It has been an honor to represent the Maryland business community for the past five years. I am both humbled and inspired by what we’ve accomplished together, and I’ll forever be grateful for the successes and challenges we’ve experienced along the way.
As I reflect on my time at the Chamber, one of the things I’m most proud of is the creation of the Maryland Chamber Federation. I wanted to create a program to ensure the voice of Maryland’s small businesses were heard. Since 2019, we’ve grown the Federation to include more than 5500 small businesses and 26 chambers and associations. Thank you to my chamber and association colleagues who were fearless in this pursuit and believed in the power of a collective voice in support of free enterprise for all Maryland businesses. As leaders, you showed courage and selflessness.
When COVID hit, we witnessed the power of the Chamber and Federation as a lifeline for the business community. None of us understood the breadth and gravity of the shutdown, and Maryland businesses were struggling for survival. I’m so proud of how quickly our team pivoted to a fully virtual platform to meet the competing needs of our members. I was especially inspired by the government, non-profit and business leaders who jumped into action to share resources and collaborate on safety protocols and continuity processes. It was truly a case study in what Maryland does best, teamwork.
Thank you to Governor Hogan and his cabinet for embracing the business community’s desire to partner to create a stronger more inclusive Maryland where every resident can live, learn, create and succeed. Thank you to our federal delegation and those who were willing to work across the aisle. We can – and will do more together.
To the leaders in education, K-12, our community colleges and four-year institutions, I am eternally grateful. Your willingness to work with the business community made a difference, allowing us to match training and education to real world workforce needs. As we have witnessed, appropriate training = jobs that turn into careers.
Thank you to the Foundation Board leaders who believed in my vision for Teacher Externships in Maryland and gave selflessly of your time to help us accomplish our mission. When I proposed a research and development arm for the Chamber’s policy work, you supported the effort, and we have made great progress on data centers, justice reform discussions and workforce development.
To the Chamber Board, I thank you for embracing change. The evolution has been great. Together we have built a stronger Maryland Chamber of Commerce, capable and poised to successfully lead on the next decade’s challenges.
And, last thank you to my talented team. You were tireless, eminently flexible and dedicated to making a positive difference for our members and every resident of the state of Maryland.
With the outstanding news that Governor Hogan will end the state of emergency as of July 1, 2021, I wish you and yours a healthy, safe and carefree summer. I look forward to our paths crossing again very soon.