Goals Conference opens new doors to business

By Adriana Serna….
The Coral Gables Chamber of Commerce’s 2011 Goals Conference successfully concluded on Friday, June 24, having celebrated Coral Gables’ leaders and opened new doors to bigger business and greater involvement in the community.

The Goals Conference began Thursday, June 23, with the sold-out George E. Merrick Award of Excellence dinner. The prestigious Merrick Award was bestowed upon a very humbled Wayne “Chip” Withers Jr., who graciously received the award while crediting his fellow nominees, family and friends for helping him reach this great honor. The chamber once again partnered with the Allen Morris Company to present the award. The evenings emcee was CBS 4’s Shannon Hori.

Friday’s Good Morning Coral Gables breakfast featured University of Miami basketball coach Jim Larranaga. The new coach’s motivating speech was about teamwork and leadership, and he encouraged participants to get involved in the community and help provide a vision for a more prosperous and successful year.

Throughout the day, participants engaged in nine different goal-setting sessions, which sought to solidify measurable and attainable goals for the coming chamber year. The sold-out luncheon featured opening remarks from Coral Gables’ new Mayor Jim Cason and a keynote speech from Carlos Migoya, CEO of Jackson Health System, about his vision for a new Jackson for Miami-Dade County.

Participants also engaged in an interactive session with Leadership Florida on the results of their annual Sunshine State Survey, a program that seeks to bet-ter understand how you believe Florida is doing across a wide spectrum of issues.

The program closed with a panel discussion on “Why Coral Gables?” This panel featured local business leaders who chose Coral Gables to locate their businesses during the past year. It gave participants insight into the success of the City of Coral Gables’ permitting assistance program and the strength of the Coral Gables brand to attract world-class businesses.

Incoming chair Drew Kern of EWM Realtors declared the Goals Conference program a tremendous success.

“Whenever our chamber leaders and members have an opportunity to come together and share ideas, it is a win for the chamber and the community. Today, we strengthened relationships that will reap benefits for all who attended for years to come.”

Kern pledged to focus on four initiatives next year: the re-development of Miracle Mile as an economic catalyst; celebration and support for the vibrant arts community in Coral Gables; greater resources for small businesses, and an alliance with partners at the Beacon Council as they update the One Community One Goal initiative.

Chamber president Mark A. Trowbridge helped lead his sixth Goals Conference with the chamber. His observation was that the attendees were eager to share their ideas, get engaged and create opportunities for the chamber well into the future.

“It is a sign that our economy continues to recover and that businesses view our chamber as a resource for business development and new clients,” he said.

To see photos from the 2011 Goals Conference and learn more about the programs and activities of the Chamber, visit the Facebook page @TheCoralGablesChamberofCommerce.

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