By Deb Beddoe
After two years serving as Chairman of the Board it is time to pass the gavel to Ahmed Haque, of NRG Energy, Inc. As I look back on my two years serving as your Chairman I reflect on lessons learned, friendships earned, and meetings adjourned.
Coming into this position two years ago I didn’t realize how much I really didn’t know about our Chamber, our community, and our members. I understood that our members needed networking events, ongoing education, and opportunities for visibility. But what I didn’t realize is how valuable the Chamber is when it comes to advocating on behalf of business.
Just by the fact that we have as many members as we do helps us have a strong voice in state and local legislative issues. The more members we have, the stronger our voice, and the better we are as a business community. So even if your business doesn’t use any of the other opportunities that the Chamber has to offer, just the fact that you are a member is extremely important to both the Chamber and the community.
Thank you to all of the Chamber members that took time out of your schedules to have a cup of coffee with me at some point during the last two years. Your candid discussions about how the Chamber brings value to your business have been a significant part of my learning curve. But more importantly I feel like I have made many new friends along the way.
It has also been a pleasure to work with Toni Padron and the entire Chamber staff. I have a new appreciation for your dedication and your hard work. But most especially I want to thank Ted Owen for his ongoing support and filling me in on the pros and cons of all of the issues that our Board faced over the last two years. Ted’s mentorship has developed my horizons and I will always cherish the friendship we developed as a result.
And speaking of the Board, our Board of Directors and our Executive Board were amazing. I’m so proud of all of you that spoke up during meetings and asked the tough questions, or provided valuable wisdom, or took a chance on admitting that you just didn’t understand the issue. It’s the diversity in the different points of view that bring us to the best conclusions and our Board did a great job at that. Thank you all for the time you sacrificed in attending the Board meetings, the Executive Board meetings, and many of the other Chamber functions. Your commitment is inspiring.
This is my last CBJ article as Chairman of the Board, but it’s not the last you will hear from me. I’ll see you at the Board meetings, committee meetings, First Friday Breakfast, Happy Hour 2.0, and many other events throughout the year. I wish you all a very prosperous 2018 and beyond.