- By Jack Hall: Chamber Chairman of the Board – Director of External Affairs, Comcast
Growing up in the days before 24/7 television, a weekly sports game was an event to cherish, enjoy and learn from. Some of my fondest moments were sitting down at the TV to watch a UCLA basketball game with my father on a Saturday afternoon. My father became a great fan of UCLA coach John Wooden. And so, I too, became a fan of the coach.
Wooden was a talented coach, teacher, leader and much can be learned from his philosophy. Many of us have heard of Wooden’s Pyramid of Success, but Coach Wooden also created a list of 12 Lessons in Leadership. Lesson #1: “Good values attract good people.” Meaning, if our value system is strong, we’ll attract the type of people we need to get the job done. As Leaders and as a Chamber, we practice this every day.
As the 2014 Chairman of the Board, it’s very humbling to be in such a position of service to our great community. However, I find myself also reflecting on the good values held by our members in the business community. Our businesses and your Chamber have survived the Great Recession because of those values and the people that work with us.
This was the case as the Board prepared for 2014. It’s an amazing group of individuals, representing diverse businesses, taking the time to invest in their community through the Chamber. Their values are our values, wanting nothing but the best for our area, drives them to success. That’s reflected in the Board’s involvement in the Chamber committees, support of our public events and being advocates for our members.
Also, I’ve been in many a Chamber throughout the State, and personally know that our award winning Chamber has one of the best teams in place. It is a team, led by Al Smith, above reproach. It is a team that is focused and diligent in meeting its goals throughout the year. It takes the contributions of many for us to succeed and our home team is proving its success year-in and year out.
As incoming Chairman of the Board, I felt there were two key areas our Board and members could benefit from through seeking significant change. First was creating a “Fresno Chamber of Commerce’s 2019 Vision.” It started by having us all share in the idea of where and what we want the Chamber to be in five years. We’ll continue to work on this road map to the future. It will be a work in progress these next few months as we’re off to a great start thanks to the board and staff’s initial participation.
The second area is the ability for your Chamber to maintain and expand its political influence in 2014. With elections for Congress (CA 53 seats), State constitutional officers (8 positions), State Legislature (100 seats), an initiative process gone crazy, and some very important local elections, who knows what’s going to happen in California this year? Really, none of us do. But it’s up to the Chamber to protect and fight for our members and their businesses at all levels of government. One of the most flexible ways to do this is through an Independent Expenditure Political Action Committee (IE PAC). This opportunity will allow the Chamber to function as a pro-business advocate in a very challenging election process. We’ll be looking for your support from across the business spectrum for this process to succeed.
In closing, I would be remiss if I didn’t thank outgoing Chair Matt Rosenfeld for his leadership and setting such a high bar for me to follow. It’s a Chamber on strong financial footing, a focused team, and one that is positioned to exceed all expectations in helping its members.
Our values are in place. Our people are in place. Here’s to all of us having a great 2014!