Four years ago, W.A.C.E. launched the work that led to the branding and communications framework we now refer to as the 3C Chambers. Beyond the initial declaration that Chambers exist to be Conveners, Catalysts, and Champions, the platform also introduced ten words that define characteristics which differentiate successful Chambers from others. You’re familiar with these words and many of your Chambers embody them in your work and in your communities.
I’d like to highlight two where I think W.A.C.E. sets the pace.
The Chamber is - Current. I presume all of you regularly ask your members what they want … or what they need … on a regular basis. I also presume that you then try to do something about what they tell you.
Your WACE Board does the same. Early last fall, we asked what your biggest needs were – and what the biggest needs your members were asking you for help with. The number one response was the need for Chambers to take leadership roles in Workforce Development in their communities. We heard you – and responded. In October of this year we’ll host our first Workforce Development bootcamp in Irvine.
W.A.C.E. has had a long history of staying Current for its members, evidenced by ongoing programs like the W.A.C.E. Academy, Accredited Chamber Executive, Business Retention/Expansion and Political Action. I’m confident our association will continue to ask, listen, and respond to ensure our members have the information, ideas, and support necessary to make a difference.
The Chamber is – Credible. As Chambers, we regular urge our businesses to make investments and take steps to increase the professionalism of their operations. My challenge to you as Chamber professionals is to ensure we’re Credible in those calls to action by walking the talk ourselves.
If we expect our members to take advantage of the training and education programs we offer … we should do the same and ensure that we’re fully utilizing the resources of W.A.C.E. to train and develop our staff and volunteers.
If we are going to ask our members to be Opinion Leaders and Influencers in our communities … let’s ensure we’re informed and engaged ourselves – leading by example in speaking out about policies and issues of importance to the vitality of our communities.
If we want our members to send their staff to volunteer with the Chamber and other community organizations, we should lead by example and facilitate our staff’s involvement as community volunteers.
If we believe our members should collaborate to find shared solutions, we should be at the forefront in stepping forward to join coalitions in our communities and our regions to maximize results through shared efforts.
In short, my challenge to us as Chamber professionals is to be role models for how we believe businesses should behave and operate. We know our communities look to us for leadership and will respond if we are truly credible leaders.
I look forward to hearing your stories of how you’re bringing all the “Cs” to life in your community – and the differences you’re making as a result!
Glenn Morris, ACE 2020-2021 W.A.C.E. Board Chair President/CEO Santa Maria Valley (CA) Chamber