it contains substantial flexible resources for cities and counties. Bruce Katz explores the challenges of finding the most efficient and equitable way to deploy the funding
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Weekly Roundup - February 26, 2021

Will Burns on Friday, February 26, 2021 at 12:00:00 am 

#ChamberStrong Initiatives & Ideas

  • Second chance hiring advocate and friend of ACCE Jeffrey Korzenik, chief investment strategist for Fifth Third Bank, recently spoke to NC Chamber about the benefits and best practices for business leaders considering second chance hiring strategies.
  • The Chamber of Commerce of West Alabama is moving forward with plans to open the West Alabama Workforce and Community Development Center, a one-of-a-kind facility in Alabama that will house the chamber and West Alabama Works, along with numerous partner workforce and community development organizations.
  • The Southwest Indiana Chamber is merging with two other economic development agencies to form the Evansville Regional Economic Partnership. The merger will take effect April 1.
  • In a recent op-ed Williamson Inc. president and CEO Matt Largen called on the community to rally around its nonprofits, as their service to friends, families and neighbors is more vital than ever.
  • The Denver Metro Chamber had a simple message for Colorado lawmakers in a recent op-ed: "If legislation doesn’t get vaccines into arms, kids into schools or Coloradans back to work and back on their feet, legislators should hold it until next session."
  • Even in the midst of COVID, the Birmingham Business Alliance’s (BBA) Business Retention and Expansion (BRE) team visited more companies than ever in 2020.
  • The Joplin Chamber and local partners unveiled a new collaboration called the Launchpad project, which is designed to improve the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Joplin.
  • The Michigan West Coast Chamber recently asked Cultural Intelligence Consultant, CJ Kingdom-Grier, CEO of Kingdom Grier Consulting, to share advice on how businesses can promote workplace inclusivity in an authentic way.
  • The Torrance Chamber teamed up with PPE Unite to launch a mobile PPE-Up event for small businesses this weekend
  • Greater Cleveland Partnership’s Equity and Inclusion Assessment found that a quarter of Northeast Ohio workforce are Black, indigenous and people of color.


What We're Reading


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Weekly Roundup - February 12, 2021

Will Burns on Friday, February 12, 2021 at 12:00:00 am 

#ChamberStrong Initiatives & Ideas

  • The Metro Atlanta Chamber announced ATL Action for Racial Equity, a multi-year, multi-step action plan designed to help address the ongoing effects of systemic racism impacting the Black community.
  • Greater Keller Chamber of Commerce will provide free rapid COVID-19 testing to chamber members and employees experiencing COVID symptoms. Volunteers who have medical training will oversee the drive-up testing at the chamber building.
  • The Greensboro Chamber launched the inaugural cohort of its Scale to Excel program, which is designed to equip Greensboro-area minority business owners with the executive education, management know-how and business support system needed to take their enterprises to the next level.
  • Following its inaugural Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Conference, the Charleston Metro Chamber compiled a guide with resources to help member organizations at whatever stage in the DE&I journey they are in.
  • The Greater Scranton Chamber launched its new Workforce Wednesday initiative, a virtual program designed to introduce job seekers to local businesses that are hiring.
  • The Greater Memphis Chamber formed a new partnership with the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM)-Memphis Chapter. The first joint venture will pursue opportunities for women who have been out of the workforce for various reasons connecting qualified candidates with potential employers and training programs. 
  • Tennessee Chamber is launching a Support Local Business license plate to promote the work of Tennessee’s business community. All proceeds go to the Tennessee Chamber’s Foundation to promote workforce development and other programs that seek to enhance Tennessee’s business climate.
  • The Santa Barbara South Coast Chamber of Commerce worked with government leaders, public health officials, residents, parents, and the business community to launch its Roadmap to Recovery Plan, which supports the safe and continuous business operation.
  • The Longview Chamber of Commerce launched new talent recruitment tools to help businesses recruit the workers they need by showcasing what it is like to like in Longview.
  • Greater Louisville Inc. President and CEO Sarah-Davasher-Wisdom highlighted the organization’s policy priorities in an op-ed.
  • The six Napa County chambers of commerce, made up of American Canyon, Napa, Yountville, St. Helena and Calistoga Chambers and the Napa County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, have come together to form the Napa Valley Chamber Coalition to engage in public policy to advance the best interest of its members and the overall community.


