On the occasion of this day set aside the honor the life of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, the Charles County Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce the formation of the new Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee.
The Chamber’s 2021 Board Chair, John Chappelle, explains the timing of the new initiative. “The Charles County Chamber has served our business community since 1956. There’s no better time than the present to really focus the Chamber’s efforts on expanding services to minority-owned businesses.”
Chappelle goes on to say that the Chamber’s 2020-2025 Strategic Plan sets forth as one of the organization’s core objectives a commitment to create a more diverse Board of Directors and membership. He points to the newly-installed Board as an example of how the Chamber is moving forward in this effort.
Chamber President and CEO, Bonnie Grady, references a report by the Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives which states that cities and towns that embrace diversity thrive economically. Grady notes that, “The mission of every chamber is to promote a sound economic environment where all businesses can prosper. Our new Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Committee will provide greater access to businesses that have not typically been part of the Chamber and will enable research that will guide programming and services in the future.”
The initial goals of the Chamber’s DEI Committee will be to expand outreach to minority-owned business to increase membership, provide targeted training and resources to ensure access to opportunities for historically marginalized businesses, and to increase diversity within the Chamber’s leadership. The Committee will be chaired by Tracie Daniels, President of Synergy Consulting. “The DEI Committee is necessary to ensure representation, equity and inclusion in how the Chamber can support its members and the community at-large,” says Daniels.
Two other notable influencers in the County have agreed to serve on the committee: Alvin Stewart who serves as President of Rebuilding Together Charles County, and Sybol Anderson, Executive Director of the Equity and Inclusion Diversity Office at CSM. An invitation to participate will go out the Chamber’s general membership in the near future.
According to Daniels, “Charles County represents the changing demographics of America, and the Chamber represents the strength of our County’s economic heartbeat: small businesses.”