JULY 2019
July starts the new fiscal year for the Chamber. We celebrated our board members and committee chairs on June 20 at our annual board installation. Our incoming board chair is Bryan Blackwell, from Molloy Financial Group and Jim Larkin, Crowne Plaza Hotel , will step in as Vice Chair.

We welcome the following new committee Chairs: 

Women in Business: Chair, Jessica Walker, Markham Norton Mosteller Wright & Company, P.A. ; Co-Chair, Kelly Talamo, Stokes Marine, Inc

Leadership NEXT: Co-Chairs Kimberly Wallace, Florida Gulf Coast University  
& Amanda Plummer Soisson, Foundation for Lee County Public Schools

Membership Advocacy: Chair, Phil Stalnaker, B2 Solutions, Co-Chair, Jay Johnson, Bubba’s Roadhouse & Saloon

After a great year as the Chamber board chair, Joe Mitchell, Pool Pro’s Inc. , will now shift into the same role for our Foundation .  

This fiscal year also brings a new 3-year Strategic Plan for the Chamber. The goals for the Chamber include Organizational Excellence, Financial Sustainability and Value Proposition . Our short- and long-term goals have specific strategies and outcomes.

We will continue with our Member Advocacy Committee (MAC), working and educating our membership on business and legislative issues. The committee is currently working on an educational program for early November on the topic of the $15 minimum wage. We do expect this to be a ballot item in the fall of 2020. 

Earlier in June, we announced our 5 finalists for the upcoming APEX Awards. Please join me in congratulating Kathleen O. Berkey ( Becker & Poliakoff ) Kelly L. Fayer ( Kelly L. Fayer, P.A. ), Kerri A. Goldsmith ( HBKS Wealth Advisors ), Julie Koester ( Dragon Horse Ad Agency ) and Karen L. Mosteller (Markham Norton Mosteller Wright & Co ). Join us on Friday, August 16th at the Westin for the 14th Annual APEX Awards , where we will announce this year's recipient. 

The SWFL Alliance of Chambers continues to meet each month, still focused on water quality. We will be collaborating with the News-Press and Naples Daily News on the next “Save Our Water” Summit . We are currently building the content and setting-up the speakers. Save the date - Wednesday, August 21 from 7:30AM-12:30PM. You can find more information and register here.

The Chamber’s Foundation is developing a mentoring program entitled "EXCELerate" and will hold its inaugural event on Thursday, August 22 from 5:30-7:30PM at the Collaboratory. EXCELerate connects ambitious advancing professionals and entrepreneurs with practiced business leaders to enhance and elevate each other's professional and personal development. If you are interested in learning more about being a mentor, mentee, or both, please join us on August 22. RSVP by August 15 to linda@fortmyers.org .

We have opened up the application process for our upcoming Leadership Class . You can learn all about the program here . Class size is limited, so sign-up early!
Guests at Leadership NEXT’s session on Tuesday, July 9 from 5:00 to 7:00PM will take a behind-the-scenes tour of WearTheFund -Apparel that Gives Back.

Special guest speakers are Sam Lewis , owner of WearTheFund , and Jonathan Romine , Program Director of the Southwest Florida Community Sourced Incubator (CSI) for SecondMuse .

Leadership NEXT is a monthly program through the Greater Fort Myers Chamber of Commerce that offers unique educational and networking opportunities for advancing business professionals in Southwest Florida. Leadership NEXT attendees represent a variety of businesses and industries throughout Southwest Florida.

Leadership NEXT’s annual sponsor is the Florida Gulf Coast University Alumni Association.

Leadership NEXT is free to attend for members of the Greater Fort Myers Chamber of Commerce and $10 for future members. Attendees are encouraged to register in advance.
Come out and network at the July WIB event on Wednesday, July 10 and meet Jennifer Galloway from the Gulf Coast Humane Society who will present on how to manage stress in the workplace. Guests will also be invited on a tour of the Gulf Coast Humane Society and visit with all of their furry friendly faces we all enjoy so much! 

Please consider bringing a donation of pet food, towels, etc. You can view their Wish List here.

Date : Wednesday, July 10, 4:00-6:00PM

Cost: $10 Chamber Members; $20 Future Members
Includes one complimentary beverage and light appetizers
Our Not-For-Profit Spotlight for July is the Gulf Coast Humane Society. 

