The mission of W.A.C.E. is to enhance and promote the professional growth and competence of chamber of commerce executives. I can say, first hand, that I have greatly benefitted from this organization. When I was recruited as CEO of the Oxnard (CA) Chamber of Commerce more than 12 years ago, I had no idea what I didn't know. Now I am both honored and thrilled to serve as chairman of the board for the association that helped me so many years ago, and continues to do so today.

W.A.C.E. has not wavered from its mission. It is focused on professional development for chamber professionals. Not only do its programs further the careers of chief executives, but training is also designed for all other staff positions as well.

I was pleased to hear all of the positive feedback from attendees at the annual conference in San Francisco this past February. Veteran chamber executives said it was the best conference they have attended. The sentiment among first-time attendees was, "I'm so happy to know I'm not alone!" I remember those days when I felt like I was the only person struggling with a plethora of challenges.

The program priorities set by your 2016-2017 board of directors address so many of the challenges chamber executives, staff and the industry are facing. In fact, we are looking quite a ways down the road to see what challenges are on the horizon.

Speaking of the horizon, one of our top priorities is to assemble a task force to develop specific action steps to help chambers thrive in the challenging times ahead. We'll be using the Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives Horizons study as a guide.

The W.A.C.E. board is also considering adding a sales training workshop to possibly be held in conjunction with the conference in Los Angeles. The sales training breakout session at the 2016 conference was filled to capacity and received great reviews.

These priorities are in addition to the ongoing programs W.A.C.E. has mastered over the years. I urge you to participate in your organization and take advantage of:

  • The Executive Leaders Roundtable in Redondo Beach, CA on May 12
  • Political Action Boot Camp in Denver, CO on June 24
  • W.A.C.E. Academy in Sacramento, CA on July 31 – August 3
  • Fall webinar series
  • 2017 Annual Conference in Los Angeles, CA at the LAX Marriott on February 1 – 3

Just as you adjust your programs and priorities to serve the ever changing needs of your members, W.A.C.E.'s agenda and curricula are always evolving as well.

I hope you make the most of the valuable resources W.A.C.E. provides!

Nancy Lindholm, ACE
2016-2017 W.A.C.E. Board Chair
Oxnard (CA) Chamber of Commerce


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"As a graduate of Academy, I can tell you that there is no program that will benefit you personally, your chamber and your professional career more than enrolling in W.A.C.E. Academy!"

Tom Pierson ACE
Academy Steering Committee Chairman
Tacoma-Pierce County (WA) Chamber
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