Becoming the new leader of an organization like the Traverse City Area Chamber of Commerce feels a bit like moving into a home where a famous person once lived. The names associated with the Chamber over the years – Hockstad, Engstrom, Biederman, Milliken, Sleder, Oleson, Schmuckal and many others – are a veritable Hall of Fame both in building business and community in the Grand Traverse region.
The Chamber’s 102-year history and the great men and women who’ve helped build it provide a rock-solid foundation. But an organization’s past can only take it so far – and for the Chamber and the Grand Traverse region’s business community, it’s all about today and what lies ahead for our region. That’s where our focus is as we continue to build and strengthen the area’s business sector that has played such an important role in making our region the special place it is.
My background and life experiences will be necessary tools in making our Chamber successful. Growing up in Suttons Bay – having lived in Petoskey and now Kingsley – helps in understanding that our success depends on what happens well beyond the boundaries of Traverse City’s four walls. Our region is made up of numerous unique and dynamic communities spread across multiple counties that rely on each other for jobs, services, educational opportunities, recreation, resources and more. This economic tapestry is woven together to create one of the strongest macro economies in Michigan and the Midwest.
As a former purveyor of frozen foods covering much of Northern Michigan, I’m well aware of the need for excellent customer service that makes both a company, and a community stand out. As a former banker, I’m familiar with the need to build relationships within the business community, and provide the resources and guidance to help business grow. As an Eagle Scout, I’m committed to the public service and integrity in action needed to build a strong community and a climate of conscious capitalism that will help the Traverse City area thrive.
All those life lessons will help myself and others here implement our Chamber Board’s vision to make this organization “as personal as possible”. We want to help our members solve their business problems, grow leaders within their own organizations, share our success stories, and advocate for them on a local, state and national level.
My challenge going forward is to ensure our programming, events, advocacy efforts, and member experiences are as outstanding, informative and relevant as possible to fulfill our century-old mission of growing business and building community. We’ll continue to strengthen the leadership for our region through programs like Leadership Grand Traverse. We will build collaboration through events like Business After Hours. We will incorporate new faces and voices into our community dialogue through our outstanding Young Professionals program, and our amazing Chamber Ambassadors. Together, we are ready to embrace the future and build on this great foundation.
I plan to interact as soon as possible with all our nearly 1,900 members spread across our multi-county region. I want to let you know that I personally believe the support and engagement of all Chamber businesses, big and small, are critical to our shared success. This is not only important for our organization, but for the economic ecosystem as a whole. The Chamber has a long shadow, a great history and some lofty expectations of its leadership going forward.
I couldn’t be more excited to get to work.
Max Anderson is the new Executive Director of the Traverse City Area Chamber of Commerce. Contact him by email at firstname.lastname@example.org