By Megan Miers, Director of Leadership Programs
The Dallas Regional Chamber (DRC) recently attended the annual Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives (ACCE) convention in Indianapolis, and four staff members presented to more than 1,000 chamber leaders.
ACCE serves represents more than 1,600 chambers of commerce and economic development organizations, and more than 9,000 chamber professionals around the world.
“Being part of the ACCE at the national level allows the DRC to share best practices and learn from other chambers around the country,” said Angela Farley, the DRC’s COO/CFO.
Leveraging coalitions to drive policy change
Elizabeth Caudill McClain, Vice President of Workforce and Leadership Programs, led an interactive session on coalition building. Caudill McClain presented the case study on ACCE’s partnership with the National Skills Coalition to create Texas Business Leaders United (BLU), a statewide coalition of chambers of commerce focused on advancing workforce and skills-based policy across Texas.
Caudill McClain highlighted key advocacy wins, challenges, and how to scale and replicate the initiative in other states.
“The voice of the business community is strong when speaking together,” she said. “The BLU coalition work with our peer chambers of commerce from across Texas has brought valuable alignment in workforce policy.”
A new approach to an old problem: Underserved areas can achieve long-term economic growth
The Ted Talk-style of Latosha Herron Bruff’s presentation focused on the strategies chambers can use to bring jobs to underserved areas. The Senior Vice President of Inclusion and Community Engagement discussed the DRC’s work in Southern Dallas County. By leveraging the area’s already strong assets, the DRC is creating more jobs and development for current and future residents.
“The DRC is focused on building tomorrow today,” she said. “In doing that, we understand that this takes collaborative partnership with the business community to ensure that we are creating opportunities for all communities to grow and thrive.”
Incorporating a diversity, equity, and inclusion lens into your programs and events
Daniela Ramirez, Manager of Inclusion and Community Engagement, and Cali Landry, Manager of Leadership Programs, discussed how to bring a DEI lens into every event program. They presented with Sydney Doctor from Greater Louisville Inc.
During the workshop, event leaders from across the nation collaborated on best practices for planning inclusive, equitable, and diverse events, no matter the size or scale.
“It’s important that we clearly identify the ‘why’ behind all events and programs,” Ramirez said, “When we identify the why organizationally, it reveals to us our values and can tell us where we want to be when making a region more committed to inclusion, equity, and belonging.”
Said Landry: “It’s not just about the content of an event anymore. It’s about how your attendees feel when they’re there. Are you bringing the required authenticity?”