Word from the Chair – January 2018

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January 23, 2018
I am thrilled and honored to begin my term as the North San Antonio Chamber’s 2018 Chairman of the Board.
 
First, though, is a heartfelt “thank you” to Phyllis Gallay who preceded me as Chairman, also to last year’s Board of Directors for their commitment and work supporting the mission of the North San Antonio Chamber, and to the North Chamber staff for their effort carrying out the day-to-day work of the Chamber.
 
This year will both excite and challenge us, as we sharpen our focus on advocacy, on growing the North Chamber membership and on the important issues impacting the business landscape in San Antonio and Bexar County.
 
Advocacy—All Levels of Government
The North SA Chamber is committed to advocacy. At the statewide level, we will dedicate significant time and thought preparing for the 2019, 86th Legislative Session. Part of that process is adopting a formal legislative agenda that will inform and direct the North Chamber’s advocacy efforts in 2019. We will continue working with legislators to promote a pro-business, pro-San Antonio agenda.
 
We will continue sponsoring Legislative Day, when we bring North Chamber members to Austin to provide them direct access to elected representatives. And this year, we encourage members to be involved, apart from the North Chamber, to make your individual voices heard in the political and legislative process—together, our collective voice presents the best opportunity to influence legislative outcomes.
 
Locally, we are developing a new program of ongoing access to City Council and other city staff. The North Chamber is prioritizing programs that connect members with elected officials so that our agenda is heard at every level of local government.
 
Growing the North Chamber
For the first time in nearly a decade, the North Chamber’s Board ratified new membership levels and benefits, including new membership rates. The adoption of the new rate structure, during the last quarter of 2017, aligns the North Chamber more closely with other Chambers operating in our area.
 
This effort, the culmination of almost a year of work, helps ensure the future viability of the North Chamber and its work on behalf of member-businesses and the community.
 
Leading the way in SA
During the past year, the North Chamber’s flagship development program, Leadership Lab, reached a milestone with its 2017 graduating class, pushing the number of overall program graduates to more than 1,100.
 
Now, we’re proudly launching the next level of leadership programs, Innovative Leadership. This new offering, created in partnership with the Greehey School of Business at St. Mary’s University, complements the Leadership Lab curriculum, providing participants deeper exposure to essential leadership topics.
 
Future Workforce
Developing leaders is important work, but it’s not the only work to be done. In 2018, the North Chamber will continue focusing on San Antonio’s long-term workforce needs, leading the way to create collaborative partnerships with our economic development organizations so that when the Amazons and Apples of the world seek to expand, San Antonio will stand competitive with a trained, skilled workforce. Working with school districts, the North Chamber will develop ways to enrich the learning environment, attracting students to skills and academics, particularly suited to the STEM disciplines.
 
This may seem an ambitious agenda, but I am confident, given the resources we have and our past record of accomplishment, the North San Antonio Chamber of Commerce will continue to “proudly serve the San Antonio business community,” strengthening our member-businesses and working to improve the communities in which we live.
 
I am humbled to be a part of this great organization and anticipate a great year ahead. Join me… Join the North San Antonio Chamber of Commerce. It’s going to be an exciting year!



Chris Thiel
2018 Chairman of the Board