Chambers of Commerce are the great conveners in a time when we cannot convene. The Greater North Fulton Chamber brings together private and public to build not just great business but also great communities. As a regional chamber, that goal also means celebrating and respecting the unique differences in each of our six cities – Alpharetta, Johns Creek, Milton, Mountain Park, Roswell and Sandy Springs.
Ironically, COVID-19 has only emphasized the importance of our regional role as convener and of our skills as collaborators. It will truly take all of us — business, government, non-profit and resident — working together to get through this. We see this already as states and cities band together to share resources and as large business competitors set aside profit and work together for the common good.
Over the last month, the Greater North Fulton Chamber has created a one-stop Business Resource site that provides important information and access to not just our paying Chamber members, but to ALL businesses in North Fulton. We have supported our local hospitals and charities by sharing their needs, so our businesses and residents can help our heroes. We have called our members daily in an attempt to assess true needs, and we have connected those who have solutions with those who most require them.
We have pivoted from events that fund our organization and have created free webinars to educate all North Fulton businesses not just on new loans, grants and labor information, but also training for leadership in times of change so that when we determine the path forward, we will be better than ever. We have continued to help our members generate leads virtually so they have a full pipeline when the time comes to do business once again. We have learned that networking can be done over technology and that we as humans need to come together to connect, especially in times of stress and anxiety.
Although we closed our physical office weeks ago, we reminded ourselves that the Chamber is not a building but a team, and the Chamber has continued to operate virtually, even meeting our members remotely to stamp Certificates of Origin so exports and business can continue.
We know that many in our communities have lost jobs, particularly those in the restaurant, retail, travel and entertainment industries. So, we have expanded our NorthFultonJobs.com site to link new job opportunities all across Metro Atlanta with those who need to feed their families.
We continue working as the Voice of Business to increase federal funding for PPP and EIDL whose funding is already at risk of running out. Even when our own Chamber as a 501(c)6 is not included in those relief efforts, we believe it is the right thing to do for our region.
While mitigating tremendous change, we are also working on the path forward. The World Trade Organization expects world trade to fall between 13-32 percent in 2020 due to COVID. We believe that as a demonstrated convener and collaborator, the Greater North Fulton Chamber will be a catalytic leader in this region’s economic recovery and have formed a Recovery Task Force to that end. We don’t know what the “new normal” will look like, but we do expect that it will happen in a deliberate, pre-determined, roll-out, and we want each of our communities to have a voice in how that happens.
We are proud of our region and our businesses. We believe in our great communities and their leaders. We will continue to work hard, and we will succeed together.
Kali Boatright, President & CEO
Greater North Fulton Chamber