During the 2015-2016 year, Chris Gallagher, Hoyt Architects, served as the Chair of the Board of Directors. As the Chamber Program year comes to a close this month, Gallagher takes the time to reflect on his past year.
A simple thought as my chairmanship draws to a close: One of the really neat things about Chamber membership – as we build our own careers and our own businesses, we help build a better, stronger community.
Mick Fleming, President of the Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives, said it best, “Chamber of Commerce missions have always been two pronged: profitability for members today, and prosperity for community tomorrow.”
I certainly experienced our mission in action this past year as your chairman. Meeting new members. Inducting new trustees. Networking at breakfasts, luncheons, and evening receptions. And representing you here locally and in Washington. All with an eye to help your businesses, and to help lay the groundwork for continued long term prosperity for this extraordinary place we call home.
I had the great pleasure and opportunity to work side by side with many hard working Chamber members. And I bore witness to the loss of three very special people this last year, each a familiar face at The Chamber – each deeply committed to this community – Kathy Baylis, Rod Warner and Rick Fawley. I’ll wrap this year very grateful for everything each of these very effective, and very sweet individuals did to make our corner of the earth a better place to live.
My great appreciation and thanks to our Chamber staff, to all of you Chamber volunteers, and to The Chamber board for your support of our mission. Every young person looking for a job, every employee looking to advance his or her career, every family trying to put bread on the table and raise happy healthy children, every business owner seeking to build a more secure future, and every entrepreneur – young or old seeking to create the next big thing benefited from your inspired commitment to the notion that a strong business environment is an absolutely essential ingredient of a great place to live.
Next month the gavel will pass to our chair elect, Lisa Krouse. You’ll have an opportunity to hear from Lisa about plans for the 2016 year at our 95th Annual Membership Meeting and Luncheon, October 27th at the Hyatt Regency Sarasota. I’ll see you there.
2015 Chairman, The Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce