Wednesday, June 19, 2013

"What is the difference between an obstacle and an opportunity? Our attitude toward it. Every opportunity has a difficulty, and every difficulty has an opportunity." ~ J.S. Baxter

I said to a trusted colleague yesterday morning that if our Visitor Center funding emerged from the Council's budget discussion 100% intact I would have a bit of survivor's guilt.  Watching broad cuts affect the full spectrum of City services, it made sense to me that we would see a reduction in funding for next fiscal year -- and it turns out we will.  So, what will we do with less?  Well...more!  I have big plans to do things differently, more creatively, and with a team of fabulous college students who will help us build our social media presence in the coming months.

Now more than ever, it is critical that we connect visitors, tourists, and residents to local businesses and that's why it makes perfect sense for the Visitor Center to continue to live squarely within the Chamber.  As the City continues to cope with financial challenges that directly impact the services provided by many non-profits in town, I hope collaborative strategies focused on economic recovery will bring us even closer as a community.  Our Team Chico approach -- pulling together the resources and expertise of the Alliance for Workforce Development, 3CORE, DCBA, Chico Chamber, Chabin Concepts, and City of Chico to reach as many business as possible with a full set of services -- is a great model. I am a firm believer that we have a hand in designing our future, and I have confidence that the Chamber will be a leading voice in paving the way forward.

In other news, I'm thrilled to congratulate our BBQ winners: Enloe FlightCare (Grand Prize and People's Choice in the backyard division), Hunter Drake Smokehouse BBQ (People's Choice professional division) and Kinder's Meats & Deli (Grand Prize professional division).  Many thanks to ALL of the teams for competing, to our sponsors for making the BBQ possible, and to our attendees for joining us on the lovely shaded lawns of Manzanita Place as we honored Enloe Medical Center's centennial anniversary.

Looking toward Fall, we're planning our Business Spotlight calendar for the first City Council meeting of each month. If you'd like to be a featured business, please let me know which month works best for you.  This is a great opportunity to demonstrate the economic, community, and historical impacts of local businesses and we want to aim the spotlight on YOU.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

"Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work." - Thomas A. Edison

Shortly after I graduated from college, I took a temporary position assisting the staff at the International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine as they prepared for their annual meeting in Denver, Colorado.  The organization, I would soon learn, had thousands of members -- mostly M.D.s and Ph.D.s -- from all over the world who specialized in the research, development, and application of MRI.  These members would soon converge in Denver for a 7-day accredited medical convention with 9 parallel sessions, over 1500 poster exhibitions, and a technical exhibition featuring the latest equipment from 50+ companies including GE, Philips, and Toshiba.

My job, which I bit into with great force, was to assist the staff in anything and everything.  I alphabetized paperwork, ran errands, found files, took phone messages, and tied up loose ends.  Four short years later -- after learning from every conversation and transaction that came my way -- I'd wiggled my way up to top of the meetings staff and was directing conventions and workshops in Europe, Asia, North name it...all because someone had given me an opportunity on that very first day by opening the door.

We all have stories like this.  We've climbed ladders, gone out on limbs, built things from scratch; our pathways are varied and unique.  But I'm sure we all have something in common, too: strong hands that have reached out to guide us, pull us forward, and to lift us.

Kimberly & Katie
I have no doubt that my new intern, Kimberly Cooke, will take advantage of the opportunity in front of her in the same way that I did when I was her age.  The Chamber has tackled enormous issues this year and she is perfectly positioned to make an impact that you, our members, will feel.

I love when doors open for me and I love opening doors for others.  It's the way the world works.  If you're in a position to take an intern under your wing I encourage you to connect with the career centers at Chico State and Butte College.

Open the door to your business, invite someone inside, and change a career path (and a life!) in the process.

~ Katie