Summer Means Back to School for Execs

Nick Ortiz
Nick Ortiz

The summer is a time for rest, relaxation and renewal, but it’s also a time for chamber executives to double down on professional development and continuing education. Throughout the country, and through multiple organizations, chamber executives are using some summer downtime to go back to school.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Institute for Organization Management has been conducting Institute sessions throughout the summer, culminating in Northeast Institute. The Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives (ACCE) is holding their annual conference in Salt Lake City in early August.

Finally, and closest to our hearts at W.A.C.E., next month we’ll be welcoming chamber professionals to another year of W.A.C.E. Academy. This year, we’re nearly at capacity for Academy.

For the third year, we’re also conducting W.A.C.E. Academy Plus for Academy graduates and those with an IOM or CCE designation. This year Academy Plus will focus on elevating your chamber’s workforce development initiatives and creating a positive culture in your community and your organization.

Favorite Things

All these opportunities represent some of my favorite things about the chamber industry.

• First, that we support one another unconditionally. In other fields, there is so much competition and fighting for primacy. The chamber industry is one where we share ideas, best practices, and most of all support one another as we deal with the unique challenges of community leadership.

• Second, the industry is committed to the maxim that leaders are learners. Our industry accepts that we don’t have the answers and that we need to continue to learn to find our organization’s next opportunity.

• Finally, we practice what we preach. The amount of volunteerism that is on display is inspiring. We ask our members to make our chambers better through their time and treasure, and we do the same for our industry.

The amount of resources that are being spent to inspire and empower chamber leaders is mind boggling. In terms of chamber executives donating their time, paying for travel, and the opportunity cost of not working on their organizations’ needs and priorities, it is truly inspiring.

Invest in Yourself

I know that the summers are incredibly busy, but I encourage our chamber professionals to participate in one of these great learning opportunities. No matter where you choose to spend your time, you’ll be making an investment in yourself, your organization and this industry.

Nick Ortiz is president and CEO of W.A.C.E. and vice president of local chamber relations at the California Chamber.