By now you are aware that the incoming President and CEO is Kaylin Risvold. I am so pleased for the Chamber and I look forward to watching from the sidelines the great work she, her team and the Board will do. Kaylin's passion for community and business makes her an ideal candidate for the role. You'll feel the passion - just as I have! She will have much to learn as did I and that's a challenge, sure. But it is also a beautiful thing because we all know that learning should never stop!
With that said, I'd like to share some of what I have learned as part of my final thoughts as your President and CEO.
“Entrepreneurship is alive and well.”
We all love our job here. All of us. Why is that? Because we get to come to work every day and positively impact our Members and their business! I learned over the past five-plus years that there are so many people doing exactly what needs to be done to realize their dream. I SEE YOU our Members - busting your rears! Experiencing sleepless nights. Becoming a jack-of-all-trades. Stressing over budget concerns. Managing those less glamorous aspects of building your business. And, day after day - you kill it! You are dedicated, committed, [insert countless exceptional adjectives I could use to describe the tremendous work I see happening by our Members here] - you are true entrepreneurs able to build great things. How lucky for me that I’ve had the good fortune of being inspired by all of you - every day, for over five years. I thank you for that.
“People really want the best for each other.”
I believe that the attitude we have toward each other in our office has trickled down to you, our Members. I believe you all know how much we care. And how much our efforts are almost solely focused on helping you succeed. Because of that, we now see the same attitude amongst all of you! You all have shown us complete sincerity when it comes to helping fellow Members - serving as a resource, providing support, whatever it may be…you all are the best. I know you’re not looking out for just you - you are looking out for your Member family. I see how friendships flourish - how business is exchanged – and it demonstrates how our NACC has emerged a diamond from the rough. How grateful am I to have been a part of this type of growth. For that, I thank you.
“Don't Underestimate the Power of a Chamber of Commerce."
This is a big one for me. I know what the Chamber did for me when I owned my business - including helping me become a true professional and confident businesswoman! I honestly don’t think I could have become one without the Chamber. There are so many ways the Chamber gives back to its Members and the community, and it’s not always just dollars and cents. (Although, since starting my role, I’ve been committed to shopping Chamber and that will continue long after I’m gone!) Instead, I look at the relationships that have been and continue to be forged here - the professional development opportunities, the advocacy, the business insight that is offered – and most important, the support that’s needed when business is slowing. We represent and support small, medium and large businesses through many different avenues. Chambers work if you’re willing to work IT and when you do - the rewards will far outweigh a membership due. How can you possibly put a dollar amount on becoming a better business professional? Is there a number you can place on the many lasting relationships you develop? How about an amount for receiving the latest legislation updates that impact your business? And how can you place a dollar amount on the access to resources to help grow your business? The team here is committed to you and your success – that will never change. Just don’t forget to support your fellow Chamber members, SHOP chamber. Whether you’re looking for a restaurant, service or retail - SHOP Chamber! We all rely on each other and supporting one another will have a lasting impact!
Thanks for all you’ve done as Members to make this a better organization and community. I hope you will give Kaylin the same warm welcome you did for me 5 ½ years ago. This organization is better because of YOU being in it - and, although we are usually the one’s supporting your journey, I am asking you to offer your support for Kaylin and the new members of the NACC family as they begin this amazing journey with you. I know you will. For that, I thank you.
And That’s the Way It Is.
(CBS Evening News anchor Walter Cronkite never intended for this sign-off to become his signature line repeated nightly for decades. When he began anchoring the news in 1962, he’d planned to end each broadcast with a human-interest story, followed by a brief off-the-cuff commentary or final thought. But producers told him there wouldn’t be enough time to do all that, so he quickly came up with “And that’s the way it is.”)