March Word from the Chairman

Turner_Annie-Chairmans-photo-PRAs we welcome spring and this time of renewal in our surroundings, it is also a time of change and regeneration here at the North San Antonio Chamber. Over the last several weeks, the North Chamber has realigned personnel and duties as we have said farewell to longtime staff and welcomed new team members.

After 13 years of service to our business community as Vice President of Leadership Programs and Lead SA, Yolanda Crittenden has retired. For all of you who have worked with Yolanda over the years through our government affairs programs, Lead SA, the Small Business Leaders Awards, the Enterprising Women’s Conference and other programs – I know you will join me in thanking and congratulating her and wishing Yolanda all the best in her future endeavors.

Additionally, with Yolanda’s retirement, some staff duties have been realigned. Wendy Thomas is now Program Manager and will be your point of contact for programs including Lead SA Employment Law Update, Lead SA Sustainability, CFO Forum events and the On the Horizon luncheon.

Moreover, our director of marketing and membership, Renée Crittenden-Garcia, is now Vice President of Marketing, Public Affairs & Lead SA, and she will assume the executive director role for the North Chamber’s 501c3 organization, Lead SA, and its Salute to Excellence, as well as take a more active role in supporting our government affairs programs including State of the County and Mayor’s Vision. Renée will provide increased support to our President/CEO for various special and collaborative programs as they relate to our advocacy efforts, while still overseeing membership and chamber marketing programs.

Last but not least, we are pleased to welcome Susan Deitiker, Manager of Special Events, and Whitney Lewis, Manager of Marketing & Special Events. Susan is already working with our Ambassadors and leading program management for events including Networking Breakfast, the new Power Lunch, Golf Tournament, How 2 Series, Small Business Leaders Awards and the Enterprising Women’s Conference.

Whitney is our new website and e-newsletter editor and will share member news across our social and digital platforms, while also providing special event marketing communications, committee and registration support for a number of programs.

Membership, Recognition, Veterans
Over the last several months, our membership staff and committee have been studying our dues structure and identifying ways to increase value to our membership. After a recent task force meeting led by our Membership Council Chair, Aaron Seaman of SWBC, the North SA Chamber is proud to announce that we will extend a 15% discount to Veteran-owned businesses as a way to assist veterans transitioning from the military to civilian workforce. The discount is effective immediately for veteran-owned businesses who are new members joining the chamber.

Additionally, we are actively seeking nominations for the Small Business Leaders Awards (SBLA) program, and the deadline to submit completed applications is Friday, April 11, by 5 p.m. Awards will be presented in categories including: Small Business Leader of the Year, Small Business Advocate of the Year, Career Achievement, Community Service, Business Achievement, Business Innovation, Employee Relations, New Business and new this year – Nonprofit and Veteran-Owned. Please consider nominating a deserving employer, customer or colleague; and encourage him or her to complete the nomination application and submit by deadline.

While we’re proud to support and recognize our veterans in every way, we’re equally pleased that we have worked to bolster our small business members by maintaining dues rates for more than 15 years. As a small organization operating on the sole support of our dues-paying members, we strive to be fiscally conservative in our stewardship of the investment members make in the North San Antonio Chamber of Commerce. As the cost of doing business increases, we sent a call to action to members to participate in a voluntary dues increase. To date, 67% of members who renewed their membership with us elected to provide added financial support. On behalf of the board and staff, thank you for your incredible support of the North Chamber.

Leadership, Networking
We’re also busy building business and leaders across San Antonio. Recently, the participants of the 2014 Leadership Lab Class completed a week-end long retreat in which students learned about their individual personality styles and how those traits can be strengths and challenges in their personal and professional relationships.

It was my pleasure to join the class during their retreat and encourage them on their leadership journey. The diversity of companies represented in the class is remarkable, and I’m excited to see how this year’s class will engage and apply their Lab experiences to their workplaces.

Finally, no matter what time of day is best for you, the North SA Chamber now has a venue for you to connect with others while gaining insight on various timely professional topics. The Networking Breakfast is held the second Tuesday of every month at the Petroleum Club at 7:15 a.m., and the new Power Lunch will be held the fourth Thursday of the month at 11:30 a.m. at rotating locations. Please check the calendar of events regularly and register online.

I appreciate your membership, participation and volunteerism with the North San Antonio Chamber and invite you to join a committee, attend an event or just follow us in our social media communities. We’re a vibrant business network thanks to you, your membership and all that you do keep San Antonio and Bexar County strong.