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President’s Message

HUH!  When I was trying to figure out what fun fact about August that I might include in my column this month, I wandered across this one – did you know that the “Dog Days of Summer” is actually a REAL time period? It is the 40 days beginning July 3 and ending August 11, which coincide with the dawn rising of Sirius, the Dog Star. I really thought it was just a phrase. Go figure!

August is also Admit You’re Happy month for you secret harbingers of joy; Romance Awareness month for all you sentimentalists; and National Picnic month to the delight of Yogi Bear and friends. But, for me, August is my favorite time of year because – drum roll please – it is the month that Jimmy Buffett comes to our state on tour!  Yep – I am a bona fide Parrothead and this year will be my 30th show!

But enough about me. August has significance for the Chamber, too, as we wrap up planning for FY20.  Our event season will see the signature events return, including Outlook, Government Reception, Beacon Hill and, of course, Super 60 (which turns 30 this year)!

With special thanks to our Rise & Shine breakfast series sponsor United Personnel, the morning series will be back and, instead of 4 morning events, we will have 5! We heard from many of our members that they found great value in these events last season, but wanted more and so – you spoke – and we listened. You also said you wanted less time standing in line for scrambled eggs and more time making connections, so we have made some subtle changes to accommodate that as well! We will kick off the Rise & Shine series on September 4 with Josh Kraft, the Nicholas President and CEO of the Boys & Girls Club of Boston and President of the New England Patriots Foundation. Get your Rise & Shine Season Passes here .

You also told us that networking with other chambers was of value and so, we will continue those collaborations. Watch your inboxes for a unique event that we will debut in December at Mercedes-Benz with our friends in Chicopee, Holyoke, South Hadley/Granby and Quaboag Valley! And, back by popular demand, we will be bring back Speed Networking in the spring and be joined by our Chamber friends in Easthampton, Westfield and Chicopee.

We had overwhelming response to our Stars & Strikes event which supported our nonprofit members, so that will certainly be on our schedule! And, of course, who doesn’t like a good craft cocktail? We look forward to another year of Fire & Ice!

But we are not just about “play.” Our Minority Business Council will launch a new initiative this season to support the growth of these small businesses. We will continue our work on developing the next generation of leaders through our revamped Leadership Institute and will look to helping these next gens find mentoring opportunities outside of their company to strengthen their skill sets. We’ll convene our communities for a dialogue around diversity, equity and inclusion and create a talent retention toolkit to help employers better understand the needs and interests of younger leaders, especially the Gen Zs.

And, we will launch a resource dashboard for our small businesses and entrepreneurs; launch a Shop Small/Shop Local campaign; and actively participate in National Small Business Week.

And we will continue to be THE voice of our region’s business community, representing your interests on Beacon Hill and Capitol Hill, and keeping our seat at the table on the Senate Revenue Working Group, Massachusetts Coalition for Sustainable Energy, Massachusetts Employer’s Health Coalition, East-West Rail Advisory Panel and, of course, on the Grand Bargain team advising the Administration on the ongoing implementation of the Paid Family and Medical Leave program.

Year 2 of our three-year strategic plan  is underway, and we hope that we are continuing to move the Chamber in the right direction so that we are impactful in our work and that you continue to yield value for your investment in us.

As always, thank you for your support, your investment in our Chamber and your commitment to our communities! I see more great things on our horizon, and – together – I know we can accomplish them!