Friday, June 21, 2024

Bossier Chamber Annual Meeting 2023: Wilhite looks ahead to the promise of a new year

by BIZ Magazine

The Bossier Chamber is one of the places where I got my start in community involvement. I began by serving on a Bossier Chamber committee years ago then began volunteering for other areas within the Chamber to fully understand the opportunities it provides our community. I made some great connections and friends but I also began to really understand the value of the Bossier Chamber in our community.

Speaking of community, did you know we are your parish chamber? Many times that fact gets lost since we are located in Bossier City, the largest municipality of the parish. We have a strong relationship with our Bossier Parish government and hope to use that connection to look at the differing needs from each corner of our large parish. In recent years, not only have we worked to have a parish-wide mindset but a regional mindset as well.  The Chamber works to bridge the communities of Caddo and Bossier parishes to truly give our region an advantage to encompass all of Northwest Louisiana.  

As I moved onto the board, I learned that the group around the table is a vocal and working board, and we expect that from the new board members who join us. As we emerge from the pandemic years, we really want to encourage additional membership to get more involved with the Chamber, particularly through serving on committees. Committees are where the real work begins at the Chamber and we need more voices to make sure we are addressing the wants and needs of our business community.

Our current committees include:

• Business Development works to grow and retain the current membership base, as well as encourages business-to-business interaction and member involvement of Bossier Chamber programming.

• Community Sustainability monitors, reviews and engages in quality of life/place issues that affect the city, parish and community at large as well as serve as a think tank to provide solutions that can be taken to the appropriate entities for their support and action.

• Government Relations works with local, state, and national government bodies to monitor issues that affect business in our community through lobbying efforts, special events, legislative updates, governmental affairs newsletter, and attending city meetings. The Chamber is the voice of business in Bossier Parish. 

• Military Relations works to ensure the continued growth and prosperity of our military in the Bossier/Shreveport community through many programs and initiatives including community education, support of military awards programs, and hosting semi-annual veterans’ job fairs.

We have a place for any Chamber member who wants to be more involved on one of these committees or apply to become one of our Diplomats – the active volunteer group of the Bossier Chamber. Applications for Diplomats and committees are being taken NOW as we begin preparing our program of work for 2023. Contact the Bossier Chamber today to get involved further.  The success of our business community is only as strong as the voices who help shape it.   

As the 1995 incoming President of the Board, James M. Conerly said, “Please support the Bossier Chamber.  The demand for our services has never been greater. You’ll find a great deal of satisfaction through participation, and the rewards of our success will be shared by all.”  And, I would agree!

Nicole Wilhite, of Citizens National Bank, IS the incoming chair of the Bossier Chamber of Commerce.

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