JANUARY 24, 2017 | St. Petersburg, FL – The St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce® will celebrate their 118th Annual Meeting presented by the Tampa Bay Rowdies tonight at the Mahaffey Theater. Over 1,200 members are expected to attend the annual event, with a short business meeting followed by a reception.
“I am so pleased with our progress this year”, announced outgoing 2016 Chairman William “Greg” Holden. “We asked our membership to “think big” about our efforts this past year as a way to capture the momentum felt throughout our city”, he added.
The Chamber responded with many achievements in 2016 focused on the economic growth of the community and guided by the “Grow Smarter” strategic plan created over two years ago.
Highlights of 2016 to be discussed at the annual gathering include:
• The St. Petersburg Area Economic Development Corporation – a new private/public partnership launched in 2016 focused on generating job growth of existing business while promoting the St. Petersburg area to those able to create jobs for our city.
• The Community Business Development Initiative – new program powered by a $300,000 grant from the Foundation for a Healthy St. Petersburg designed to inspire and empower residents located in St. Petersburg’s South CRA with education, training, tools and financial resources.
• “Small Business Week” – a new, weeklong celebration created to promote, connect and celebrate the majority of our members – the local small businesses that have made St. Pete the unique destination for all entrepreneurs.
• “Think Outside the ‘Burg” – an opportunity for membership to travel together to experience and learn how other communities approach growth and development. This year, 56 members traveled to Raleigh/Durham, NC to focus on entrepreneur ecosystems, university partnerships and mixed-use/stadium developments.
The annual meeting also serves to announce the 2017 Officers and Governing Board. The Chamber nominating committee will announce the following appointments:
• 2017 Board Chairman – Jim Donatelli, Regions Bank
• Incoming Chair – Anne Drake McMullen, Doyle Wealth Management
• Past Chair – W. Gregory Holden, Manning and Napier Advisors, Inc.
• Vice Chair, Secretary/Treasurer – William “Bill” Kent, George F. Young, Inc.
• Vice Chair, Governance – Dr. Sophia Wiesnewska, USF St. Petersburg
• Vice Chair, Membership – Juliet Kyes, ActionCOACH Tampa Bay
• Vice Chair, Advocacy – Bob Warchola, Shumaker, Loop & Kendrick, LLP
• Economic Development Corporation, Mike Vivio, Valpak
• Marketing & Communications, Paul Carder
• General Counsel, James Dickson, Adams and Reese LLP
Additionally, the Chamber will announce two new executive committee positions created to reflect the reaffirmation of the Chambers updated strategic plan. These positions include:
• Vice Chair, Diversity and Inclusion – Ronnell Montgomery, James B. Sanderlin Neighborhood Family Center
• Vice Chair, Grow Smarter – Ryan Griffin, Johnson Pope Bokor Ruppel & Burns, LLP
A complete list of the entire 2017 Board of Governors can be found here.
“I’m honored and humbled with the opportunity to lead our Chamber in 2017”, said Jim Donatelli, the new 2017 Chamber Chair. He adds, “This Chamber has done of great job of connecting many caring people – there are so many organizations, efforts and people contributing to our city’s economic renaissance – and the Chamber’s deliberate focus on inclusion and equity becomes a critical element for our quest to be the destination of choice for those growing our economy.”
The annual meeting will offer attendees a sneak-peak of the Chamber’s new visual identity developed through an unconventional competition open to all St. Pete creative conducted towards the end of 2016.
“The creative talent is St. Pete is obviously very deep and we received over 200 submissions for our new logo”, offered Chris Steinocher, President & CEO of the Chamber. He adds, “I’m very appreciative of the marketing committee and those who participated in this effort. We’ve learned a lot together – and challenged ourselves to reflect the realities related to the dated perceptions of what exactly a chamber of commerce is and does. I’ve been told a number of times that this chamber ‘feels different’ and our new look certainly helps reinforce our ‘not business as usual’ approach.”
More information on the Chamber’s annual meeting, the annual report, strategic plan and the results of the logo contest will be released following the meeting and found online at stpete.com.
About the St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce®
The St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce®, originally founded in 1899, now serves over 1,200 member businesses. Finding ways to create and enhance opportunities to do business in St. Petersburg, the Chamber works to improve the local economic climate and to build a thriving business environment. The Chamber is the voice of local business in St. Petersburg, providing leadership on important business and community issues. Learn more at stpete.com.