I hope you were able to join us for last week’s Annual Meeting. I’m not exaggerating when I tell you it was our best yet. Really powerful, great energy in the room, strong speakers. Our theme was, “Investing in Tomorrow.” Our speakers addressed this theme through the lenses of people, culture, and technology. You can’t help but feel optimistic about Tomorrow when you listened to them: Jeff Aguy, our fabulous host (2043); Colette Campbell (Bremer); Dario Otero (Youth Lens); and Srini Somayajula (Ecolab). The room was filled with long time investors/partners, businesses large and small, young people, and so very many friends I don’t know yet. I loved seeing the new faces!
Every year my comments center on the themes I saw heard from you over the previous year. What I I saw last year was that people showed up differently. AND different people showed up. What I heard was uncertainty. And what I realized was that I, myself, am Yesterday. I don’t quite know when it happened, I didn’t believe it first, but – yes – I am Yesterday. The shift is underway towards Tomorrow and we, together, are burdened with the responsibility of ushering it in.
I also talked about this idea that change, the looming of Tomorrow, heightens our feelings of uncertainty. When we feel uncertain about something ahead of us, we instinctively slow down and get more cautious, to prepare for the potential “bad” that may be around the corner. The challenge, of course, is to embrace uncertainty. Lean in to surprise. After all, when in history has anything been “certain”? Simon Sinek recently spoke of this in the context of COVID and he said, “what happened over these last 3 years was a shocking period that REMINDED us that things are uncertain.”
We conflate normalcy with certainty. And that, of course, is the illusion.
As leaders we all can harness the approach entrepreneurs and small business owners understand viscerally: “how do we work in this environment and try something new?” We all have much to offer one another. We all need an eyes-forward approach, one that empowers an innovative spirit and forward thinking without losing what we know. We can double down on our inclusive approach to people and ideas. Tomorrow IS coming. The question is, what price will we pay tomorrow if we don’t adapt today?
Humble gratitude to the Chamber team, our member-owners (you!), and our amazing guests. Was a celebration of this community that made me very proud!
See you in the trenches,