Last week I celebrated 10 years with the Chamber. I have to admit, I didn’t realize it until people congratulated me on LinkedIn. Taking this position at the Chamber was a significant career change; I had been in the hospitality industry since I was a kid growing up in the Poconos. It has been an adventure that I never expected, but totally love. As a hotelier, I used to say that you never had the same day twice and I find that the same for the Chamber world. I work with a great team and look forward to my future time with the Chamber.

I do realize that 10 years can be a long time. When I attended IOM (Institute for Organizational Management), one of the first things I learned is that chamber executives tend to stay in their positions for a long time and the only way that is acceptable is to ensure that you change while you do it. Not only has the role I fill changed since I started, but the Chamber has changed, becoming more relevant and I feel as though I morphed too. I try to be the best me I can be while I lead the Chamber into the future. I did search for an article on long term work and found a few:

From Stacey Phillips for iConnectEngineers: 10 of the Best Ways to Make an Impact at Work

The Chamber board is preparing for their annual board retreat. The timing is a little off due to COVID but we are meeting on 9/30 to develop our plans for the next 18 months for the Chamber. 

So, you know what that means, don’t you? Yes, a survey! I know in the past year I have probably asked you to do at least 2 dozen surveys for others in our community but this time it is for us. We need this information from you so that the board works with your input. We have a large board (of 41) but we have a larger Chamber and need member feedback to ensure we meet your needs and expectations. It is a short survey but this one is the most important!
I am sourcing a ton of information from the Florida Chamber this week:
The July edition of Florida By the Numbers is now available with Florida's latest job numbers and economic update. Florida is still facing a workforce crisis as we work our way back to pre-COVID numbers. Currently, we have 528,300 jobs looking for people, an increase from last month's 512,900, and 523,000 people looking for jobs – simply not enough Floridians with the proper skills to fill in the gaps.

Florida has made significant progress with 895,300 jobs recovered since April 2020. Since December 2020, we have recovered a total of 206,200 jobs with a large gain of 81,300 jobs estimated last month. We are still down 373,900 jobs since February 2020, with Leisure and Hospitality still down the most with 214,600 jobs left to recover. 

As we prepare for the 4 million more projected residents and 2 million net new jobs that will need to be created in Florida by 2030,'s Economic Data Trackers have been updated for every Florida county to include "Net New Jobs Needed by 2030." You are invited, if you haven't already done so, to embed this FREE tracker to your website so you can track your individual county's progress.
There is more to share from the Florida Chamber.  

2020 is going to gear up to be a big year with the impact on redistricting on the 2022 Election process. We will be voting on all the offices in Tallahassee, including the governor. Do you have an interest in running for office? Last summer we hosted a virtual Florida Institute for Political Leadership (FIPL) – though you may not be ready to run for governor, you might want to start on a local level. FIPL is a candidate training  program that will take you through the process, answer questions you may have and you will know at the end if this is the right direction for you. They have created a first-of-its-kind comprehensive database of local elections across Florida to help Floridians take the next step in their political career. Find an office to run for by using the database here. The classes are not area specific and there are multiple chambers in Florida hosting FIPL. If you want to participate please reach out to Andrew Wiggins at (tell him Colleen sent you!) 

The Chamber team and some of our Member Advocacy Committee (MAC) are heading to Tampa for a complimentary Advocacy training being offered by the Florida Chamber. It is being held on Thursday, 8/6 and here is the link to register.
The Chamber is presenting the first annual SWFL Craft Beer Week this year. It will start on Thursday, September 2 with "Beers, Bowling & Bites" at HeadPinz, and conclude on Monday, September 6 with “Bikes & Beers” at Matzaluna’s. Visit the SWFL Craft Beer Week website for a full list of events.

SWFL Craft Beer Week includes six member breweries and some other partners:

Riptide Brewing Company (Bonita Springs location) 
I hope you will join us for the kick off event at HeadPinz - Beers, Bowling & Bites. The event includes food, pours by our 6 breweries, bowling and time to get to meet the crews behind the craft beer here in our area. The ticket also includes a $25 gift certificate from HeadPinz, 1 pint from each brewery during our event, and a mug from Rusty’s Raw Bar & Grill to be included in their mug club! Here is the link to register.
On a fun note, I want to introduce you to my new friend… he currently has no name but I am working on that.

If you have a suggestion, reach out to me!
Our Women in Business Committee held their retreat last week and this is going to be a great year. We have a new committee chair, Kelly Thawley (she is the bomb!) and the group is made up of new and seasoned committee members. Keep an eye on their events over the next year, you won’t be disappointed. 
I debated on bringing this up but decided it was like the “elephant in the room.” The topic is COVID 19 vaccines. Recently Lee County has gone from Medium Risk, to High Risk and now we are Very High Risk. We are 8th in the state for daily new cases per 100K people. On June 10th we were actually at 0 new cases per day but now we are back at 30.5. This is the website where I got this data.

If this is the right time for you to get your vaccine, then here is some information for you: 

1) Here is a link to find a vaccine location - it is broken down by county and city.

3) You might want to book your appointment in advance, but it isn't necessary.

3) If you know someone homebound, please send an email to for accommodations.

Stay safe.
Fill out your survey.
Take care of yourself.