On September 24, business and civic leaders from across our region gathered virtually to celebrate the start of the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce’s 138th year.
Our theme, "Rise & Reimagine," explored how we, as a community, are rising to the occasion and reimagining a more inclusive and equitable economic future for our region.
At the Annual Meeting, speakers highlighted the resilience, dedication, and optimism that we share, even as our region goes through big changes, and the value that the Chamber offers to our members and to the community at large.
Acting Chamber CEO Markham McIntyre noted, "As economic, social, and political conditions around the city, region, nation, and globe change dramatically, we are here to support you through it all. I argue that business associations like the Chamber are more valuable now than ever before. We were built to support our members and we are here for you."
The Seattle Metro Chamber is your unapologetic business advocate. We listen to your concerns– and then act to meet those needs.
Rising to the Occasion
Since the pandemic began, we have hosted 3,000 MORE people at our virtual events than we did at our in-person events over the same time period last year – helping even more members hear from business leaders, community partners, members of Congress, federal and state agencies, and local officials about the issues that directly impact their businesses and resources they can use to survive and find new opportunities.
This summer, in partnership with our Business Health Trust, OneRedmond, and Seattle Southside Chamber, we distributed over 2.3 million masks and 30,000 bottles of hand sanitizer to businesses across King County, right when it was hardest to get those supplies, so that they could keep employees and customers safe.
We are working to distribute $580,000 from the federal CARES Act in small business grants to King County businesses so that they can cover COVID-related expenses and keep their doors open.
Our Housing Connector program, which launched last October, and has worked directly with landlords and property owners to place over 1,050 people experiencing homelessness into stable housing – and raised over half a million dollars for emergency rent relief to help people stay in their homes even during the pandemic.
As the coronavirus spread in our region, the advocacy action quickly shifted to Congress, we nimbly adjusted our work so that we could clearly convey what our members needed to our Congressional delegation. We pushed hard for expanding unemployment benefits, more federal funds to help stabilize businesses, and more technical assistance to help small businesses access those federal funds. We also teamed up with other business organizations through the region and the state to present a clear, united message on what our region’s business community needed at the federal level. It was great to experience all those organizations setting aside egos and territories to quickly pull together a united message.
As the regional chamber, we want our whole region to grow and thrive. Our footprint extends from Everett to Tacoma, the Kitsap Peninsula to the foothills of the Cascades. And we want to boost every community within that footprint.
Right now, in 2020 and beyond, the most effective way for us to advocate for businesses, for us to help build a more competitive, equitable, and resilient economy, for us to create a brighter future for our region, is for the Chamber to be a pro-business, antiracist organization and to be vocal about it.
We invite you to join us in this evolution of the business community and the Chamber. It will be difficult and it will be uncomfortable, but we believe it will also be a leap forward in regional leadership and best equip us to address the local, national, and global crises that we face.
Highlights of the event included:
- Welcome remarks from Markham McIntyre, Executive Vice President of the Seattle Metro Chamber
- An inspiring performance by Cheryse McLeod Lewis of Premier Vocal Entertainment
- A keynote conversation with Edouardo Jordan, chef and owner of the renowned Salare Restaurant, JuneBaby, and Lucinda Grain Bar, and our Chamber Board Chair Diana Birkett Rakow. Chef Jordan shared his origin story, how it feels to achieve his dreams, the opportunities coming out of this moment, and how we can we rise and reimagine together.
Missed it? You can watch the entire virtual 138th Annual Meeting online.
You can find a Twitter stream of our conference highlights here.
Thank you to our 138th Annual Meeting sponsors for helping to make the event such a success!
Thanks to our presenting sponsor:
Thanks to our featured sponsors:
Thanks to our event sponsors: