On behalf of the staff and board of directors of the Greater Fort Myers Chamber of Commerce, we wish you all a very happy and prosperous 2021. I know that many of us are happy to see the year 2020 in the rearview mirror and are optimistic about the new year ahead of us, looking forward to what opportunities it may present us for both personal and business growth. The Chamber is here to help you with both.

There is no better time than the start of 2021 to get involved and be a part of the many opportunities that the GFMCC offers members to learn and meet fellow members. Here is a brief recap of the committees and programs that you, your co-workers, and peers can and should be a part of. This is one of many benefits Chamber membership offers you.

Leadership Next: a group of advancing professionals representing a variety of businesses and industries throughout Southwest Florida who are actively pursuing opportunities to develop new knowledge and skills, establish working relationships with colleagues, and engage in valuable programs and discussions to further enhance their careers. The Leadership NEXT Committee hosts events on the second Tuesday of each month from 5:00PM-7:00PM. The Committee meets monthly for planning on the fourth Tuesday of the month at 11:00AM (currently via Zoom).

Women In Business: the principle of this group is to focus on career, networking, and our community. Women in Business events take place the first Wednesday of every month from 4PM-6PM. The Women in Business Committee meets for monthly for planning on the third Wednesday from 4:00-5:15PM (currently via Zoom). In addition to monthly events the Women in Business Committee presents the annual APEX Awards, recognizing exceptional women in the community.

Chamber Ambassadors: help to ensure members are satisfied and educate new members on how to get the most out of their memberships. The committee meets on the first Wednesday of each month at 8:30AM (currently via Zoom). Ambassadors also attend ribbon cuttings.

Member Advocacy Committee: acts as a voice for business on legislative, community and economic development issues within Greater Fort Myers through leadership and education. The committee meets monthly on the first Thursday at 8:30AM (currently via Zoom).

Chamber Equity Committee: began in 2020 and is working to educate and create a dialogue about diversity in our community and its role in today’s workplace. Meetings are the first Friday of the month at 8:00am. (currently via Zoom.)

Chamber Awards Committee: will plan a new event – the Chamber Awards, being held in June 2021. The committee will meet monthly and then weekly for the 3 weeks prior to the event. The date and venue will be finalized shortly.

Additionally, there are two important special event committees focused on networking and FUN! The Golf and Cornhole Committees. Both of these events help to raise funds for the Chamber and offer excellent and enjoyable opportunities to meet other members and have some fun at the same time.

I encourage you to get involved with your chamber and one or more of these opportunities in 2021. Make the most of your Chamber membership and share these opportunities with your co-workers and peers. If you cannot commit to serving on a committee, the Chamber always needs volunteers for our big events. If you are interested in being on a committee or volunteering, please email Linda or call 239.332.2930.

I look forward to meeting and working with each of you in the new year and thank you for being a member of the GFMCC.

-Jim Larkin

Chair, Board of Directors
General Manager, Crowne Plaza at Bell Tower
Tuesday, January 12, Wednesday, January 13, Thursday, January 14, 5:30PM-8:00PM

The Greater Fort Myers Chamber of Commerce is sponsoring the Florida Institute for Political Leadership (FIPL) This non-partisan program was created by the Florida Chamber of Commerce to recruit and provide campaign training to candidates and elected officials across the State of Florida. The training will provide a briefing on emerging local and state issues, teach attendees what local opportunities are available for appointed or elected positions, provide guidance on how to prepare to run for office in the future, and provide training on how to run winning campaigns.
Thursday, January 21, 12:00PM

The School District of Lee County (SDLC) is developing/implementing a new proximity-based student assignment plan for elementary schools starting for the 2022-23 school year. Adam Molloy, Coordinator of Community Engagement for the School District of Lee County, will share how the SDLC and Davis Demographics used community data to organize elementary schools and students into new attendance boundaries (smaller zones, reduce number of choices). The new proximity plan will have the ability to both improve transportation efficiency and address levels of diversity. Free event. Register online to receive login credentials.
Tuesday, January 26, 9:00AM-4:00PM
Fort Myers Chamber of Commerce
(2310 Edwards Drive, Fort Myers, FL 33901)

Blood donations with Lee Health Blood Center remain in their four acute care hospitals—Cape Coral Hospital, Gulf Coast Medical Center, HealthPark Medical Center and Lee Memorial Hospital. Blood also benefits patients at their specialty hospitals — Golisano Children's Hospital of Southwest Florida, the Rehabilitation Hospital, Regional Cancer Center and Lee Health Coconut Point. All donors receive a limited-edition t-shirt and wellness check-up. For more information or to schedule an appointment call 239-343-2333.
Wednesday, February 3, 4:00PM-6:00PM
Millennial Brewing* (1811 Royal Palm Ave, Fort Myers 33901)

This event raises funds for Women in Business scholarships awarded annually to non-traditional students at Florida SouthWestern State College, Florida Gulf Coast University, and Hodges University. Attendees will have the opportunity to gather indoors and outdoors, and purchase tickets to bid for prizes. This year's prizes include desserts*, wines/wine-related items, and spirits! $10 for Chamber members; $20 for future members. This event will be held indoors and outdoors to allow for physical distancing.
Wednesday, February 10, 11:30AM-1:00PM
Crowne Plaza at Bell Tower* (13051 Bell Tower Dr, Fort Myers)

A panel on business development in Lee County with John Talmage from Lee County Economic Development and Todd Raines from NFI Masks.

$25 for members; $35 for future members. Limited seating available. Classroom seating (1 person per table). Masks required in public areas of the hotel.
Hero Song helps active military, veterans and first responders with PTSD, depression, and other service-related illnesses by providing a therapeutic way in which to express emotions and address difficult subjects through music. Participants are provided the opportunity to collaborate with professional musicians, engineers, songwriters, and producers to create and record their own music at no cost to them, and offered vocational musical opportunities that include owning the rights to their original songs.  

The multiple award-winning band, Blackbird Anthem, fronted by decorated combat veteran Adam C. Martin, brings their southern rock to the Ranch Concert Hall and Saloon on Saturday, January 9th in a concert to benefit Hero Song. Veteran and former police officer Ray Cerbone and Navy veteran, Matt Chadwick will also perform at the event. Martin, Cerbone and Chadwick are all alumna of the Hero Song program. Doors open at 7:00 p.m. for the 8:00 p.m. show, hosted by Big Mama from 103.9 FM. General admission is $20 at the door; $30 for special reserved seating with bar access. The concert is free for all veterans, active military and first responders to attend (ID required). Online advanced tickets are $25 and can be reserved here
*The Chamber reserves the right to reschedule these in-person events based on COVID-19 data.