FRIDAY ROUND-UP
We were very fortunate to host Helen Edenfield from NeoGenomics at our Women in Business event on Wednesday. I was fortunate enough to meet her in October of last year when we collaborated to host then-U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. At the time, NeoGenomics was a brand-new member of the Chamber, and we knew this would be a good fit.

Helen’s presentation was a great review of NeoGenomics - who they are, what they do, their history and so much more. But when Helen shared her personal perspective, that was amazing. She shared how she wasn't comfortable talking about herself but that is what made it more real. She broke her thoughts
down and shared.

Helen spoke about being vulnerable. Making a safe space for her team to share their vulnerability but to also share her own vulnerabilities. This exercise, though difficult, has made a difference in her team.  

She discussed Effective Leadership. Considering Helen was the 3rd person hired at the company and now holds the role of Global Director, Operations Excellence (isn’t that a great title?) she knows a lot about this. Helen covered Excellence in the Workplace, simply put – show up and be open minded. She shared how she feels that resilience is the bookend to being vulnerable.  

As Helen was preparing for the WIB event, she asked her team what kind of challenge could she ask of us? They all had the same answer – to be a mentor. So, I am going to also put out a challenge to us, and I am including you in this as well. The Chamber’s Foundation is working on a new EXCELerate Mentor Program roll-out for June, so stay tuned for this! If you are interested in being a mentor or want to be a mentee, please email me at colleen@fortmyers.org

In closing, Helen left us with a Call to Action: and that is, if you have a mentor, then outgrow them! 

Helen’s program last night was informative but more importantly, inspiring to those that attended.  
FutureMakers survey needs a few more responses. Here is the link to the survey. Interested employers can also go to the FutureMakers Coalition website. An invitation to participate in the survey automatically pops up. 
The office of Senator Marco Rubio, in partnership with the Florida SBDC Network, will be hosting a multi-day, virtual conference that will equip Florida’s small businesses with the strategies and resources needed to navigate the ongoing challenges of COVID-19 and connect them with resource providers who can aid in their long-term recovery. 

The event will feature presentations from Florida SBDC Network business consultants on topics including marketing, cybersecurity, capital access, and human resources. Consultants will share business insights and discuss how attendees can leverage the network’s service offering of no-cost consulting, training, and resources. Each half-day session will conclude with a post-event presentation in Spanish. 
The Senator will deliver a welcome address emphasizing the importance of small businesses to the state’s economy. 

The event is being held on Tuesday, May 18 from 1:00-5:00PM and Thursday, May 19 from 9:00AM-1:00PM. Registration is free and participants should register by no later than the May 13 deadline. Learn more and register here.
Update on the Restaurant Revitalization Fund: The SBA released tips for RRF applicants waiting on updates following their grant application submissions, which are summarized below. 
 
RRF: What to Expect Next 
SBA is reviewing and processing priority applications first during the initial 21 days (May 3 to May 24),and then all applications will be reviewed. Applicants under review status should not anticipate any outreach from the SBA during this period. 

To make any corrections following submission and before award funding, applicants must revisit the application portal or call the support hotline (1-844-279-8898) to submit the correction, new
documentation, and initiate a restart of the timeline for review. If an applicant initiates a restart, it may take 14 days from the time of resubmission for SBA to finalize review. The SBA will not allow corrections to awards that have been paid to awardees. 

If the submitted application is successful, all applications enter “IRS verification.” No action is needed from applicants for this process, which simply allows the SBA to validate information. The process may take up to seven days. 

An additional 4506T form submission is not required after applicant’s sign the application during the e-sign process. 

If you are entering a state in the address section(s) use the abbreviation in capital letters (e.g., FL, PA, TX, ME, WA, etc.). 

Applicants can submit a message using the platform inbox for help when on the web portal. 
 
If you have not yet applied, you can do so here. If you have any issues registering or throughout the application process, call SBA's dedicated RRF hotline at 1-844-279-8898. 


Please join Chambers for Innovation and Clean Energy, the Tampa Bay Chamber of Commerce, Advanced Energy Economy, and Conservatives for Clean Energy for a candid conversation with Senator Jeff Brandes, Senator Jason Brodeur, and Nicholas Glover VP of Advocacy for the Tampa Bay Chamber of Commerce, recapping the 2021 Florida Legislative Session. Wednesday, May 12, 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. ET on Zoom. RSVP here.

In particular, the senators and other invited panelists will discuss the outcomes of: 

  • Resilient infrastructure 
  • Electric and autonomous vehicles bill 
  • Other clean energy related bills 

As chambers of commerce and economic development professionals know, addressing coastal flooding, rising sea levels, and resilient infrastructure are critical to the Florida economy and have profound implications on Florida’s businesses (read an interview with Dan Lindblade, president and CEO of the Greater Fort Lauderdale Chamber of Commerce). This is an opportunity to get first-hand information on resiliency and innovation focused legislation to share with your business community and position you to have a seat at the table for future discussions. 
 
This briefing is exclusively for chamber CEOs, staff, board members, member businesses, and economic development professionals across the state. 
VISIT FLORIDA is now accepting applications for the 2021-22 Targeted Marketing Assistance Program. 
 
The Targeted Marketing Assistance Program offers exclusive benefits to small, minority, rural and agritourism businesses with annual gross revenues of $1,250,000 or less. The program is designed to help small businesses improve their marketing efforts through a variety of benefits that can be activated during the term of the program. 
 
The deadline to submit your application is Friday, June 4, 2021. Applications reviewed on a first come first serve basis, and space is limited. Click here to apply today. 
Sunday is Mother’s Day so I will leave you with a few thoughts… 

“There is no way to be a perfect mother, and a million ways to be a good one.” -Jill Churchill 

“When your mother asks, ‘Do you want a piece of advice?’ it’s a mere formality. It doesn’t matter if you answer yes or no. You’re going to get it anyway.” -Erma Bombeck 

This was my mom – when she started the sentence with “You know what I would do if I were you?..." that was what she expected me to do.  

I skipped last week’s email to attend Elizabeth’s graduation at Florida Atlantic University. I am thankful they made this possible by having the ceremony in their football stadium. It was a tad hot…but a great day.  

So, what’s next? A few weeks ago, Elizabeth applied for an entry level position, Stadium Services Coordinator, with an NFL team. After two Zoom interviews and being flown out for a full-day in-person interview, I am excited to share that she has accepted a position with the Kansas City Chiefs (two days before graduation) and will starting in late May! This is a dream come true - she loves sports but thought she would end up in baseball, but football is her sport and this is her first step.  

Have a great weekend!

-Colleen