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What does it take to succeed? Leadership, education and your Chamber at work

Posted by: Bernie Dagenais on Tuesday, July 10, 2018 at 2:00:00 pm

Eight years ago at this time of year, in my final column as Editor of The Philadelphia Business Journal, I was reflecting on what I had learned during nearly three decade career as a journalist. My conclusion as I was preparing to take on my current job at The Main Line Chamber of Commerce was that education was the answer to pretty much every issue facing our region and our nation.

Everything I have learned since about our region’s economy and companies has reinforced that view. Not only do we need a potent mix of public and private schools to give our children the skills they need to become productive participants of our society, but our companies need to be involved in that education and, as teams are hired, it is essential that we develop our employees and leaders.

Helping our leaders and managers succeed: A year ago, I reached out in this letter about a new Chamber program called Leadership Principles & Profiles. The response was outstanding, as we shattered our initial goal of 12 and ended up with 20 participants in the first year of the program. We are now recruiting for our 2018 class, which will launch on Sept. 11. Leadership Principles & Profiles offers the same type of exposure to outstanding leaders that participants in Leadership Main Line receive plus added professionally facilitated leadership skills training and assessment-based instruction.

Companies can find a program summary at or reply to this email to reach me and learn more.

Improving our children’s chances: The Chamber received the Corporate Citizen of the Year Award from the Children’s Scholarship Fund Philadelphia at a ceremony held at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts last month. I accepted the award on behalf of our member businesses that redirect tax dollars through the Education Improvement Tax Credit to fund life-changing, needs-based scholarships. We often play a role as connector, helping companies find out about opportunities to help our communities.

While we need to strengthen our schools in general, CSFP provides choices for children and parents who most likely would otherwise be stuck with an under-performing school.  The privately funded program is providing scholarships for more than 5,000 K-8th-grade schools to attend more than 170 tuition-based schools, typically at a major discount.

I won’t forget the parents who thanked me for helping their children gain this opportunity, though they deserve the credit for applying in the first place.

Supporting emergency responders: Please see Page 16 to learn about how our charitable affiliate, The Main Line Chamber Foundation, in June awarded 24 volunteer firefighters and medical technicians from throughout the region with $45,500 in college scholarships. The funds come from our annual Giant Main Line Run/Walk, which will occur again on Sept. 9. Sponsor or sign up to participate at

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


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