Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Chairman's Message: The Destin Chamber - 50 years STRONG!

Jonathan Ochs - Trustmark National Bank
“Unity is strength... when there is teamwork and collaboration, wonderful things can be achieved”. - Mattie Stepanek
Sincere Thanks
It is my honor to serve you this year as Chairman. What a time to serve, in the 50th year of our existence! That type of milestone is not achieved without countless leaders giving of themselves for the good of the community. Thanks are deserved by many, so wehumbly thank those who helped make 50 years possible. Also, to our outgoing Chairman Ken Wampler, our board of directors and our truly dynamic staff led by Shane Moody, your 2015 contributions were significant and praiseworthy. Thank you!
Unity vs. Independence
Are we unified? That might seem like a strange question in this forum, but bear with me. Perhaps many of us started off 2016 by crafting goals for the year…. things that we’d like to achieve….results we would like to realize.  It may or may not have occurred to us at the time that, in order to achieve those goals, we would need the assistance of other people.
We live in a culture of independence and isolation, where true relationship and collaboration are often devalued. Today’s society roots for individuals over teams, lacks concern for the needs of others and prioritizes individual success over the group’s success. Culture teaches us lessons that are counter to a spirit of collaboration.  I’d like to suggest to you that we all have fallen prey to this ‘me-centered’ approach at times and that we need to be purposeful in resisting this cultural norm for the sake of our families, our businesses and our community at large.  
The Destin Chamber is intent on being a positive voice for our area by accomplishing our mission - “advocating for business…strengthening our community.” Without unity and collaboration, we all suffer. The opposite is also true. As we work together, ‘wonderful things can be achieved.’ 
Advocating for Business
In 2016, the Destin Chamber will continue in our strong history of collaboration towards making the greater Destin area the best possible place to live, work and play!  
  • We’ll continue to work alongside the City, County, TDC, EDC and other chambers of commerce to do our part in fostering a community of collaboration.  
  • We’ll support pro-business initiatives and encourage managed growth/quality of life to keep Destin a family-friendly destination.
  • We’ll support the Destin Harbor and recognize its importance in our legacy, community and economy. We are in favor of prudent, quality development in the Harbor and in creating a pedestrian friendly environment for families to enjoy.
  • We’ll maintain our strong support for our military via our Military Affairs Council.
  • Our governmental efforts are not only focused within the city; we will monitor legislation at the state and federal levels of government and take needed positions.
  • Our community education and leadership program, Destin Forward, will see another group of local professionals become civic minded leaders this year, along with raising support for the local “Food for Thought” charity feeding initiative.

Events, Networking and Tourism
The Chamber is committed to providing and partnering in events that create environments for strong business networking, such as:
  • Leaders in Business Lunches (2nd Tuesday of each month)
  • Business After Hours (4th Thursday of most months)
  • Multi-Chamber Business Expo (3/15/16)
  • Tax Relief Golf Tournament (4/21/16)
  • Women’s Symposium with the Walton Area Chamber (April 2016)
  • 50th Anniversary Event (September 2016)
  • 4th Annual Bourbon at the Bay (October 2016)
  • Holiday Party
Part of our focus is to put on and promote, with the help of others, including the TDC, local events to draw even more interest in our area for tourism during the shoulder seasons.  
  • Bayou, Bay and Beach 5K, 10K and Half Marathon (1/23/16)
  • Paddle at the Porch - The Destin SUP Cup (8/20/16)

Your Role
What are we asking of you? First, Shop Local. Your money flows back into our community as you shop next door instead of online. Also, your membership, participation, sponsorship and volunteerism are what we need!  The Chamber exists to provide access, opportunity and relationships. Without our committed members, there is no Chamber. Without teamwork, we can’t achieve our best. Consider being proactive about the way you and your staff will be involved this year in making Destin and the Chamber even better. Let’s collaborate to help one another be successful and ride the wave of great momentum that currently exists in our community.
A wise man once said, “a rising tide lifts all boats.” Join us, and perhaps together we can make the tide rise. Destin Chamber…50 years STRONG!
Jonathan Ochs
Trustmark National Bank
2016 Destin Chamber Chairman of the Board

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