Aloha Chamber members:
Reflecting back on 2016, it certainly was an exciting and challenging year. Throughout our work on current and new initiatives, facing controversial issues that have polarized our community, and encountering unforeseen situations or changes, such as the political environment or the loss of loved ones, including members, one thing has remained constant – how grateful we are to have you as part of our Chamber Ohana.
It certainly was a busy year…we kicked off the year with our 3rd Annual Chamber Week and Military Partnership Conference in January, followed by our annual Hawaii on the Hill in Washington D.C. in June, which attracted the biggest turnout ever; our Annual Membership Luncheon in July, featuring AEG Worldwide President & CEO, Dan Beckerman; our 23rd Employment Law Seminar in August; Manufacturing Week tours, Small Biz Academy and Business on the Green Golf Tournament with ALSCO in October; FocusOn seminar series, Business After Hours mixers and Young Professionals activities throughout the year; and many more events.
New initiatives included establishing strategic partnerships with the UH System and various sectors in our state to work on a talent pipeline plan that addresses our future workforce, with Kapiolani Community College on a soft skills program for employers and the Hawaii Food Manufacturing Association to strengthen that industry. For the first time, the Chamber participated in FOODEX in Japan to showcase Hawaii manufacturers and supported local fashion designers for HONOLULU Fashion Week. We also continue to partner on many initiatives with INNOVATE Hawaii and Hawaii Energy, as well as our Neighbor Island Chambers. The Military Affairs Council also introduced new initiatives to support the military industry in Hawaii, including the MAC Fellowship program and a Military Spouse Appreciation reception.
With a new membership team ensuring that our members’ investment in the Chamber is fulfilled and reaching out to prospects to join the Chamber, we are building a stronger voice to advocate for business in Hawaii.
Contributing to this growth is the Young Professionals program, which has nearly doubled its membership over the last year or so. It’s been exciting to see the energy and participation of our YPs in our community.
On the proactive legislative front, we introduced a business package, and with the support of the Legislature, the Administration and our Alliance, including Neighbor Island Chambers, many of these bills passed and were signed into law, including bills to support our Manufacturing in Hawaii initiative and the innovation community. And, with appreciation to the Legislature, we were able to stop many bills that would have negatively impacted business.
As we continue our mantra of GRIT, GROWTH and GREATER GOOD in 2017, we humbly ask you to continue joining us in our effort to grow our economy and improve the quality of life for the people of Hawaii so that, together, we can make a positive difference in our state.
Happy New Year!
Laulima & mahalo,
President & CEO