SAN ANTONIO – The North San Antonio Chamber of Commerce represents more than 900 businesses from every area of the city with a wide range of industries from healthcare and biotechnology to energy and telecommunications and seemingly everything in between.
The North San Antonio Chamber of Commerce now has a new president and CEO: Brett Finley was named to the role this week.
Finley joined KSAT Live for Leading SA on Sunday to talk about the Chamber’s mission, goals and leadership programs.
“The mission of the North San Antonio Chamber of Commerce is to promote economic vitality for our members through free market advocacy, leadership, business development and empowerment,” he said. “At the heart of our chamber’s commitment is its unwavering focus on member engagement. We have placed a strong emphasis on workforce development and leadership initiatives through our renowned programs.”
Finley was drafted just this week and already has goals for his first year.
“This is an opportunity like no other, and I truly believe that my goals must be aligned with the mission of the organization and the needs of its members and the community. We are an advocacy organization first and foremost. We want to be a unified voice for the business community. So we must continue to monitor and address legislative and regulatory issues that affect our members,” he said. “We want to strengthen existing relationships with elected officials and ensure the House’s voice is heard.”
One of the key elements of the Chamber is leadership. Its leadership programs are open to the public.
“The Northern Chamber is really proud of successful leadership programs, the Northern Chamber Leadership Lab and the Innovative Leadership Program,” he said, adding that they have been successful for years. “The sustainability of the Chamber’s success over the years is really due in part to its ability to develop its next chapter of leadership and guide them into this business landscape, providing them with skills, networking opportunities and other various events along the way.”
There is optimism in the business community, but of course, small businesses face several challenges.
“An economic downturn is a time of inflation and it costs more money, especially for, I think our small businesses have been hit the hardest. The cost of doing business has gone up obviously, but also with the shift in consumer behavior to the Max, where, you know, we have consumers who don’t have as much discretionary income to be able to go out there and buy products and goods and services ,’ Finley said.
And it’s not just the obstacle of inflation.
“The Diffusion of Online Shopping. It certainly helped and reflected, I think, in the problems being reduced. I’m also still dealing with some supply chain issues, specifically in the manufacturing realm, which have been addressed, but they could be more ideal. We have a labor shortage. There have been improvements in workforce development, but certainly finding and retaining skilled workers can be a significant challenge, especially in industries such as healthcare, technology and hospitality. So we need to ensure that employees have the skills and training they need for the jobs of the future,” said Finley.
With artificial intelligence at the forefront of people’s minds, integrating these services into the business community can be key.
“I think finally the technology that we hear so much about artificial intelligence has really changed the landscape for business. We live in a digital age. So keeping up with these technological advances and implementing e-commerce solutions can sometimes be challenging for businesses without significant resources. But it will be a challenge. And I also think that goes with technology and innovation in cybersecurity,” Finley said.
Despite the challenges, Finley said San Antonio’s future is bright.
“There is a huge opportunity. And we’ve seen development, obviously, with San Antonio International Airport getting a direct flight to Frankfurt, Germany. This will be launched in May 2024. We have seen their great development. I think this will really put San Antonio on a much bigger global map than ever before. I know what the North San Antonio Chamber is all about, we are willing to partner with government agencies and other community partners,” he said.
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