Checking-in with you all tonight with my second “Quick Note”: a brief, informal update on the work of the chamber over the past few weeks.
Quickly…Our team is constantly juggling many issues and priorities, but my focus for the past two weeks has centered around three main topics:
I’ll share a bit more on those things...
I was glad to see our Lane County Commissioners, with the leadership of our County Administrator Steve Mokrohisky, have a productive and reasonable conversation this week about how our community should approach the increase in COVID cases in our county. When faced with the option of requesting from the Governor’s office that Lane County go back to “Phase One” they opted not to take that step, but to take a more nuanced, data driven approach.
We have been advocating that this be the approach as the data is showing our case increase is primarily coming from social gatherings (of all ages) not from restaurants and retail establishments which were hit hard by the phased regulations this Spring. Unfortunately, that does not mean we are out of the woods as the Governor’s office can add our county to the statewide watch list and mandate that we return to phase one if our cases continue to increase. We are working at the state level to advocate for a nuanced approach as well. If we are forced to scale back business operations and community activities, those regulations need to be driven by the data and information we now know about the virus- which is much more robust than what we knew this past Spring. The moral of the story is, if we want to keep people safe and businesses open, we need to take this seriously, scale back social gatherings and not let this virus get out of hand in our county.
Yesterday in my regular check-in with Sarah Medary, the Eugene City Manager, we had a good discussion about our regional economic development strategy and the importance of a tactical plan to not only help us recover from the economic impacts of COVID but to proactively put our community on a path to improve our business climate and individual prosperity. While Sarah is still relatively new in her position in an official capacity, she is not new to this community and I can confidently say that I believe she gets it. Strong businesses and good paying jobs is the way to build ourselves long-term out of the immediate issues facing our community like homelessness and our housing shortage. Prioritizing economic development is how we “move up stream”, if you will, and I am hopeful that we are making significant strides in our goal to focus the community on this work. We have a lot of work ahead of us but it’s worth it and we’re up for it. More to come on that front soon.
Lastly, in conversations with executives over the past few years I have heard over and over again that one challenge they face in their business is finding the time and budget to train mid-level and executive level employees to be better managers and company leaders. I am excited to announce that at this year’s Economic Summit, among an agenda that will highlight the state of our local economy , we will be rolling out a new “executive leadership program” that will provide affordable, scalable management and leadership training for businesses across our community. We will be using a digital platform with hundreds of leadership training modules that will be paired with facilitated discussions on how to use the tools in real-life situations. Over the past two months we have been piloting the program with 14 local CEO’s and executives and have benefitted greatly from their feedback and input on the program. More to come in the next few weeks, but I am really excited about this program and the possibility it has to improve leadership capacity across our community.
If you haven’t yet, please consider registering for our virtual Economic Summit on October 27th. Our speakers and agenda will be announced next week.
That is plenty for this Friday evening. Enjoy your weekend and, as always, please do not hesitate to reach out if there is anything we can do for you or your business!
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Brittany Quick -Warner
President & CEO, Eugene Area Chamber of Commerce