Advocacy has been and will continue to define the substantive work the North SA Chamber engages in on behalf of San Antonio and Bexar County businesses—those who are Members and those who are not. We are a pro-business organization!
During 2018, we led several Advocacy efforts on behalf of area businesses: Labor Peace Agreement (Jan); Paid Sick Leave – Amicus Brief (May); Republican National Convention – Letter (Jul); Austin Paid Sick Leave – Amicus Brief (Aug); San Antonio Charter Amendments (May), and Tourism Public Improvement District Fee (Jun). Additionally, we engaged in significant preparation for the 2019 Legislative Session in Austin.
The North SA Chamber focused, also, on Collaboration. Together, with IBC Bank, we co-sponsored two SA Conversations programs: SA Conversations – Baseball (Mar) and SA Conversations – US Senators (Apr). We participated in transformational, collaborative meetings with the San Antonio Chamber and Hispanic Chamber that included the Mayor, City Manager, and County Judge. During these quarterly meetings, issues affecting the business community were thoroughly and frankly discussed, providing clear and unambiguous guidance to elected/appointed city leaders from a pro-business point of view. Additionally, we joined other Chambers for the SA to DC fly-in to meet with elected officials at the national level on issues important to the business community.
We began New Initiatives, including a significant collaboration with the County to champion the Bexar County Military Transition Center (Aug); and, in conjunction with LeadSA, a 501(c)(3) of the North SA Chamber, we launched the newest offering in our Leadership Development programs: Innovative Leadership (Jan).
Notably, we celebrated with Duane Wilson, as he retired from his quarter-century of distinguished leadership as President/CEO of the North San Antonio Chamber of Commerce (Jun). We then welcomed new President/CEO, Cristina Aldrete (Aug) who, along with staff and the Executive Committee are rethinking new aspects of North SA Chamber operations and programming. As she began her tenure, Cristina was selected to the 2019 Texas Association of Business Board of Directors and will also serve on the San Antonio Mobility Coalition Executive Committee, as well as the Board for Visit San Antonio.
Our Programming reflects the diverse Member base comprising the North SA Chamber. Annual programs like State of the County (May) and Mayor’s Vision (Aug) continued providing Members direct contact with City and County leaders, promoting transparency and accountability from elected officials. Our 2018 Golf Tournament (Mar) was among the most successful for the North Chamber.
We will never lose touch with our Members. After a decade of holding steady on North SA Chamber membership rates, we introduced a Member Rate Increase (Jan) that allows us the flexibility to think in bigger terms about how we support Member-businesses. Our annual Gala (Feb) recognized UT Health San Antonio, and its President, Dr. William Henrich, M.D., with the San Antonian Award for significant contributions to San Antonio. We conducted, for the first time, a Power Networking Focus Group (Jun) that is being used to re-imagine our networking programs in 2019; and, we convened a Small Business Task Force that has added clarity to our marketing and brand focus.
Performance will always be a key metric at the North SA Chamber. In 2018, our Membership Renewals surpassed expectations, exceeding our year-end forecast by more than 40 percent.
Our Board of Directors and Executive Council approved a measure to Expand Board Membership to include ex officio representation from civic organizations (Nov). Recognizing the need for a San Antonio workforce prepared to meet 21st-century challenges and opportunities, we redefined our Business Development Council, renaming it the Business and Workforce Development Council. The expanded Council works to identify and develop advanced initiatives, including educational resources and training seminars, designed to prepare San Antonio for the workforce needs of tomorrow.
All in all, 2018 was a transformational year for the North San Antonio Chamber, and we look forward to even greater success for the Chamber and its Members as we begin a new era of pro-business leadership in our Great City!