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CACCE meeting was enlightening, informative

Posted: October 16, 2017 5:03 p.m.
Updated: October 17, 2017 1:00 a.m.

I have recently returned from a Carolinas Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives (CACCE) conference. I thoroughly enjoyed the content of the learning sessions as well as time spent with other chamber leaders, most of whom have been working in this field from five to 35 years. There are a couple of topics that were discussed at the conference that I’d like to share with you. 

First, workforce is a focus of a majority of chambers in North and South Carolina. County Council Chairman Julian Burns has said that Kershaw County must have a “ready workforce.” At the conference, I heard stories about communities who have extremely low unemployment (even lower than Kershaw County’s 3.9 percent) and are having to look at extraordinary projects and programs to build their workforce. Programs included everything from developing a drug task force and working on state legislation to holding special celebrations for job placements. In addition, these chambers are looking at using technology, including social media, in new and different ways to implement these new programs. 

Second, collaboration between chambers in the same region is another area of focus. Not only are these chambers collaborating on research for their region, but they are also combining resources to address regional issues and challenges that are common among their members.

My experience in the chamber world has been that chamber leaders are very supportive of one another. However, this type of collaboration is more formal and creates a cohesive strategy on issues across all of the chambers involved. Some of the projects they are working on together include workforce, quality of life, and transportation challenges, just to name a few.

Finally, there was a lengthy session on chambers of the future. The national Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives (ACCE) convened a task force of chamber leaders that identified the influences that would shape chambers over the next 10 years. The influences they identified include belonging and gathering, communications and technology, scarcity and abundance, global impacts, population shift, political and social fragmentation, limitations of government, resource alignment, and catalytic leadership.

During the conference, the chamber executives in attendance had the opportunity to discuss various ways that chambers are or should adjust for these influences. Some approaches were easier to come up with than others, and for those that are harder, chambers will need to look for non-traditional approaches.

Ultimately, all of these topics require forward, out of the box thinking and change. Change is difficult but time and again, businesses are told to change with the needs of customers, improvements in technology and increasing global competition. Now it’s time for the chambers supporting them to change too. I am open and interested in doing things in different ways to better serve our members and the community. The wealth of information that I gathered at this conference was overwhelming, but I have a better perspective of the purpose of our chamber and its future.

Of course, not everything I heard at the conference is appropriate for our businesses or community. But I look forward to sharing new ideas and perspectives with our members to ensure that the Kershaw County Chamber of Commerce is relevant and will be relevant to our community for many years to come.

If you have any new ideas, thoughts or suggestions, please contact me at director@kershawcoun tychamber.org or (803) 432-2525.

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