Business leaders, elected officials meet for annual chamber conference

By: Mariel Carbone
August 12, 2017

AMELIA ISLAND, Fla. (WCTV)--It's a meeting of the minds.

This weekend hundreds of business leaders and elected officials are meeting on Amelia Island for the annual Tallahassee Chamber of Commerce Conference. It's a chance for some of the Capital City's biggest movers and shakers to network, build connections and talk about some of the top issues affecting the city.

"This is the place we come to learn how to grow our business back in Tallahassee," said Heidi Otway, Chair Elect of the Tallahassee Chamber of Commerce. "It is a great opportunity for us to network. Hear new things, hear about what's happening in the market place or what's happening in the business community that can benefit our community at large."

This year more than 500 chamber members are attending the conference. And, more than 700 are registered for Saturday's evening banquet. Those numbers, making it one of the largest conferences to date.

For members, the weekend offers a unique opportunity to create new ideas.

"It is the ability to get away from the day today at home and come away
and really think about what you're hearing, what you're learning, what you're seeing here. And be able to take that back and apply it to what you're doing in your businesses in the Tallahassee community," said Beth Corum, with capital City Bank.

Attendees have the opportunity to hear from a variety of local stakeholders. Breakout sessions include topics like the Leon County School District, the Tallahassee International Airport, upcoming development, retaining talent and more. Mark Lamping, the President of the Jacksonville Jaguars is the keynote speaker. And Cissy Proctor with the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity will provide an update on how Florida's economy looks as a whole.

Chamber members have said these presentations, as well as the opportunity to get outside of the Tallahassee bubble, help build a new perspective on the community.

"You know they've chosen Tallahassee as home. And so it's a great opportunity and a unique setting to really just stand back and breathe and get a new glimpse of what your community is about," said Susie Busch-Transou, with Hearth and Soul.

The Chamber represents more than 1,400 businesses in Tallahassee. Its main goal is growing and supporting the business community.

Chamber Chairman Reggie Bouthillier said the annual conference is just one way the group works to achieve those goals.

"We want to be able to move forward. We're proud of our community. We want to be able to take advantage of the assets that we have and become better. And I think that really embodies the community conference," said Bouhtillier.

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