A membership in the Chamber is one of the best investments you will ever make for your business. The chamber staff working with our strategic partners serves the region with programs, services and initiatives that address every aspect of your business. We literally set the conditions which allow your business to succeed.
I love this time of year! Something about the snap in the weather really gets me going. Likewise, our team of Chamber professionals has been kicking things into an even higher gear this fall, making sure the issues impacting your business are addressed. I’m pleased that a number of you have shared your happiness in the way we’re engaging in these issues, giving you world-class events that raise awareness and encourage debate. Local media coverage speaks to our commitment to a regional approach for what lies ahead. It may be the end of the year, but from a strategic perspective, we’re just getting started!
I hope you had a chance to attend some of our events in October, designed specifically with the needs of our members in mind. If you missed any, you should know we hosted:
- a record number of elected officials for our successful Legislative Reception on October 23rd during which the Chamber presented its 2015 legislative priorities going into the upcoming General Assembly. Our lineup focuses on business climate and economic development; education and workforce development; technology; transportation; military and Veterans affairs.
- a U.S. Congressional Forum on October 15th, when all four of members of our Congressional delegation discussed their plans to resolve problems such as sequestration impact to Hampton Roads and balancing the nation’s budget. The forum was also an opportunity for members to pose thought provoking questions and provide the Congressmen with new perspective on the issues.
- the State of the Region, presented by Lead Hampton Roads, a program of the Chamber that also broke attendance records. The forum is intended to provide a comprehensive review of the region’s current challenges, explore our current approach to economic growth and offer possible courses of action. As you may have heard, the report suggests the Hampton Roads economy is slow to recover and our region has a way to go, reclaiming its earlier strength.
This busy tempo is an example of your Chamber team living up to the advocacy we promise our membership, as we showcased in our Advocacy commercial last month, getting you connected to decision makers and elected officials is important to us.
We also took time for a dash of fun with our business with the Monster Mega Mixer and Business Showcase, as well as our annual Golf Outing. We may be a business organization, but at the heart of it, we are passionate about our community, which you can see in our new Community commercial this month. We want to see Hampton Roads continue to develop itself as a great place to live, work and raise a family. Because communities that offer a great quality of life are attractive to businesses.
Fostering the community takes on many forms, whether that’s focusing on reducing crime, improving education or easing the transition those in uniform have after leaving the military. Our focus on the business community is furthered by the Small Business Development Center’s new Propel program and the new private healthcare, Virginia Benefits Market. Please check out these new exciting programs.
As we roll into November, with my thoughts already jumping ahead to Thanksgiving, I have much to be grateful for, particularly this year. November marks my first anniversary at the helm of your Chamber.
It’s well known that I served in the military, proud to have worn our nation’s cloth and to have retired right here in Hampton Roads. What’s perhaps less known is that I have found in returning to Hampton Roads to serve as your Chamber of Commerce President & CEO, the work is equally as rewarding as my years in uniform. To me it’s all about service – I am proud to serve you, and to advance the issues most important to the business community and to offer the services that will make your business succeed. I’m convinced, more than ever, that no business has to go it alone. Together, we have an opportunity to achieve even greater success.
I am grateful for this community, for this Chamber, its staff and the many volunteers who offer their time and talents to what we’re working to achieve. It’s been an amazing year and next year has many new opportunities for us. For that, I am most grateful.
The Chamber’s staff continues to be focused on helping you and your business find greater success. Remember, this is YOUR Chamber – we work for you! Let’s keep the conversation going. It is my honor to serve the business community of Hampton Roads!
Connections! Community! Advocacy!
Bryan K. Stephens
President & CEO
Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce