At a recent meeting with our regional chambers of commerce – the Shreveport-Bossier African-American Chamber, Greater Shreveport Chamber and Bossier Chamber – the common conversation centered around collaboration.
In fact, that is the SB African-American Chamber’s theme for 2021, Chairwoman Brittney Dunn told those gathered for the joint meeting in June. Another thing that was also clear – there are many areas where we can all work together for the greater good and we should be using our collective influence more regularly to make things happen.
One area of interest where collaboration will be key is redistricting at the federal and state level. This issue is time-sensitive and needs attention from all of us to make sure our area is well represented. It is time to bring our coalition-building skills together to talk about all of the benefits of our region, so they can hear us from Baton Rouge to Washington, D.C. and all around the country.
In fact, our joint meeting brought out a lot of voices calling for a singular branding message for Northwest Louisiana – something strong, representative of all of us as a way to build pride in our area. Not only do we need to do this for talking points, but our pride for the area must seep into all of our grassroots efforts as well. That is the only way we can increase business traffic and get families to want to locate in our culture-rich corner of Louisiana. One place to start – let’s bring home our people home: those who grew up here, once lived here, or could retire here.
We know building our brand is not only an internal campaign to build homegrown pride from our residents, but also an external campaign that will help with tourism, business and talent recruitment and more influence in our advocacy efforts. When we build this pride – when we all start touting the great things our area has to offer – we can be change agents to influence more positive media coverage. This is key in changing the stigma that is attached to our area.
It will take all of us together. And at that joint meeting, we didn’t even have to say it, we knew that.
Business and civic leaders, it is time that we figure out how to best work together instead of fighting against ourselves.
People of influence, it is time that we beat this drum of a change in our mindsets to bring about the success our region is capable of.
Where can we start?
Change your social media habits to exhibit a positive attitude about your area. Like, share and comment on the positive.
Join your Chambers of Commerce in talking about real change that can bring positivity to our region. Engage with your Chamber. Attend meetings and events. Encourage any positive steps you see being taken in the area.
Let’s start a campaign to clean up our cities and work to bring those first-impression areas up to par with the standards you set for your own business and home.
Lisa Johnson | President & CEO of the Bossier Chamber of Commerce.