Goals for the new year: Be more present

Blink. It’s 2019. Did 2018 really even happen?

It did, but, wow, did it go by in a flash. I’m not one for setting New Year’s resolutions. I try to do a little better every day, and that’s what I’ll do again this year. I also set goals throughout the year, as not everything I want to achieve happens on a 12-month cycle.

I would, however, like to spend more time “in the moment” in 2019. Maybe time won’t seem to pass by so quickly then, and my time should be more meaningful as I spend more time in the present.

I may not set much for personal New Year’s resolutions, but we do set goals for the Chamber each year. We expect 2019 to be a relatively big year for us. With the addition of a sixth staff member to our team (to be announced soon), we expect to be able to move many items on our, “someday” list to our, “actively engaging in this” list.

Our focus for 2019 is not to abandon what we are already doing, but to grow our pillars of work. The Chamber’s work falls into five pillars: Advocacy, Economic Development, Education, Savings, and Exposure. We will focus on maintaining the work in Savings and Exposure, but expanding our work in Advocacy, Economic Development and Education.

In the Advocacy area, we would like to increase the roundtable opportunities we have for our members to meet with elected representatives at all levels. Those small-group dialogues are valuable ways to maintain communication between businesses and legislators. We also want to incorporate more information about what we are doing through our advocacy work into our Good Morning and Good Mid-Day Alpena events. We recognize a need exists for us to share more often about the work we do regarding advocacy, so the value is known. If we aren’t telling people about the work we do in this area, chances are, the value will be missed by most unless they are personally involved. We also want to promote better cooperation and collaboration between government and business. A healthy relationship between business and government is important for success.

Regarding Education, we want to bring more opportunities to our members — and the community — in 2019. We will focus on providing educational opportunities on the topics of customer service, social media, sales, time management, advertising and marketing, conflict resolution, leadership versus management, leadership, various human resource topics, and team-building. Those are topics that were identified through a survey we conducted with our members.

We also want to explore partnerships, as appropriate, to offer those opportunities, as well as include more networking time when we do host events. We are focusing on education this year as we know there is a high value in increased education. When we learn, we grow, and we continue to move forward.

In the area of Economic Development, we plan to create a value statement of what economic development means to our membership (crazy that we haven’t developed that, yet, I know), expand our Young and Successful video series (videos can be viewed on our website or our Facebook page), and provide more support for our economic development staff. Economic Development is an important part of what we do. It is how we keep our community healthy and vibrant. We must maintain and grow our already-robust economic development program, while using care not to overtax our economic development staff and burn them out.

As you can see, we have an aggressive agenda laid out for the year.

We are confident that we will be able to keep the pace to achieve these goals, adding more value to our membership and, therefore, the community. The support we experience from the community and business community is incredible. It is what keeps us plugging along, going after our goals and making a difference. We will enjoy 2019 as we learn and grow and achieve, and hope you are enjoying it, learning, and achieving right along with us.

Jackie Krawczak is president/CEO of the Alpena Area Chamber of Commerce. Her column runs biweekly on Thursdays. Follow Jackie on Twitter @jkrawczak.