The Charlotte Chamber Annual meeting is the place to network and connect. People go for the food, drinks and endless business card exchanges that have made this a must-attend event for business types, politicians, community leaders and the media.
This year, seemed a little different. There was the usual speeches and platitudes as well as the annual changing of the guard with new leadership. This year, the program reflected the Chamber’s efforts to respond to the civil unrest that rocked Charlotte in September. This year’s gathering was called “Together For Tomorrow.” New chair Andrea Smith, explained the new focus points of Connect, Innovate, Grow and Leadership.
To hammer in the point that the Chamber plans to use its clout to address some of the issues highlighted this fall, the meeting featured a video clip from annual retreat in which former Bank of America CEO Hugh McColl, former mayor Harvey Gantt, Hornets’ Fred Whitfield and other talked about the change that needs to address the disparities.
Smith explained the focus:
Connect – We have an opportunity to connect eh work between organizations, between non-profits, to provide more integrated solutions. WE have an opportunity to collaborate more. We don’t need more programs. We need to leverage those that we have to take a more holistically approach.
Education and Awareness – We have an opportunity and responsibility to educate the businesses in our community on what we are doing and how to get involved.
Inclusion – Making sure all voices are heard, not just those in the room.