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Chamber Executive Article Archive

New Horizons

Tom Baldrige, CCE, and Mick Fleming

ACCE opened the book on its second century last August with a new name, a new look, a new membership structure and a new strategic plan. Ample proof that some new years are newer than others. (ACCE’s program year runs August through July.)

Our Second Century strategic plan calls for the association to remain rooted in Proven Core competencies while driving the industry toward an Envisioned Future. This means keeping one foot firmly planted in peer networks, industry benchmarking, member benefits, information and instruction, while stretching to a new level of leadership. Able to explore new possibilities while continuing to track best practices; willing to challenge assumptions but with unwavering support; positioned to lead but continuing to serve. That is the essence of our strategic plan. Nothing embodies our plan quite like this year’s watershed project, The Horizon Initiative: Chambers 2025.

Beginning as ripples last summer, the Horizon Initiative report and its Eight Influences shaping the next decade for chambers made waves in the industry even before it its formal release in April. The full impact is still unknown but already chambers large and small are using the report to assess and plan. Because it raises more questions than it answers, the hardest work of the Horizon Initiative it still ahead. David Brown (Omaha), John Brewer (Billings), Kit Cramer (Asheville), Adam Legge (Calgary), Tom Torti (Burlington) and the dozen other framers and contributors will help make sure the project lives and evolves over the coming year.

The Horizon report is already reshaping ACCE. This year’s convention programming focuses on knowable changes of the imminent future such as generational and demographic changes, as articulated in the report’s Population Shift chapter. Inspired by the report, the ACCE Board at its April meeting seized the opportunity to lead a more inclusive chamber industry. Building on four years of work by the Diversity and Inclusion Division, a joint board-division group is seeking ways and means of increasing diversity among chamber leaders, members, staff, and boards of directors.

Volunteers and staff were busy this year. We celebrated our centennial, graduated our first cohort of education attainment fellows, launched a powerful research tool, and much more. We’ll let the following numbers speak for themselves.

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