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Beyond awards, 2018 highlights

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Posted by: Bernie Dagenais on Wednesday, December 19, 2018 at 3:00:00 pm

The Most Admired CEO Awards from The Philadelphia Business Journal early this month honored not just the named individuals, but the work of the organization those honorees represented.

That was certainly the case for The Main Line Chamber of Commerce, whose dedicated staff celebrated the award that identifies me as one of the CEOs honored this year.  Given the time and space, I could name how each member of the Chamber’s Board of Directors and staff has helped us to evolve as we enter our 98th year of service.

The award is only an echo of the work that The Chamber does with companies and in the community. Here are some examples of how we connected with business, leadership development and talent in 2018:

  • Our Members First strategy has created a system of onboarding and retention action steps that pays dividends for members and the Chamber. The more than 960 current member companies employ 8,000 more employees than the 950 companies that made up the membership at the beginning of the year. As we have trended for at least six years toward companies with more employees who can benefit more from our services, we also have more opportunities to offer small employers.
  • Our Society of Professional Women continues to attract raving fans who support women employees and their advancement through the high quality professional development SPW provides. SPW, which is open to men as well as women, is the largest program of the Chamber, thanks to a strong combination of dedicated volunteers, staff and members who love the content and connections they have come to expect as SPW enters its 10th anniversary year.
  • The Signature Events are excelling: Economic Forecast, Inspirational Breakfast, Celebration of Business Leadership, Gold Leaf Women in Leadership Award, Red Carpet Dinner and our Summit on Business Leadership & Corporate Volunteerism saw greater financial success and attendance than in any recent year – indicating our members see value in being engaged and showing up. While the funds raised support our work year around, these gatherings also are bringing together business leaders while inspiring people to be their best.
  • Our Talent and Education Network hosted an Opportunity Knocks event for students and member companies that was inspirational and helped set a clear path for 2019 in this growing program. Companies are working together to expand the diversity of their candidates for jobs and internships, addressing a major issue for our region and nation.
  • Every Chamber event, including Network at Noon, Business Card Exchanges, Young Professionals and Nonprofit Roundtable, has been successful and well attended. Most feature rooms full of business people who want to help each other succeed.
  • Our new Leadership Principles & Profiles program this year helped empower 24 individuals to be more effective in managing their teams. This comes on top of the 18 business leaders who have greater awareness about how they can strengthen their companies and the region due to their participation in Leadership Main Line in 2018.
  • Our Government Affairs programming featured the chairman of the Pennsylvania Senate Appropriations Committee Pat Browne in April and three county leaders from Delaware, Chester and Montgomery Counties in October, providing our members with an opportunity to interact with key elected officials.

On a personal note, receiving the CEO award from some of my former colleagues brought back memories of my decades as a journalist, including nearly eight years as Editor-in-Chief of The Philadelphia Business Journal. It was the Journal that first brought me to the Philadelphia region from Washington, D.C., 16 years ago this month.

During this holiday season, I am thankful to all who have helped me learn about the region, its strengths and its opportunities for improvement. Because of the companies and the people surrounding The Chamber, combined with our ability to connect around key issues affecting Greater Philadelphia and the Main Line, I’m confident we will together have an even greater positive impact on the region in 2019. Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!

To read the entire December issue of the Main Line Business Monthly please click here

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