When I agreed to become Chair of The Chamber, I had no idea my responsibilities would include the search – after nearly 20 years – for new Chamber leadership. (Why couldn’t longtime President Pete Levi wait till NEXT year when Greg Graves would have had to deal with it!)
I’m happy to report that the new Chamber President and CEO, Jim Heeter, starts on the job today, Monday, April 19. I speak for the entire Board when I say we appreciate his background, outlook, and experience, and anticipate great things going forward.
I also want to give a deeply-felt ‘thank you’ to Kristi Smith Wyatt, The Chamber’s Senior VP for Government Relations and, for the last 3 ½ months, the organization’s Interim President. To say that she has handled the job with grace, wisdom, and humor is an understatement. And she did so while juggling the many demands of her usual job – working with federal and state elected officials and promoting key Chamber positions.
The 3-month-plus interim period also proved something else: Chamber staff and leadership comprise a well-oiled machine that can keep itself running. My deep appreciation to all of you.
An important piece of that machinery has now been added, and we’re anticipating great things in the months ahead. Our goals are simple:
- Quality jobs and economic growth;
- Advocacy and collaboration; and
- Best place to live and work.
The poll we commissioned earlier this year for The Chamber’s annual Governors’ Summit told us Kansas and Missouri voters look first to the business community to solve their problems. That’s a responsibility we’re taking seriously. And now our leadership is firmly in place.