(Editor’s note: This post is a portion of Board of Directors Chairman Willie LaFavor’s comments during the Chamber’s 2019 Annual Meeting.)
The 2018-2019 year definitely offered its challenges as we enlisted and secured volunteers, raised funds, and ultimately, accomplished our goal as the Chamber’s “One Vision” capital campaign closed out.
As outgoing Chairman Tim Lovelace told you earlier, our goal was $2.5 million. We expect to meet that goal and pledges are still coming in! Chamber CFO Leissa Chittam tells me that we are going to exceed our original goal. What an accomplishment! Some of you might rightfully say, our work is finally complete, so let’s sit back and coast after all that fundraising work. We all know the reality is the real work is just beginning.
Let’s go back to “The Partnership.” As you will recall, as part of this five-year strategic plan, we would all form this partnership that would include four areas of emphasis: residential housing options, dedication to results-driven workforce development, recruiting quality educational opportunities for our children, and ultimately progressive name recognition for our community within our state, our nation, and globally.
It is time for us to make good on our promises to you. As a group, we will soon be sharing our plan of action in a written report that reveals what we intend to accomplish. Under Tim’s leadership, our team has done a great job setting up the next steps by raising the necessary funding. Now it’s time to transitions to the next phase of our plan.
My personal objective is simple. I will assist the Board of Directors, the staff of the Chamber, all of its affiliates and volunteers as together we begin to measure and accomplish the goals which been set forth by our leadership.
As I mentioned earlier, we may feel like we have crossed the finish line. Please let me tell you, we have only been begun. In the coming year, we will ask more of you. What we will ask of you will be your time, expertise, and leadership in accomplishing the goals we have set. Raising the funds is a great part of getting started. Now we have to move forward with getting it done.
These teams have already begun the work by forming subcommittees which have areas of specific focus. They have been busy evaluating and creating a plan of quick action. I expect we’ll be hearing from them in the next few days so be watching for that to come.
My personal commitment to you is that we will measure and communicate our progress regularly using emails, the Chamber blog, and social media. You can also check the Chamber’s website. Be looking for this information! If you don’t see it, you won’t know it.
We will accomplish these goals and objectives. And if we need to make adjustments, rest assured, we will do so. The coming year is an exciting time in our community and we will have many opportunities to consider. It will take everyone as well as others within our community to succeed in these goals and objectives. I ask for your patience, leadership, and support.
In closing, let me express how humbled I am to serve as your Chairman. I am excited to get the year started! The time has come to close the 2018-2019 Annual Meeting and the past year will be in the books. This gavel strike also marks the kick-off of 2019-2020. Thank you, good luck, and I pray God will bless all you do.
Willie LaFavor is president of Contractor Service & Fabrication Inc., of Decatur, and 2019-2020 Chairman of the Chamber's Board of Directors.