A message from our 2021-2022 Board of Directors Chairman, Luanne Gutermuth, LSG Solutions LLC
As I embark upon my tenure as the Chairman of the 2021-2022 Board of Directors, I am struck by the power our organization brings to the Northern Virginia business community. A power that stems from our Chamber’s government relations work, as it advocates for business interests, and from our members who work together to advance our region. We are the largest Chamber in the Greater Washington D.C. Metropolitan region and, in my opinion at least, the most progressively supportive. Our Chamber cares deeply about the impact of its actions, not just on the businesses it serves, but also on the community at large.
Our CEO, Julie Coons, often describes our Chamber as a “community organization.” It’s no surprise, then, that the new strategic plan focuses on three critical pillars that undergird the success of our greater community:
1. Regional Leadership: developing solutions that address issues across county and state lines. We may cover a lot of ground physically, but at heart, our region is a tightly woven community that reaches well beyond lines drawn by rivers and map boundaries. Our Chamber knows this interconnectivity is our source of strength and proactively seeks to advance the region’s shared goals.
2. Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI): promoting systemic change to create equitable access to opportunity. If the past year has taught us anything, it is that there is still much work to be done on the DEI front. Our Chamber is committed to DEI action. It is imperative that we continue to promote diverse growth, which is crucial to the future prosperity of our region as a whole.
3. Workforce: attracting talent and sought-after skillsets needed by regional employers. Innovative leaders from academia and business will collaborate on our Chamber’s results-focused workforce programs. Our Chamber will continue to play a pivotal role in addressing demand by bringing together organizations and the workers needed to succeed.
This past year clearly demonstrated the indispensable role that our businesses play in the overall health and success of our greater community. As we emerge from crisis mode and shift our focus from the immediate to the future, it is a great time to take stock of lessons learned and where we are headed. We have an opportunity to not only come back, but also build back, in a way that addresses workforce challenges and regional inequalities that existed long before COVID-19. I, along with our fantastic officer team—Vice Chairman Matt McQueen, Secretary Deb Gandy, Treasurer Susan Moser, General Counsel Judith Kassel and Immediate Past Chairman Kathryn Falk, and the incredible leaders that make up our Executive Committee—are committed to being of service to our community by finding new ways to continue to deliver value to our members and engage with new stakeholders.
Our mission is always sustainable business progress; therefore, our focus as we move forward is clear: to promote regionalism, foster equity, and grow our talent base. Knowing our Chamber, and its incomparable leadership and staff, I have no doubt in their ability to create and implement solutions that will support our mission. I am very optimistic about our future.
I want to take this opportunity to thank Kathryn Falk. She has been a truly amazing leader for the Chamber through what has been an incredibly challenging year. Kathryn, thank you for your strong, positive leadership, your vision, and your friendship.
And finally, thank you - our Chamber members. I know you are part of the Northern Virginia Chamber of Commerce because you believe in the value and importance of our business community. Together, we will continue to make a significant impact on the entire region.
I believe it is the work of boards to always strive to leave their organization even better than they found it. I deeply appreciate your trust in me and it is my great honor to serve as your Board Chairman.