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CHAMBER COLUMN: Don’t stop believing

Kathy Almond is CEO and president of the Stanly County Chamber of Commerce.

Having just returned from year three 3 of 4 at Institute on the campus of University of Georgia, Athens, I have to admit that I am one to embrace change more than some.
This is why I enjoy spending a week with my #GameChangers who share a common theme of “Don’t Stop Believing” in what can be.
What is Institute? In 1921, Institute for Organization Management began in Evanston, Illinois on the campus of Northwestern University.
Tens of thousands of graduates later, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation continues this professional development program five times a year on college campuses across the nation.
The IOM certification is nationally recognized as the standard for association and chamber training in nonprofit organization management.
What does that mean for Stanly County Chamber of Commerce?
It means that I have the opportunity to bring back ideas from some of the greatest minds of colleagues and instructors in the fields of nonprofit management, education, leadership and innovation. It also means that we as a community of leaders must be open minded and responsive to change.
One of the most meaningful classes at Institute this year was led by Vicki Horton; this session was entitled “Innovate or Die.”
An amazing instructor, Vicki presented how innovation must be strategic, creative and intentional to weave an ecosystem for our sustainable future.
With 28 years of experience in economic and community development, construction, business and finance, accompanied with a master’s degree in public administration, the wealth of knowledge and ideas shared was immeasurable.
Vicki’s presentation, “The Opportunity to Lead and BE the Change,” was powerful and thought provoking. It reminds us that the world is global, and that we must be proactive in the change we are constantly experiencing.
We must have a plan in place for every speed bump and road block we encounter. For it is those communities who embrace change, those who lead with innovative thinking, which in the long run will be those who survive.
A quote by Warren Bennis that I shared with my team of believers this week is, “Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality.”
We all have a vision of what should be, and we all possess the capacity to share how we can translate that vision into reality.
Now it is time to get to work — the work of turning visions into realities — the work of being #GameChangers.
And I encourage you to always remember what my teammates and I sing loudly, “Don’t stop believing!”

Kathy Almond is CEO and president of Stanly County Chamber of Commerce.