What We’re Reading


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Weekly Roundup - February 5, 2021

Will Burns on Friday, February 5, 2021 at 12:00:00 am 

#ChamberStrong News

  • The Indiana Chamber will launch a new Talent Development Clearinghouse to help employers enhance the skills of their workforce and individuals learn about education, training and credentials needed for available jobs and emerging careers. 
  • The Greater Wausau Chamber will host a virtual State of the Labor Market event to help member businesses learn strategies for organizational success, talent attraction and retention.
  • Guided by the results of a recent talent survey, The Wilmington Chamber will form new Talent Pipeline Management collaboratives for the construction and information technology industries.
  • The Worcester Regional Chamber teamed up with several partners to launch a new program that will allow 800 unemployed or underemployed workers train for jobs in the information technology sector.
  • The Coral Springs Coconut Creek Regional Chamber of Commerce will host its first diversity summit next month, highlighting topics including subtle discrimination, how to build an inclusive organizational culture, and how to increase equity in the community.
  • The St. Paul Area Chamber adopted a diversity, equity and inclusion program that a local foundation was forced to eliminate due to budget cuts. The DEI Collaborative is a program that works with about three dozen leaders each year to boost diversity, equity and inclusion in local communities.
  • The Nashville Area Chamber and Tennessee Chamber are a charter member of the new Tennessee Alliance for Equity in Education. The goal of the new alliance is to seek solutions for closing gaps in opportunity and achievement for historically underserved students.
  • The Paso Robles Chamber partnered with the city to launch a propane reimbursement program for local restaurants and businesses seeking to provide heated outdoor public spaces.
  • Kentucky Chamber President and CEO Ashli Watts recently authored an op-ed highlighting some of the findings of the chamber's recent Achieving Equity to Build a Stronger Kentucky report, which highlighted the realities of inequality across the state and recommended changes to achieve greater equity.
  • Greater St. Louis Inc. is participating in a civic partnership to develop workforce housing with attainable rents in a location that helps connect people with jobs and career opportunities.
  • The Orlando Economic Partnership announced that nearly 100 CEOs and top executives joined a regional effort focused on raising the growth potential of residents by creating opportunities for those long-affected by racial inequality and ensuring pathways for participation in the economy.
  • Hundreds of Spokane, Washington artists are getting help promoting their job skills during the global crisis from a new, local marketing campaign titled “Arts Mean Business.” The promotional project for artists was conceived by local nonprofit Spokane Arts and funded by CARES Act monies awarded by Greater Spokane Incorporated.
  • The Grand Rapids Chamber and Detroit Regional Chamber are among several coalition partners launching an innovative pilot program to address child care accessibility, affordability and quality.
  • The Michigan West Coast Chamber launched its new magazine, "The West Coast Way," built around the chamber's core values and key priorities that best serve its members.
  • South Bend Regional Chamber of Commerce will administer a new Restaurant Innovation Grant program to compensate local restaurants for operational changes they've made during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The Portland Business Alliance developed a roadmap for recovery that offers a way forward for elected officials, public agencies, businesses, nonprofit leaders and community advocates to come together to get Portland’s economy back on track.
  • It was a tricky 2020, but with many major projects in the works, the Buffalo Niagara Partnership believes there is hope on the horizon.
  • The Louisville business community rallied to support and fund Greater Louisville Inc.'s inclusion initiatives.


What We're Reading 

  • Morning Consult is tracking how consumer attitudes are shifting to gain greater insight into when consumers will be ready to return to their normal activities and identify what habits may change forever.
  • New research from the Brookings Institution examines the impacts of the pandemic recession across different dimensions and highlights the need for a workforce development strategy that supports workers who will need to switch industries and occupations.
  • New data from the National League of Cities (NLC) indicate that local governments face a projected $90 billion shortfall due to the COVID pandemic. This week NLC called on Congress to approve direct aid to local governments.


Tags: Covid-19

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Weekly Roundup - January 22, 2021

Will Burns on Friday, January 22, 2021 at 2:00:00 pm 

Time to Come Together

After a bitter and contentious election, we have a new administration in Washington, DC and at least 70 new members of congress. Chambers of commerce across the country are assessing the landscape, building relationships and promoting their priorities to elected officials at all levels of government.  

