We’ve been busy! September was filled with chamber events for USPAACC and me for which I am very happy. We are not resting on our laurels. We strive and continue to be active in our community and last month was an example of how packed it could be even during the sleepy, dog days of summer.
USPAACC held our 16th LiveTALK. The topic, “How We Partner for Business Success” was a special one. We brought in friends and colleagues from organizations we partner with: Justin Nelson, Co-Founder and President of the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce, Ron Busby, President & CEO of US Black Chambers (USBC), and Ramiro Cavazos, President & CEO of US Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (USHCC), to talk about exactly how all of us have come to collaborate together today. Sitting on the panel with them, my good friend Andrea Roane, news anchor at Channel 9 news here in Washington, DC (retired) was moderator for the four of us. Andrea facilitated the discussion and Q&A like the pro that she is. She asked each of us why it is important for us to work together, and what are the best ways for diverse organizations like ours to collaborate. For a moment, each one of us had the podium to stand on. Thank you, Andrea!
The next day Ramiro, Ron, Justin and I came together again. Consistent with the theme of the LiveTALK the day before, we met at the Chamber Leadership Alliance’s development program. The CLA is designed for our four chambers to partner together to conduct online workshops and events. The workshops are geared toward other aspiring chambers of commerce wanting to grow to the level of competency like us. One of the steps is to prepare Asian, Black, Hispanic, LGBT and other diverse chamber staff for future leadership roles in the nonprofit world.
We see increasing interest among Generation Xers and younger in nonprofit work. It’s time to train, develop and lift them up. Those who continue to show commitment in nonprofit work, could be developed for management positions to guide their organizations to new levels of effectiveness, growth and sustainability. That was the goal when our four chambers came together six years ago – to train and grow nonprofit leaders in our community. Today, we are an alliance, the Chamber Leadership Alliance, through which we speak with one voice on issues and matters of common interests, like the passage of the CARES Act and the Payroll Protection Program.
We’ve engaged subject matter experts and practitioners to present and discuss with our fellow chamber leaders issues ranging from chamber governance and leadership, to board of directors engagement, strategic planning and business development to fundraising. After helping to organize the last event on Strategic Planning and Business Development, I sat back, watched and learned something new.
I joined my Hispanic and Black brothers, Ramiro and Ron a third time in the month, and it was at the Minority Business Development Agency’s (MBDA) annual MED Week. MED, stands for “Minority Enterprise Development.” Ramiro, Ron and I were asked to speak specifically on our chambers’ challenges during adversity, what we do to enact change from a policy standpoint, and how the spirit of persistence in our lives led us to where we are today. When asked the question, “What chambers can do together?” I said, “We must not only stand on our own minority group’s contributions, but help other minority (black, brown, red) brothers and sisters in business too. It’s all hands on deck.”
What an amazing month that was for me. It truly was a “chamber collaboration” week. USPAACC, with our colleagues in the National LGBT Chamber, USBC and USHCC, and in the spirit of working together, collaborating and teaming up, new ideas and inspiration are born. Relationships are cemented and we, as founders and CEOs of these chambers of commerce can proudly stand firm on the foundation of our accomplishments and contributions to society.
Teamwork Makes the Dream Work!