Elected AICC President on February 26, 2018
Remarks to AICC Members and Board
I would first like to say a few words about our President Emeritus, Jane Fischer. I was privileged to work with Jane as her First Vice President during the last two years. Many of you have known her over the ten years she has been involved with the Chamber, but for me we had known each other only a short time. There are people you meet and know instantly that they are folks whose team you want to be on. Jane is one of those people.
She is an outstanding leader who relishes a challenge and attacks it with gusto, a razor focus on the issue and achieving results, a positive attitude, a sense of humor and an ability to energize and rally a team.
There are a few Chambers that have had to close their doors recently---but under Jane’s leadership, the Chicago Chamber has thrived, grown, expanded its networks, cultivated new and strengthened current relationships and diversified our membership– just take a look at the number of women and young faces in the room. Our Young Leadership group is getting off the ground and bringing a fresh perspective to the table.
Last year was a watershed year. You have experienced many of the changes. We’ve added a Spring Event, moved the venue to 1871 to be where tech energy is located, utilized more social media, revamped our website and increased our exposure by partnering with more organizations on programs.
So, to Jane, from the Officers, Board, Advisors, all members and everyone here today who are not members yet, but hopefully will be soon, a heartfelt Thank You for your leadership, service and inspiring spirit. And from me personally, a special thank you for your mentorship and friendship.
Scott Glickson, our First Vice President, and I look to continue the momentum by building on these successes, making the Chicago Chamber the “go-to” organization, resource and knowledge center for Midwest businesses seeking to trade with and invest in Israel and provide services to Israeli businesses seeking to enter or expand in the Midwest market.
Like each of your businesses, our Chamber of Commerce is a business. Our customer is you, our members – so our focus is on providing added value and benefits that enhance your business and reason for membership.
Specifically, our vision is to:
- Increase and broaden our membership to include more companies in a variety of sectors such as manufacturing, technology, banking and healthcare, to name a few, and in more cities in the Midwest beyond the Chicago Metro area.
- Create a Member Community to foster business relationships, connections and networks among our members. We are currently evaluating platforms for our website that would facilitate this effort.
- Increase member engagement and networking opportunities with programming that addresses topics of interest in a variety of venues such as roundtables, lunch and learn, workshops and podcasts to make them accessible to those unable to attend. And, we plan on reaching out to members to better understand what programming, topics, locations and timing of events are best suited for them and what are the “hot buttons” that add value to being a member.
- ReLaunch our Buy Israel Goods website
- Expand awareness and exposure of the Chamber through social media, PR efforts and seeking partnership opportunities with organizations such as World Business Chicago, mHUB, FinTank and others. With the 70th anniversary of Israel this year, we will look to participate in the local events and celebration.
- And, build our Young Leadership group with targeted programming, social, networking and professional development opportunities.
We have an ambitious agenda with challenges and opportunities. Budgets are always top of the list and tight, so we will need to be proactive and innovative in identifying new revenue streams. We are a business, but a Not-for-Profit one, so we need to rely on our Board members to be engaged in the process more than ever and to be ambassadors for the Chamber in the local community, your business industry network and wider connections in order to leverage our resources. We have a great story to tell.
There are many ways to contribute. We will call upon you to bring in new members, identify sponsors for our Spring and Fall Events, be on a committee, host a program, be a speaker or a moderator of a panel, provide a connection, be a resource.
In the coming weeks we are scheduling a strategic planning meeting to get the ball rolling. If you would like to join the group, we would welcome your participation.
I have met with some Board members and plan to meet with all others to get your perspective, thoughts and suggestions on how we can continue to meet our members’ needs in an ever-changing market.
I am energized by the strides we have made and enthusiastic to work with all of you to continue the momentum. Thank you.