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Working Together, Here’s What We Did in 2020

Chamber President & CEO Elizabeth Cromwell shared a look back at our work together in 2020 during the Rebound Ball on December 2, 2020. Below is a transcript of her comments.

Looking back at 2020, the Chamber has a lot to be proud of.

Our Chamber members and partners helped us revamp and launch new roundtables and new grant programs.

Click here to watch video reports from our affinity group leaders.

We teamed up with the Central Virginia SBDC, PVCC and other partners to create new programming to help entrepreneurs and small, growing businesses.

Speaking of teaming up, we came together with our economic development partners including the University of Virginia, Albemarle County and the City of Charlottesville to further develop the concept of Venture Central, a new entrepreneurial ecosystem targeted to launch in 2021.

This year, we hired the region’s first defense affairs liaison to foster economic vitality by further strengthening the alliance of relationships between the Chamber, the regional defense and intelligence community, and our veterans. This new role at the Chamber is a pilot project underwritten by Albemarle and Greene Counties, the City of Charlottesville, UVA and the private sector.

We deepened our relationship with the Center for Nonprofit Excellence and the Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service with the intention to transform Leadership Charlottesville into a collaboratively led, hybrid program combining leadership training from all three entities. As this program takes shape in its new format as a strategic alliance, LC alumni input will be captured in the coming weeks to help inform the planning decisions. I’d like to take this opportunity to recognize our Chamber’s Andrea Copeland-Whitsett, who led LC with distinction for many years. Now that Andrea has taken on a new and important role within our organization, she continues to keep our vast alumni network engaged and connected.

Most notably in 2020, we envisioned and coordinated the Project Rebound effort to help our region emerge from the economic shutdown caused by the COVID pandemic. That effort garnered national recognition and continues to be a guide for our strategic efforts, as well as our partners’. Project Rebound, in partnership with UVA Organizational Excellence, won an international gold award for community impact through effective facilitation from the International Facilitation Association. Key project partners include Albemarle County, the City of Charlottesville, UVA, KPMG and special thanks to S&P Global, who generously helped underwrite Project Rebound tool kits for our local small businesses.

Throughout the year, the key to all of these efforts has been partnership building and alignment with other stakeholders to positively impact business success. We look forward to continuing to play a role in providing connections, building shared goals and outcomes and providing a strong return on investment for all of our members in 2021 and beyond.

Finally, we’d like to acknowledge a program that started here at the Chamber nearly a decade ago, which we fostered and supported over the years as it evolved. We couldn’t be prouder to see Network2Work grow up and fly from its original nest. [Video message from Ridge Schuyler follows.]