For many years, chambers of commerce have played a key role in united the communities they serve around common objective. With our fractured politics, this role is more important than ever.

“As we continue to move forward into 2021, we have the opportunity to unite all our voices and work together toward a strong future as one country,” said ACCE Chair Jay Byers, CCE, IOM, CEO of the Greater Des Moines Partnership. “We must focus on the betterment of our nation and our people by innovating, collaborating and working across the aisle. With integrity and civility, we can impact economic recovery, strengthen our communities and find common ground to move our country forward together.”

Read more from the chair here.


New Book for Chamber Pros

2020 ACCE Life Member honoree Dave Adkisson, is releasing his book next Tuesday, January 26. It is titled Horseshoes vs. Chess: A Practical Guide for Chamber of Commerce Leaders.

Dave spent more than 40 years in the chamber industry. With experience leading small city, metro city and state chambers, Adkisson has distilled (see what I did there Kentucky) his experience into a collection of stories and lessons that he wished he had when he entered the business. This book will help chamber professionals be more effective chamber and community leaders.  

For those of you who read on a Kindle, there will be a special launch on January 26 at noon EST where you can purchase the book for just 99 cents during the first two days after launch. There will be a sale on paperback copies as well. Follow Dave on Twitter for updates.


Challenges with Virtual Strategic Planning

ACCE CEO peer group calls this week highlighted the challenges of strategic planning and volunteer leader engagement during a time when you have to hold your planning meetings virtually. How can you make the most of your virtual time together and ensure the same level of collaboration and idea generation as you enjoyed when you could meet in person?

What strategies have worked for your chamber? Please share with me, and we’ll compile a list of the best ideas.

A few virtual tools chambers have been using for their virtual planning meetings to drive engagement include: miro, Mentimeter and slido.


#ChamberStrong Examples of New Mission-Based Initiatives

  • New Longview Chamber of Commerce collaboration aims to grow manufacturing skills to supply capabilities for the existing East Texas industry base, attract new industry and provide students with pathways to industrial jobs that will earn competitive wages
  • The Rockford Chamber and the Rockford Area Economic Development Council believe coming together under one umbrella organization will will help the organizations work together on common goals like business attraction, business retention and workforce development, and it will allow for stronger advocacy on issues favorable to business. Learn more about the unification strategy and structure.
  • Valerie Patton sets her sights on talent and diversity with Greater St. Louis, Inc., a newly merged entity comprised of five of the region’s largest civic groups.
  • In an interview with RDG, Anna Lebesch, Ed.D., vice president of talent development for the JAXUSA Partnership discusses the JAXUSA's Talent Advancement Network (TAN), a network of the Jacksonville, Florida region’s top talent decisionmakers and education providers that work to ensure education platforms are aligned with industry needs.
  • The Charlotte Regional Business Alliance signed on to the United Way’s Racial Equity 21-Day Challenge, journey of learning and self-discovery that aims to help develop more effective social justice habits around issues of race, power, privilege, and leadership.
  • The Columbia Chamber of Commerce in Missouri is launching the Workforce Development Division to retain talent in Columbia and to build a workforce for tomorrow.
  • The Dallas Regional Chamber launched the Best Place for Working Parents™ Dallas, a new initiative, to recognize family-friendly workplaces in the Dallas Region and raise awareness of the importance of family-friendly benefits and policies.
  • The Charles County Chamber in Maryland formed a new Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee to increase diversity within the chamber’s leadership, expand outreach to minority-owned businesses and provide targeted training and resources to historically marginalized businesses.


What We’re Reading  

  • The Public Affairs Council interviewed experts from the political and public affairs realm to identify potential policy pivots under the new administration.
  • A new Korn Ferry report explores strategies for companies to transform their workforces to prepare for a post-COVID future.  
  • CivicLab Chosen by Lumina Foundation to Serve and Expand Talent Hubs Network.
  • Facebook released the sixth update to its Global State of Small Business Report, which highlights ongoing uncertainty and challenges, while also showcasing the optimism, creativity and resilience of small business owners.
  • Chief Executive magazine’s latest poll of more than 230 CEOs finds optimism in 2021 business conditions on track and steady after the tumult of 2020.
  • Bruce Katz, author of The New Localism, and his colleagues explore what cities should expect and how they can prepare for new stimulus from the Biden Administration.
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