Executive Director Jessica Linder says the process began by surveying Chamber members last summer; asking them things like what challenges is your business facing and what can the chamber do to better assist.
Linder says business keeps getting faster, and the area is seeing new types of industries, and more technology development in at least a decade.
One of the goals laid out in the plan emphasizes catalyzing business growth for the entire region, beyond just Galesburg.
That’s even shown in the Chamber’s new logo that includes the word area for the first time.
“I’ve yet to find a business in this area that can tell me ‘my customers are only in Galesburg and not a step outside of the city limits.'” Lindor tells WGIL. “Really, we know that we’re going to sink or swim as a region and thinking that way is going to be really important as we continue to develop.”
That includes connecting with other chambers and business advocacy groups, and Linder says they’re already seeing that in some collaborations with Monmouth’s chamber.
Another goal is being a connector and convener, be a champion for strong communities and then there’s the aim to be a captivator of talent and leaders.
Linder describes it as assisting recruiting, developing and retaining the next generation of business leaders.
The Chamber shares office space with the Knox County Area Partnership for Economic Development; an organization that she says is pretty well-synced with the Chamber in that goal.
“And, a lot of the work they’re doing in the K-12 programs and really with workforce development is going to beautifully compliment with what we’re doing with young professionals and talent attraction.”
A few other of the goals; developing the next generation of business leaders and advocating on behalf of businesses at the local, state and regional level. The fifth and final goal is a commitment to excellent internal operations.
The Chamber is doubling down on some of their historic priorities while also making room to face uniquely 21st-century problems.
Linder says they didn’t want to continue programs “simply because they always had been done.”
She says they really are in the business of “creating solutions” for their members and the community.
You can learn more about the chamber’s strategic plan at their website.