Message from the Chair
Did you know that the Greater Sioux Falls Chamber of Commerce has been around for more than 100 years? It’s gone through a few evolutions and a few name changes (many businesses can relate to that!) but the mission of the Chamber has remained the same. We seek to bring members together to build consensus and create strategies that better our community.
My company, Sanford Health, is one of the founding members of the Greater Sioux Falls Chamber of Commerce. Since 1907, when the Chamber was founded, we have invested as members. You might be surprised to learn that there are almost 50 businesses included on that list of Founding Members. And there are many, many more businesses that launched after 1950 who have also maintained decades of membership in the Chamber.
Those long-term commitments…represent the character of Sioux Falls.
Those long-term commitments are more than just a testament to the value the Chamber provides our business community. They also represent the character of Sioux Falls. Here, we work together. We collaborate to find solutions to big challenges; we look for opportunities to make Sioux Falls better for all and pursue them as a team.
Serving as Chair of the Chamber’s Board of Directors for the past year has afforded me a behind-the-scenes look at all the ways your Chamber is actively working for you. For example, this year saw the launch of the new South Dakota Trade organization, which helps local businesses navigate international trade. The Chamber partnered to get this important service off the ground and has an ongoing leadership role. We also have a leadership role for Startup Sioux Falls, which took big steps this year in the evolution of their organization with a move to a new space downtown. And our partnership with Pathways to Inclusive & Equitable Workplaces again produced great results, as a cohort of individuals completed the second DE&I Activator Series last spring.
Since the beginning, advocacy has been a key part of the Chamber. The issues change, but the core of what we stand for does not. We support policies that foster a healthy business environment, a strong economy, and high quality of life. And the voice of the Chamber – the voice for your business – is respected by our governing bodies. During the last legislative session, the Chamber had a 91% success rate on the bills it lobbied on. We engaged on topics like workforce housing, childcare, education and more.
This only scratches the surface of all the ways the Chamber is at work for your business. I started this column by reflecting on longevity, and I can’t miss the chance to recognize the tenure of chamber staff member Joan Bartling. Joan plans to retire at the close of 2023, after serving our members for 44 years. We are grateful for her leadership and commitment to Sioux Falls!
At the time of this writing, there are 1,850 members of the Greater Sioux Falls Chamber of Commerce. Whether you are a brand-new member or a founding member – the investment you’ve made is important. Thank you for supporting our Chamber and for being part of creating a stronger tomorrow for Sioux Falls.
And finally, thank you for allowing me the opportunity to serve as your Chair of the Board.