For me, 2014 was a true roller coaster of life events. From mourning the loss of my father at the beginning of the year to c elebrating the marriage of my daughter at year’s end, it was 12 months of highs, lows, challenges and victories—all the things that make life worth living and make me excited about all the adventures 2015 will bring.
My guess is you probably share my excitement for the year ahead. In fact, as a chamber professional, I think it is likely a part of your DNA to be excited about every New Year. You see, I have long contended that successful chamber professionals have considerable optimism and unrivaled passion for the future of their communities. In fact, your community should expect nothing less of you.
Even if you have to fake it sometimes, you must always be a glass-half-full kind of person.
Just as hope springs eternal that this will be the year your favorite baseball team wins the World Series or that your unruly teenager will finally turn the corner and welcome you back as a parent, so too must you believe in your community’s unlimited future. This quality motivates others to succeed and unites communities with confidence in the future. It’s the quality that draws me to all the wonderful people I have met through ACCE.
Sure times will be tough, but you have to believe they can get better. You must address the difficulties, distractions and dangers that surround you, but you have to do it in a way that makes them opportunities instead of threats. Yes, you’re going to encounter naysayers who will try to bring you down, but if you believe in your message they will not be able to get the best of you. Simply put, if you aren’t leading with a positive view of your community’s future, who will?
The coming year in Lancaster gives me plenty to look forward to, especially regarding two areas of work in which ACCE can be of significant help: workforce and state advocacy.
After surveying members’ needs and worries, it was clear that future workforce concerns are paramount. As a result, we’re looking forward to tapping into ACCE’s Education Attainment Division more regularly as we seek best practice solutions to building our talent pool.
We also know that the pros who share wisdom and tactical methods through ACCE’s Government Relations Division will help us address whatever our especially full legislative session in Pennsylvania can bring.
I am always struck by the Henry Ford quote, “Whether you think you can or can’t, you’re right.” Success starts with thinking that you can, and I find the chamber profession attracts those types of people in spades, which is just one of the reasons I enjoy being a part of such a great industry. You folks inspire me with your optimism. It’s infectious.
I’m happy to share your enthusiasm for the New Year. I’m hopeful that you all have a prosperous, healthy, and eventful 2015. And you heard it here first: the Pittsburgh Pirates are going all the way!
Tom Baldrige, CCE President and CEO Lancaster (Pa.) Chamber of Commerce & Industry ACCE Board Chairman, 2014-15.
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