From the Chairman

Intentionality: Moving Forward Together

 

As change agents, we all have several ways to “cause” significant change in our chambers and communities. 

We can monitor and measure a change that is occurring and then proclaim that change has happened. This is certainly the most accurate way, since hindsight is always 20/20, though it is not very effective if you are trying to move a community or region – or even your organization – in a new direction. 

We can call for a study to assess which way the wind is blowing on a certain issue and then provide our findings to the membership or the community. This methodology requires no action by the chamber on the findings but provides enough information for someone to act on the issue if they are so inclined. 

We can call for the development of a strategy to accomplish a specific outcome. This combines the trend watching in option No. 1 with the study portion of option No. 2, but includes the definition of an issue and identifying a set of actions necessary to accomplish the outcome.

Or, we can do all of the above, with full intentions to resolve an issue or reverse a trend. We can put option No. 1 in high gear and actively seek trends that will impact our organization or community. (Think ACCE Horizons Initiative.) We can use that trend information as the basis for research to define the issue and the impacts of action or inaction. Then, we can use that information to develop a strategy to affect the change you want to see. And, then, we can be clear about the role the chamber needs to take to affect the change we are seeking. 

This latter methodology is precisely the direction ACCE has taken on the issue of Diversity and Inclusion. Beginning late last year, the DEI Division began to gather trend information, has set goals for 2020 to develop resources for chambers to use to impact DEI in their communities and then plans to develop training tools and curriculum to help us all be more effective in this space. This is what intentionality looks like for ACCE in the DEI space. ACCE is helping us all to be more intentional about responding to the changing demographics, economics and societal norms.

So, what are you going to do about it? I will admit that the Omaha Chamber is behind several other chambers who have been working in the DEI space for years. We have made a valiant effort to catch up, and I think we have caught the issue at an opportune time for our community. As a result, we are being very intentional about giving our companies the tools they need to be more effective at hiring a more diverse workforce and creating company cultures that reflect inclusivity. At the same time, we have recognized that the community also needs to respond to the growing diversity of our region. Together, with other community partners, we are assessing cultural and physical characteristics of the community that, if changed, could create a more inclusive environment. 

For us, I am pleased with our progress and the commitment of our board and membership to make this an ongoing part of our overall Talent Initiative. It took a commitment to look at the future and act on the disruption that was coming. 

ACCE is trying to provide resources to all of our members, so that we can all be intentional about making change regarding Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in our communities. I hope you will take ACCE up on its offer to help.

 

David G. Brown is chairman of the ACCE Board of Directors and president and CEO of the Greater Omaha Chamber, one of the largest, most highly accredited chambers in the nation and ACCE’s 2015 Chamber of the Year. Under David’s steady leadership, the Greater Omaha Economic Development Partnership has successfully landed more than 760 projects, representing 37,090 jobs and more than $8.6 billion in capital investment since 2004.
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