As 2018 kicks off, the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce is excited to celebrate the city’s rich history and 300th anniversary, while also designing the framework for San Antonio’s future. To that end, the Chamber’s new Chairman of the Board Shaun Kennedy, San Antonio regional chairman of Texas Capital Bank, has wasted no time laying out his plans for the Chamber, which will result in growth and development that generates jobs and economic prosperity for our community.
In his speech at the Chamber’s gala in December, Kennedy presented his theme for the upcoming year – transformational collaboration. During 2018, the Chamber will work in concert with several key organizations, including the San Antonio Economic Development Foundation, the City of San Antonio and Bexar County, other chambers, higher and public education, military, and many others, to ensure all organizations are working together to effectively move San Antonio forward into our next 300 years.
In addition, each year, the Chamber’s incoming chairman introduces initiatives that he or she would like to accomplish during the following year. Kennedy’s priorities focus on economic development, education and workforce development, military affairs, cybersecurity, and public policy.
In an effort to advocate and promote San Antonio’s leading industries on the global stage, the Chamber will continue to focus on community priorities, work closely with the San Antonio Economic Development Foundation as they identify new opportunities, and implement recommendations from the Chamber’s Good to Great to Global (G3) initiative. G3 was developed in 2016 to provide specific direction on community initiatives, investments, and alliances that will establish San Antonio as globally competitive in three industry sectors: cybersecurity, biomedical and health care, and cultural preservation and celebration.
Since our business community cannot thrive without a solid educational pipeline, there will be a strong focus on education and workforce development. During 2017, the Chamber launched its MentorSA program to encourage members of the business community to meet the city’s demand for professionals to mentor young people, college students, young professionals, and veterans to establish and cultivate the next generation of leaders.
The Chamber will continue to promote and further develop the MentorSA program. In addition, because every community needs skilled labor, there will be an expanded focus on skilled trade and certification programs, in addition to post-secondary education and degree programs, to ensure there is a connection between education and real-world needs. Finally, one of Kennedy’s personal initiatives will be to bring attention to hiring individuals with special needs or unique capabilities.
Also in the plans for the upcoming year, the Chamber will re-establish its military liaison program to promote the important partnership between business and military leaders in supporting initiatives that assist military service members transitioning into the civilian workforce, while also encouraging the business community to hire military spouses.
In 2015, the Chamber launched CyberSecurity San Antonio, a public-private partnership with the City and County, to accelerate the growth and global reputation of the cybersecurity sector. During 2018, CyberSecurity San Antonio will continue to focus on growth and development of new security companies in our community and create an advisory board to bring together all of the assets and organizations in the cyber industry for greater impact. The Chamber will also take a leadership role in supporting the City’s initiative to develop an international market engagement strategy to increase cyber investment, collaboration, and connectivity globally.
The cornerstone of the San Antonio Chamber continues to be advocacy, and the Chamber remains the leading resource in policy development and community engagement, advocating for local, state and federal policies that support economic growth in San Antonio. This year, the Chamber will establish a new committee, the Legislative Advisory Committee, to provide guidance and strategic direction to the Chamber and our community in achieving legislative and public policy goals.
No doubt, 2018 will be a busy and productive year for the Chamber team and its 1,200 volunteers who work tirelessly to effect positive change in San Antonio. At the Chamber, 2018 is the year of transformational collaboration, and the team believes it is this collective effort that will create the energy and the momentum to move us forward into our next 300 years.