It has been an exciting five months in my new position as CEO of the Tualatin Chamber of Commerce. I have endeavored to introduce myself, shake as many hands as possible, listen to perspectives and opinions, learn history, and get to know our city leaders, other Chamber CEOs and the Tualatin Chamber operation, as well as Tualatin businesses, members, and volunteers.
I have learned about the “Before Covid” era for the Tualatin Chamber and the Crawdads that were a big part of it! And I have studied the “After Covid” era and the strange business landscape that is the aftermath of not just an economic freeze, but of societal trauma. My goal as the leader of this Chamber is to be relevant at all times, so in June, the Chamber Board of Directors and I sent out a professional survey to directly ask Tualatin businesses their insight and opinions. We genuinely wanted to know how to be a stronger and better support.
On the positive side, the survey told us that the members like the “in-person networking events” and community outreach opportunities. They appreciate the staff and wonderful team of Ambassadors who have been active, friendly, and helpful to them. That didn’t surprise me, because Tualatin Chamber has the most incredible Ambassador Committee I have ever seen, and it is obvious to me that this team of business professionals was the glue that held the Chamber together through more than one difficult transition in the past two years.
When asked in the survey how they were doing post covid, business owners and leaders said that they were challenged and needed help with employee recruitment, retention, and training. It became clear that Tualatin Chamber was going to need to find more ways to assist in immediate employee recruitment, retention efforts and employee training, while also continuing to be supportive of #Workready with Linda Moholt and Tualatin Together with Cyndy Hillier, who are actively building resilient youth who can become part of Tualatin’s workforce someday. We have also convened a new “Engagement Committee” that will be working with me to create and coordinate educational seminars, lunch and learns and job fairs.
Over the past few months, while talking with various citizens and members, I learned that most of our members and business leaders were unaware of the Tolling planned for Oregon Freeways. Very few people knew the facts, some thought it was a short-term toll to fix one bridge, others thought it was just a rumor, and still, others didn’t know anything about it. I brought this information back to Susan Noack, Chair of the Tualatin Chamber’s Business Advocacy Committee, and, though they had addressed this topic in February with a Business Town Hall, we set about coordinating a Key Leader’s Breakfast to bring Washington County Commissioner Roy Rogers, and Clackamas County Commissioner Paul Savas, to educate and inform our members once again on the facts. They spoke of exactly what is being planned today and how to have a voice in the process. One hundred ten people attended this event, including the business community, elected officials, political candidates and citizens, on Thursday, September 8th and gained a valuable education. Information is power, and we will follow this issue as it unfolds.
You spoke, we listened. Please continue to support and invest in the Tualatin Chamber, because we intend to support and invest in you.