As the 2013 Chairman of the Board, I want to extend my appreciation to the North San Antonio Chamber and Lead SA Board of Directors, our volunteers, members and Chamber staff for your support, involvement and accomplishments this year.
Over the last year, our volunteers and staff collaborated to: increase visibility and promote commerce among our members; deliver best in class leadership and professional development programs; recognize outstanding business leaders; and hear your voice on important issues affecting San Antonio.
Promoting Your Business, Promoting Commerce
At the beginning of 2013, I called upon our member businesses to Buy Local – Buy North Chamber – and commit to doing business with a fellow member. To support that effort, the North Chamber has implemented a number of strategies to help you get noticed.
Through the Chamber’s website and social platforms, members had the opportunity to increase their online presence and improve their visibility among fellow members and the community. We now offer improved web services like: enhanced online directory listings, special offers, and the inclusion of links to member social profiles. Additionally, chamber staff received and posted nearly 4,500 member news items across our social platforms and blog – creating thousands of impressions for our member businesses.
And, we launched yet another tool to help you operate your business. Our new Job Bank went live in October, and has already seen an abundance of listings and activity. The Job Bank is a free community resource and no cost to members to post job opportunities.
I’m proud to announce special recognition the North Chamber received at the Texas Chamber of Commerce Executives conference this past summer. Two Chamber staff members earned 20-year Tenure Awards – congratulations to Chris Bugg and Marilyn White for their many years of dedication to our membership and the community. Additionally, the North SA Chamber website, marketing and social media programs were recognized with Media Excellence awards.
Leadership & Professional Development
The North Chamber worked diligently to engage our emerging leaders and millennial workforce through a number of programs – primarily, Leadership Lab. The number one priority for area businesses is an educated and prepared workforce. Our nine-month leadership academy, Leadership Lab, is the centerpiece of our effort to respond to that need.
This year, the program surpassed 2012’s record-breaking class registration with 79 Lab participants – the largest graduating class to date. Lab participants heard from many local thought leaders and explored topics including self-awareness and leadership style, ethics, high-performance, communication, negotiation and change, community and leadership in action.
As we all operate in the digital age, the North SA Chamber is committed to educating business and bringing our members into the world of social media. Through our quarterly How 2 Series and our newest program – Social U, we are helping businesses replace concerns about social media with information to undertake and implement interactive marketing techniques.
Finally, the North Chamber has distinguished our programming with events designed to meet the specialized needs of financial, technology, construction and facilities professionals and our community’s women leaders. You supported and attended several educational events including CFO and CIO Breakfasts, Business Technology Series, the CIO Panel, On the Horizon, SustainAbility Seminars and the Enterprising Women’s Conference.
We know that people make the difference in our companies and our community. And the North Chamber is dedicated to honoring the individuals who are innovating, contributing to our community, achieving in business and leaving a legacy from their life’s work.
In 2013 we honored pediatrician Dr. Dianna Burns-Banks as the Small Business Leader of the Year and CPS Energy for their Small Business Advocacy. Lead SA saluted USAA CEO Maj. Gen. Joe Robles, USA Ret. for his transformative leadership and commitment to education with the Governor Dolph Briscoe Excellence Award. We recognized Conceptual MindWorks CEO Elaine Mendoza with the ATHENA Leadership Award, SeeKing HR’s Jennifer Swisher with the ATHENA Young Professional Leadership Award, Susan G. Komen San Antonio with the ATHENA Organizational Leadership Award, as well as acknowledged many others for their achievements in small business, personal and organizational leadership.
Amplifying Your Voice
Finally, our voice is never stronger than when we speak as one on the issues that affect our businesses and quality of life. Last year, our members had a number of opportunities to be heard before their elected officials at every level.
Members met with U.S. Congressman Lamar Smith at the Spring Chairman’s Council breakfast, and Senator Ted Cruz hosted a small business roundtable at our Chamber headquarters. County Judge Nelson Wolff and Mayor Julián Castro each addressed our members – and guests even got a surprise performance from Indy rock band, Girl in a Coma, as Judge Wolff promoted Bexar County as an ideal venue for an outdoor music festival.
The North Chamber Government Affairs Council partnered with a number of like-minded organizations and chambers to advance a legislative agenda focused on: creating a sustainable, long-term source of revenue for transportation infrastructure funding; restoring funding for public education and tuition revenue bonds for public universities; and diversification of water resources. Locally, the board of directors endorsed: 1) a local supplier ordinance that allows the City of San Antonio to give preference to businesses located in the city; and 2) Texas Constitutional Amendment No. 3 to eliminate the tax levy on aircraft and other manufacturing inventory, and No. 6 implementing the State Water Implementation Revenue Fund.
Furthermore, we partnered with the San Antonio Hispanic Chamber to present the Mid-Year Economic Report to our members, and conduct a City Council Meet & Greet with both of our Chamber boards in attendance. My special thanks to North SA Chamber President & CEO Duane Wilson and Hispanic Chamber President Ramiro Cavasos. I’m appreciative of their continued efforts to do the good work of Chambers – promoting economic development and prosperity for our business community.
Keeping Bexar County Strong
As I exit my post as Chairman of the Board, I want to extend to you my sincere thanks for the honor of serving this organization and each of your businesses. We’ve had an incredible year, and I’m grateful to each of you for your membership, involvement and patronage. Our volunteer work is supported by the day-to-day and hands on efforts of the North Chamber staff and the leadership of Duane Wilson. I want to offer special thanks to them for their commitment to our member businesses and the community.
Finally, please join me in welcoming our 2014 board chair, Annie Turner of Wells Fargo. I call on you to continue to support her and the North San Antonio Chamber of Commerce in all that we endeavor in the New Year. We’re humbled that you have chosen us as your Chamber and we’re here to be a resource to you. Thank you for all you to do keep San Antonio and Bexar County strong.