My Tenure As Chairman: An Introspective from Former Chamber Leader Deb DeHaas
It’s hard to imagine my tenure as Chairman of the Chamber Board of Directors has come to an end. As I prepare to transition from my role, I am truly confident in the ongoing success of the Chamber and the economic growth of the Chicagoland region. I cannot express enough how proud and honored I am to have served the Chamber and the Chicagoland business community in this role.
It seems like yesterday that I was accepting the gavel from the late, outgoing Chair, Jim Tyree. I can only hope I approached the Chairmanship with as much valor, commitment and energy as Jim. It was his leadership and legacy of excellence that allowed the Chamber so much success.
When I first became Chairman, there were several priorities I believed would help ensure our region’s ongoing economic development and growth:
• Continue to develop a workforce with the skills to compete in the global marketplace
At the forefront of those issues is the ability of the Chicago region to compete here and on a global level. Thanks to the leadership displayed by the Chamber, we completed an analysis by the prestigious Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). The nation’s first-ever OECD report will provide a roadmap for future, regional growth and ensure we remain competitive in the global marketplace.
A large part of our ability to compete globally is reliant on our talent locally. To help foster the growth of our region’s talent, the Chamber launched the Emerging Leaders Group which has helped convene the next generation of executives so they have an avenue to learn from and connect with Chicago’s current business leaders.
I am also honored to be a founding member of the Chamber’s latest Board initiative called Women of the Board. Our mission is to help foster the growth of women Chamber members and provide a place to learn and connect. I will remain a dedicated participant as we continue to encourage women members to engage both at the board and general membership levels.
We will continue to help small and medium-sized companies address their pressing business challenges. The Chamber recently launched its Small Business Development Center, which will offer programs focused on assisting start-ups and maturing firms to build confidence in their product or service. Through these programs the Chamber will help foster the growth of our entrepreneurs and instill a culture of innova¬tion that will lead to long-term success.
Additionally, with the establishment of the Pro-Chicago Initiative and the reinvigoration of our Political Action Committee (PAC), the Chamber has further dedicated itself to advocacy and providing public policy support on business issues. The impact of our advocacy efforts are moving us one step closer to a city, state and region focused on economic development and job growth as a means to fuel the vitality of our great city.
During my time as Chairman, the Chamber experienced unprecedented levels of growth and the strong commitment from the business community that helped us instill the type of change necessary to address critical issues affecting our region. There is a large responsibility that comes with being the voice of business and the Chamber is in a unique position to ensure we can be just that.
While we have achieved so much, we aren’t finished. There is still much to do!
I am proud of the many accomplishments we have made together in the business community. As I transition this role to Scott Swanson, President of Charter One and RBS Citizens, Illinois, I am confident that he is poised to elevate the Chamber to new levels of success and growth. Scott has done a tremendous job in his role as Vice Chair of the Chamber. I have enjoyed working alongside him and will continue to collaborate with him in making this a seamless transition.
I’m looking forward to another great year under the leadership of Scott, Jerry and the entire Chamber board and staff as we continue to be a resource for you and position our region for future prosperity. Contribute to the Chamber today and be heard as a part of the voice of business.
Thank you for your support and commitment to make Chicago a leader in the world economy.
Deborah L. DeHaas
Last Updated on 2012-06-12 15:28:58.058