Time to Revisit Your Chamber’s Rallying Cry?

Dave Kilby

Back in January and February I asked several chamber CEOs for their chamber’s 2020 rallying cry or theme. Little did we know that the whole world would change in March.

Based on recent discussions, it’s obvious that many chamber leaders are now focusing on the months ahead and what 2021 might bring. With that in mind, I reached out and asked, “What’s your chamber’s rallying cry or theme for the next six months?”

Favorite Responses

As was the case earlier in the year, the responses were provocative and aspirational, but they also, not surprisingly, seemed to have a slightly different tone than at the beginning of the year. Here’s a few of my favorites:

• “Persevere/Perseverance” — Stephanie Caldwell, Ventura (CA) and Julie Brooks, Wickenburg (AZ);

• “Keep evolving, even when it’s really hard and scary” — T.J. Sullivan, Superior (CO);

• “Catalyzing the Recovery” — Glenn Morris, Santa Maria Valley (CA);

• “Regroup and Refocus” — Anne Glasscock, Kaufman (TX);

• “Commerce-Collaboration-Community” — Bill Lee, Gallup (NM);

• “Center — to come to a focus, converge, concentrate” — Robert Goltz, Miramar-Pembroke Pines (FL);

• “Your Champion – Catalyzing, Convening & Advocating” — Donna Duperron and her team, Torrance (CA);

• “Resilience (or Resiliency) — we’re fighting for the ongoing resiliency of our community, our businesses and our organization” — Chris Romer, Vail Valley (CO);

• “Marching Forward – Stronger” — Shane Etzwiler, Great Falls (MT).

More to Think About

Cory Skeates from the Lakeland (FL) Chamber shared, “I would have forge for two of its meanings—both to keep moving forward in spite of adversity, as well as to mold ourselves into something different due to exposure to great heat.”

Shane Etzwiler (listed above) also shared the theme for the Montana Association of Chamber Executives: “Where Chambers and Leaders LEAD.”

LEAD is for:

L — Leverage our Resources

E — Energy and Enthusiasm

A — Attitude – positive and moving forward

D — Decisive and focused leadership

I really liked the response from Lori Mattson of the Tri-Cities Regional (WA) Chamber:

“Five months into this pandemic, I find myself remembering when my dad was teaching me to drive, he would say ’Always expect the unexpected.’ This is absolutely true of today’s chamber work. It’s as if each month since March, we are learning from a new playbook, doing things we may not have been doing in the past. This is both exhilarating and terrifying since our organizations and our members are at times on the razor’s edge. A wrong move could be tough to recover from. I also keep saying ‘pace yourself’ because I think we’re in this for longer than we originally imagined, and not just in terms of COVID-19, but in making permanent changes to our chambers.”

As we navigate these different and often difficult times, my hope is that chamber leaders will stay focused on their “North Star” — and keep moving in the right direction.

Stay Strong and Be Bold.

Dave Kilby is president and CEO of W.A.C.E. and executive vice president of corporate affairs at the California Chamber.