A Devotion to Promotion
The minutes of the Orlando Chamber of Commerce meeting from April 12, 1927, are relatively mundane. The gathering at the Angebilt Hotel was attended by 84 people who talked about new memberships, city taxes and promoting a local play called "The Show-Off."
And then there's this: "The meeting adjourned at 1:30 p.m. with the singing of 'Orlando, We"re All in Love With You."
It was a mission statement of sorts for the organization, which began in 1913 as the Orlando Board of Trade and is now known as the Orlando Regional Chamber of Commerce, one of four civic and business groups that make up the Central Florida Partnership. The Orlando area has changed by leaps and bounds over the decades but the chamber has remained a mainstay, led by familiar names like Harry P. Leu, Curtis Stanton and Jacob Stuart. These days its focus is on regional entrepreneurship and connecting businesses across a seven-county area, but the message about The City Beautiful and its environs has basically remained the same for 100 years: "We're the best."
- Barry Glenn
Celebrating 100 Years of Service
It was with much pride and enthusiasm that a message was received on June 10, 2009, from Thomas J. Donohue, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Chamber of Commerce of the United States of America, that the Accrediting Committee had, once again, approved its application and awarded a "Five Star" designation - the highest level of achievement possible, recognizing less than 1% of the 6,936 chambers of commerce in the country. Previously, the Orlando Regional Chamber of Commerce received "Five Star" Accreditation in 2003, and the five-year renewal process will next fall in the year 2014.
As we celebrate our 100th Anniversary, we are reminded of the moral in one of Aesop's fables: You are known by the company you keep. Take a look at some others that have met this significant milestone:
In its Accreditation Application to the United States Chamber of Commerce, the Board of Directors, Volunteers and Staff listed the following Vision and Values Statement for the Orlando Regional Chamber of Commerce.
Serving as a Civic Trustee for the Welfare of the Central Florida Region, the Orlando Regional Chamber of Commerce Champions Economic Prosperity and Quality of Life for All of Our Citizens and is Committed to Making our Region One of the "Top 5 Places" in the United States to Live, Work and Play.
Inclusion - Regional Thinking - Exploration and Discovery - Partnerships - Consensus Building
Developed to guide the work of myregion.org at its inception, these Core Values are now applied to the continuing work of the Orlando Regional Chamber of Commerce and the other Lines of Business of the Central Florida Partnership - myregion.org, BusinessForce and Leadership Orlando.
Long-standing members will remember the Chamber's 'Little Man' who traveled along with staff to promote events and activities during the 1990s. His familiar personage let our members know they were in the right spot to listen, learn and network.
The Orlando Regional Chamber of Commerce, celebrating its Centennial in 2013, has a rich history of "community building" and being the leading "change agent" for our region. Its Vision today is, most likely, much the same as it was when it was established in 1913 as the Orlando Board of Trade.
Some 93 years later, feeling the shift in the "marketplace" the Executive Board of the Board of Governors recognized it was time to move in a new direction . . .move toward a new form of governance - A "New Civic Architecture."
The Central Florida Partnership was created and is designed to anticipate the complexities of global competition; allowing us to meet our growing challenges by turning "ideas to results." It is a place where Regional Leaders convene, set priorities, address our region's toughest problems and identify our greatest opportunities. Much as the founders of our Chamber had envisioned.
Now identified to serve business, civic and community leaders in Brevard, Lake, Orange, Osceola, Polk, Seminole and Volusia Counties - the Central Florida Partnership is a business-led initiative where we collaborate, cooperate and coordinate - solving the problems that matter most to the millions of people who live, work, learn and play in the Central Florida Region.
In a historic vote of confidence, the leadership of the Orlando Regional Chamber of Commerce unanimously agreed to become a Strategic Line of Business of the Central Florida Partnership with a primary focus on Regional Entrepreneurship. Likewise, other former programs of the Chamber were elevated as primary Lines of Business and include: myregion.org (Regional Research and Resolves), Leadership Orlando (Regional Leadership) and BusinessForce (Regional Public Policy Advocacy), each with its own specialty.
Knowing upfront that revolutionizing the 89 year old Chamber to a newly formed Partnership would take time, the Board adopted the philosophy of the Four T's to help remind us how long it really takes to move ideas to results.
2007 Talking, 2008 Transformation , 2009 Transition, 2010 Traction
As we celebrate our 100th Anniversary, the opportunities are limitless and the recognition and reputation that has been gained during the last century by the Orlando Regional Chamber of Commerce, and under this new mantle of leadership at the Central Florida Partnership, we will ensure our continued success for another 100 years.
The Celebration should be more than a remembrance of the Chamber's past accomplishments; it should also celebrate a new vision to inspire leadership support for the future.
It should be a purpose-driven celebration, delivering meaningful results - growing membership, increasing manpower, and maintaining financial strength - while enhancing public awareness and perceptions of the Chamber's role in advancing our community and our region.