By the time you read this, hopefully you have already started to implement a handful of takeaways from our annual conference held in Glendale, Arizona. As I suggested, implement at least two strategies you picked up from the conference – you know those ones you wrote down as must “do’s.”
It was great to see so many familiar faces, connect with new faces, and share the “ups” and “downs” we all faced over the last two years since we were together (in person) in Portland, Oregon at the last conference.
I am honored and humbled (two words that get thrown around often, but are the correct words to denote here) to serve as your chair of the board for the new W.A.C.E. term.
Throughout the conference, I heard many times that we, local chambers, are more relevant than ever. Various sessions covered how many pivoted (a word I wish we left in 2020 and 2021) and excelled at advocacy on behalf of our members during a time that was needed more than ever in the last few decades.
These conversations, stories, and at times gut-wrenching details show why we all do what we do. W.A.C.E. leadership has various program priorities to assist us all in keeping with the momentum.
After a day-and-a-half workshop and planning exercise, I am proud to announce several key program priorities for the 2022–2023 W.A.C.E. year.
• Our W.A.C.E. Chair-Elect Lorraine Clarno, ACE, will lead an effort to develop CEO Peer Groups. These groups will be established to further connect new and veteran association members throughout the year and in between annual conferences.
• Vice Chair John Brewer (who just finished chairing the annual conference in Glendale — job well done John!) will now investigate options to deliver a chamber board of director basics program. This program will assist new executives with board development and remind current executives of the ever-changing climate of boards.
• Colin Diaz, ACE, another vice chair, will assist our future leadership and “build the bench” by expanding the ever-important role of W.A.C.E.’s Emerging Leaders Council. Just as important, he will also assist in coordinating the Academy-Plus program — a continuing education program for Academy and Institute graduates held in conjunction with the current Academy program in August.
• Vice Chair Kami Welch, ACE, will be coordinating the very popular annual fall webinar series, which provides for the latest trends and timely issues in an all-familiar (thanks COVID) virtual format at a nominal price.
• Our immediate Past Chair Chris Romer, ACE, will be co-chairing the task force to investigate “modernization” of the association logo and similar brand placement. Additionally, he will be assisting in coordinating a Political Action Boot Camp in Las Vegas on May 19, 2022.
• Last and certainly not least, Vice Chair Whitney Diver-McEvoy has the distinct honor of chairing our 2023 conference in Sacramento, California. Planning is already underway and will be a must attend as we continue the momentum out of this pandemic and into an endemic. I hope you will join us!
Driving to New Heights
There’s lots to choose from in order to continue your professional development. I believe this year it’s more important than ever as we all drive our organizations to new heights and continue to remain relevant in our respective communities.
I hope you will take advantage of your W.A.C.E. membership and all it has to offer. Looking forward to seeing you soon!
Jeremy Harris, ACE, IOM, is president/CEO of the Long Beach Area (CA) Chamber of Commerce and 2022–2023 chair of the board of W.A.C.E.