Last month, we convened our leaders—the Greater Phoenix Chamber (the Chamber) Board of Directors, the Greater Phoenix Chamber Foundation (the Foundation) Board of Directors, and members of our Valley Young Professional (VYP) Board—for our annual Board Retreat.

The Board Retreat is a dedicated day to review our accomplishments, discuss upcoming initiatives and programs, explore how we can serve the business community in the upcoming year, and take care of core Chamber business.

A fundamental component of our Chamber, and of the value that we provide to members, is our Public Affairs program. At our annual Board Retreat, our Public Affairs team presents proposed guiding principles, which serve as our template for which policies and legislation the Chamber will support and oppose in the upcoming year, for board approval. These principles are based on the recommendations of issue-specific committees comprised of Chamber members, which meet monthly to review policy. After thorough discussion and vetting, our Board passed this year’s guiding principles, which will be published in our Public Policy Guide that will be released to members this month.  A big “Thank You” to our Public Affairs Committee Chairman, Jaime Molera, our numerous policy committee chairs, and the Chamber policy team for the countless hours spent developing this year’s agenda.

In addition to renewing our guiding principles, we had a robust conversation about the policy challenges and key initiatives that we are anticipating during the upcoming legislative session. During session, our Public Policy Guide will direct us as we advocate for pro-business, pro-Arizona policies for your business.

During this year’s retreat, which took place at Chase Field, we dedicated time to discuss our region’s critical need for robust talent development pipelines and ways that business and industry leaders can work collaboratively with education providers to ensure that all individuals are prepared for college and/or career.

As a part of this ongoing conversation, we hosted Chad Gestson, Superintendent of the Phoenix Union High School District (PUHSD), who discussed the district’s innovative efforts to transform Arizona’s education models and prepare all students for college or career. As a key partner, our Foundation is working with PUHSD to ask industry leaders to lean into new education models designed to connect students to new career pathways and educational opportunities.

Three years ago, the Foundation began convening industry and education through our industry-led workforce collaboratives. As we scale our workforce development efforts and explore broadening our reach into new industries, we are continually seeking community input and industry support to ensure that our efforts truly contribute to a resolution to the workforce shortages impacting our community.

But, our workforce development efforts are just one piece of how we are evolving and innovating to support the expansion of existing businesses.

Our team will continue to launch programs that will help businesses. One key program we are focusing on is a new Diversity and Inclusion program. We hosted Megan Trzcinski from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the head of our Chamber’s diversity committee, Frank Reid, to have an open dialogue with our board members about the value and necessity of workplace diversity and inclusion programs. My team is working to launch a Diversity and Inclusion program that is thoroughly vetted by key stakeholders and experts, so your business has the tools to support your employees by providing an inclusive and open workspace.

In 2020, we look forward to steadfastly serving you, our members, by moving our region forward through our collaborative support of effort that promotes economic prosperity and strong communities.

Posted by Danny Imes