Miami Chamber Going Back To Basics With Goals Conference
By Tom Harlan
A year after changing the format of its annual conference to focus on organizational restructuring, the Greater Miami Chamber of Conference is returning to its roots and focusing on goals.
The chamber took a break from setting traditional goals at last year’s conference to discuss overall strategy with members after financial management problems convinced new chamber leaders to redirect the organization for the first time in 20 years.
But the 2005 conference, to be held June 17-19 at the Harbor Beach Marriott Resort and Spa in Fort Lauderdale, is to return to the old goals format.
The conference is to focus on bringing communities from the tri-county area together through workshops on advocacy, international business development, leadership programs, member services and regional business.
The chamber decided to focus on the areas last year as part of the reorganizational plan, and hired vice presidents in membership services, economic development and government advocacy later in the year.
"The 2005 Greater Miami Chamber Goals Conference will be packed with action from the workshops involving members working in the five functional areas of the chamber," said Barry Johnson, executive vice president.
Advocacy workshops are to be split into separate sections to discuss the chamber’s involvement in local, federal and international issues.
International business development workshops are to include initiatives to promote international business through the chamber’s Americas Linkage program, and outreach to multinational companies and trade officials.
Leadership programs are to include setting priorities that improve the area’s arts, education, and business infrastructure to attract targeted industries and increase opportunities for non-profit companies.
Member services offerings are to include discussions on how businesses fit into the South Florida market and ways to attract and renew members.
Regional business workshops are to focus on developing policies and initiatives to increase cooperation between South Florida communities to improve the area’s quality of life for residents and the competitiveness of business.
Chamber officials moved the conference to Fort Lauderdale this year to work toward the regional goal.
"Over the years we have held the conference at Ocean Reef on Key Largo, the Breakers in Palm Beach, at Naples and several locations in Miami-Dade," Mr. Johnson said. "We are truly a regional chamber and our membership in Broward and Palm Beach continues to grow."
Conference highlights include a regional business award luncheon Friday that partners with the Greater Fort Lauderdale and Greater Boca Raton chambers and the South Florida Regional Business Alliance to recognize area businesses.
On Saturday, chamber officials are to debut a new chamber website and wrap up the 2004-05 year by installing new chairman Rosa Sugrañes and present the Bill Colson award and a business tribute to former US senator and Florida governor Bob Graham.
On Sunday morning, the five chamber group chairmen are to report results of the conference workshops and outline goals for the year.
Last year’s conference focused on soul searching and finding ways to improve the chamber, outgoing chairman Allen Harper said.
But this year’s conference will focus on highlighting the individuals and organizations that make South Florida great, he said, and will guide the 98-year old chamber into its second century.
"It’s going to be a terrific weekend," Mr. Harper said. "We’re to prove to world that the chamber is back and surging forward." Details: (305) 577-5489.