By Kathy Young, Director of Operations.
This week, J. Mac Holladay and three of Market Street’s staff (myself,
Ellen Cutter, and Christa Tinsley Spaht) will be spending time with
chamber of commerce professionals from throughout the nation at the
American Chamber of Commerce Executives (ACCE) annual meeting. As
ACCE’s national economic development sponsor, we look forward to this
opportunity to see clients and friends, and to learn from the nation’s
most accomplished and passionate economic developers, including Market
Street’s CEO, who has been a supporter of ACCE for 30 year. Some
highlights from my first morning follow.
Economic Development and State Budgets
Market Street kicked the morning off with an enlightening presentation
by our CEO, who was joined by two fellow ACCE veterans, Mark Eagan
(President and CEO of the Albany-Colonie Regional Chamber) and Jay
Chesshir (President and CEO of the Little Rock Regional Chamber).
Mac provided a review of national trends and recent decisions being made
at the state level that are bringing to light some dire future
scenarios we all have ahead of us. Mark and Jay shared the realities
from their states – some good, and some less so. In the coming days,
we’ll be sharing more information from the presentation, but in the
meantime, take note of this incredibly powerful – and brave – recent
statement from Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley.
“How much less do we think would be good for our country? How much less
education would be good for our children? How many fewer college degrees
would make our state or our country more competitive? How much less
research and development would be good for the innovation economy that
we have an obligation and the responsibility, a duty and an imperative,
to embrace? How many fewer hungry Maryland kids can we afford to feed?
Progress is a choice: we decide whether to make the tough choices
necessary to invest in our shared future and move forward together. Or
we can be the first generation of Marylanders to give our children a
lesser quality of life with fewer opportunities.”
Innovative Community Marketing
Cynthia Reid, VP of Marketing and Communications with the Greater
Oklahoma Chamber of Commerce shared with everyone the value of
research-based, competitive benchmark community driven marketing
strategies. One key point reiterated by Cynthia and Roy Williams, CEO
for the Chamber, was the importance of setting aside resources or least
having a plan to take advantage of unexpected opportunities (e.g., first
time in NBA finals).
Another point that hit home for me was Cynthia’s suggestion to not just
market what you are, but to market what you aren’t. Her message went
into further detail, but what really resonated with me was the
applicability of this message for emerging communities that don’t have
as many resources as some of their high capacity competitors. This
message underlies much of what our team does in every community we work
in – don’t try to be something you’re not, be authentic, and market what
makes your community special.
Stay tuned for additional blogs next week, when we’ll recap more from
the meeting, including what’s sure to be a great presentation tomorrow
morning on “Winning the Talent War.” Market Street’s Director of
Research Ellen Cutter and Project Manager Christa Tinsley Spaht will be
joined by Brad Lacy, President and CEO of the Conway (AR) Area Chamber
of Commerce, and Mary Bontrager, Executive Vice President of Workforce
Development for the Greater Des Moines Partnership.