I am extremely honored to be helping lead the Bossier Chamber through its 75th year serving Bossier Parish by advancing the economic interests of this great and growing parish.
While many membership organizations struggle to retain members, engagement and participation, the Bossier Chamber has remained a successful entity through the years.
As we have been researching the history of the Bossier Chamber, there are a few things that stand out that have really propelled this organization through the years to have influence and impact on the growth and success of Bossier City, Bossier Parish and Northwest Louisiana.
1. The Bossier Chamber has been heavily involved in the development of both Bossier City and Bossier Parish. The Chamber has been a leader in developing this parish we serve in many ways, including but not limited to:
a. Advocating for Bossier to have its own Post Office.
b. Advocating for the expansions of both Benton and Airline Drives in the years the growth of the parish was just beginning.
c. Forming the Military Affairs Council, making sure our largest employer stays in our region.
d. Launching the Ark-La-Tex Mardi Gras. YES! That was born out of the Bossier Chamber!
e. Advocating for Bossier City General Hospital, later known as Bossier Medical Center, to serve our residents.
f. Launching the Industrial Development Board as well as the Greater Bossier Economic Development Foundation, both former parts of the Bossier Chamber.
2. Partnerships are one of our key values and truly are one reason for the great success of the Bossier Chamber. Our relationships with our city and parish officials, along with our military leadership, has lasted the entirety of the 75 years of this organization. Beyond that, we have a great working relationship with the Greater Shreveport Chamber of Commerce, Bossier Parish Schools, and our local economic development partners like our very own GBEDF and NLEP.
3. As a non-profit organization governed by a board of directors, it is important that the right people are sitting around the table as our board makes important decisions on the Chamber’s program of work. From CEOs and Presidents to middle managers and even small business owners, the Chamber strives to create a diverse group of board members who are not afraid to get the work done to continue to move our region forward.
4. The Chamber has always been focused on the advancement of business – as our mission states – but without sacrificing a healthy focus on quality of life and quality of place issues. But it really boils down to Community Sustainability – the new name of our quality of life committee within the Chamber, which reflects a true focus on making sure that Bossier truly remains a great place to live, work, play and learn.
What kind of legacy is the Bossier Chamber creating? From my point of view, it is one of integrity, hard work, collaboration and success. Here’s to 75 more years!
Lisa Johnson is presdient and CEO of the Bossier Chamber of Commerce