Comstock's magazine 0319 - March 2019 - Page 41

One of your first goals as CEO was to conduct a SWOT analysis of the Cham- ber — what key strengths, weakness- es, opportunities and threats did you identify through that process? How a chamber is viewed has just changed over time. It was very true that when you were getting your business license, the next thing you did was join your cham- ber of commerce. That was your business organization to get you networked, to help you understand the region, to get the land- scape. With all of the technology, the way people are connecting with LinkedIn and with Meetup and with social media, your ability to network has totally changed. So [a chamber] really has to position itself as providing value in a really unique and spe- cific way to its business members. We have this 124-year-old history. The challenge of having a lengthy tenure in the community is you’re trying to be all things to all people all the time, and you just can’t. You’re not going to be effective in 50 different things. We just complet- ed [a strategic planning] process, which has culminated in our ‘4-Point Business Promise’ that focuses on four strategic ar- eas of strong business, connected region, ready workforce and vibrant communi- ty. So it’s really being able to holistically look at those four things and say: Is our effort aligned with those four things so we’re not all things to all people? That lens has been able to give us the platform to align all of our programming, all of our effort, all of our staff focus, all of our external relationships to these four key points, and to create momentum and impact within those areas, and get out of a space of doing things just because you’ve done them or because somebody wants that or the chambers traditionally have done that. Hey, if we’re not at our highest and best in [a particular] space, we need to make room for someone else to take that work. The Chamber has 1,400 members across the six-county Sacramento re- gion. How does your organization meet The challenge of having a lengthy tenure in the community is you’re trying to be all things to all people all the time, and you just can’t. You’re not going to be effective in 50 different things.” the needs of all its members, while also maintaining its focus? It’s challenging because it is broad — and we have 600 members in our Metro EDGE young professionals program. We have our ‘4-Point Business Promise’ that is our guiding post to align to. If one of our rural partners is having a challenge and one of our urban partners is having a challenge, might we be able to vet it through this framework to say: What uni- versal metrics are we trying to move by tackling this? It’s not the one-off, industry- by-industry-specific challenge — it’s col- lectively, what can we do that’s going to move everybody? For instance, we’ve got rural partners [who want] to use technolo- gy in their fields. We’ve got our downtown folks that are having conversations about autonomous vehicles. We’re hearing both these things and at the core of that is: This is a 5G issue. You don’t have access to the infrastructure you need to be able to solve the problems within your field. So if we advocate for the infrastructure, it is just as beneficial to our urban partners as it is to our suburban partners as it is to our rural partners, and we can universally create impact. What do you foresee as the main policy items on the agenda for the 49th annu- al Cap-to-Cap in May? It all goes back to our ‘4-Point Business Promise.’ Our board spent thousands of March 2019 | comstocksmag.com 43