The Women in Business Scholarship Sponsor for July is SWFL Integrative Medicine.

*Handsome dog photo credit: GCHS Alumni, Second Chance Angus
Enjoy light refreshments while networking and be sure to bring plenty of business cards! The "Member of the Month" will be randomly drawn from Chamber members business cards submitted at this event.

Date: Thursday, July 11, 7:30-8:30AM

Cost: FREE

We kindly ask you to register to help us with attendee counts for breakfast.
Learn about some of the non-profit members of the Greater Fort Myers Chamber of Commerce at our July luncheon. This is the inaugural event to focus on our non-profit members.

Our guest speaker will be Samuel Lewis, Creator of WearTheFund who will share about their unique business model that supports the community. WearTheFund is a screen printing and embroidery business that creates items for companies, schools and other organizations. The company prides itself on giving back to charity on every order. The total give-back by WearTheFund, as of July 2, is $95,674.45!

Date: Thursday, July 18, 11:30AM-1:15PM

Location: Pelican Preserve

Cost: $25 for Chamber Members, $35 for Future Chamber Members

Reservations are strongly encouraged as luncheons sell out quickly.

Please keep in mind that refunds and credits are given to cancellations made 72 hours prior to event. 

Arrivals after 12:00PM are not guaranteed seating.
Join the Greater Fort Myers Chamber of Commerce & Lee County Building Industry Association for a night of bowling and networking! 

Date: Thursday, July 25, 5:00-7:00PM

Cost: $15 for Chamber Members & Future Members
Includes one complimentary beverage, bowling, and light appetizers
Name: Chandler Guest

Business Name:   Florida Everblades

Business Location: Hertz Arena 11000 Everblades Pkwy Estero, FL

Years in Business: Entering 22 nd Season.
Previous Types of Employment: Ticket Sales for Florida Gulf Coast University Athletics and Ticket Sales for Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp (Minor League Baseball Team)
Hobbies and Interests: Cheering on my favorite sports teams - the Jacksonville Jaguars, Tampa Bay Lightning, and Atlanta Braves.
Burning Desires: To visit every NFL stadium for a game.
Something Nobody Knows About You: Played the drums in a garage band in middle-school named “Community Pool.”
Keys to Your Success: Understanding that each client is different and personalizing every package to what best fits their needs. 
On Friday, August 16, the Greater Fort Myers Chamber of Commerce and its Women in Business Committee will recognize outstanding leaders in our community at the 14th Annual APEX Awards at the Westin, Cape Coral.

We invite you to donate items for the silent auction and/or purchase an ad in the program book.

We kindly ask that if you are donating a complete basket for the APEX Awards silent auction that the value be a minimum of $250. You may also donate individual items that we will combine into unique packages. Program ads are a great way to honor nominees with personal messages, while also sharing your business with the hundreds of APEX Awards attendees. Ad rates range from $75 (quarter page) to $300 (full page).

Proceeds from the APEX Awards benefit the Women in Business scholarship fund in supporting non-traditional students who demonstrate a financial need.

To donate to our silent auction, please contact Debra DeHaven at 239.332.2930 ext 211, Debra@fortmyers.org.

To advertise in the APEX event program, please contact Linda Onorevole at 239.332.2930, Linda@fortmyers.org for specs and deadlines.
Name: Samuel Lewis

Business Name:   WearTheFund (WTF)

Business Location: 93 Mildred Drive, Suite B. Fort Myers, FL 33901

Years in Business: 7
Previous Types of Employment: Hospitality while in school 
Pets: Stella, a Rottweiler Chow!
Hobbies and Interests: Family, nonprofit work, and the outdoors.
Burning Desires: Travel!
Something Nobody Knows About You: I learned my entire business on YouTube.
Keys to Your Success: Perseverance through purpose.
On Friday, October 18 the Greater Fort Myers Chamber of Commerce Golf Classic takes place at the Fort Myers Country Club. This event sells-out yearly, and we invite you to be a part of the event by purchasing an on-course banner.

For $250, you will get a 3 foot x 6 foot banner (hemmed, with grommets) with your company's logo, which will be hung at one of the 18 available holes. Only 1 banner per hole, guaranteed to get the golfers' attention - no more crowded sea of tee signs to read! And, you get to keep the banner!

Interested? Contact Debra DeHaven at 239.332.2930 ext 211, Debra@fortmyers.org .