By Todd Shimkus
In 2018, the Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce will celebrate 100 years of leadership getting positive things done for the betterment of our community and our members.
Our Chamber’s first president was Joseph H. Clark, the head of the Clark Textile Co. He hosted the first Chamber annual dinner at Newman’s Lake House, on June 7, 1918. The dinner’s “toastmaster” was Charles C. Van Deusen, president of the Adirondack Trust Co.
In 1918, on the 11th hour, of the 11th day, of the 11th month, World War I came to an end. It was the year that Howard Cosell, Ted Williams, Nelson Mandela, and Paul Harvey, to name a few, were born. The president of the United States at the time was a Democrat, Woodrow Wilson.
The Chamber’s mission 100 years ago was simple: Foster trade and commerce; promote friendly cooperation between local businesses; and forward the interests of Saratoga as a health resort and a seat of learning. Today, this original mission remains at the core of our efforts.
We continue to help local companies to open doors and close deals at events like our annual B2B Expo and through ribbon cuttings where we celebrate a dream come true.
We still believe that being a healthy place to live is good for our economy as witnessed by our leadership of the #HealthySaratoga movement.
Through Leadership Saratoga, we’ve helped hundreds of local residents to learn how to be more effective volunteers. With the benefit of this learning, they in turn have helped hundreds of our nonprofits to improve the lives of our friends and neighbors.
So yes, of course, we will celebrate this significant milestone in 2018.
We will celebrate, at our 100th annual dinner on Jan. 25 at the Saratoga City Center. There will be a brief video, a toast, a cake, and the announcement of a special new award that we hope will become a centerpiece for all future annual dinners.
But at the same time, our celebration of our centennial year must also be a time for us to look ahead.
And thus, stealing a phrase I first heard from the president of a 100-year old bank in Massachusetts, we will act as if the Chamber is a 100-year-old startup.
What does this mean?
Simply put, it means we will honor our past by determining where we can innovate to be even better in the future.
Yes, the Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce is 100 years old. But, this doesn’t mean we need to act our age.
Instead, we will look forward to continuing to convene creative ideas and positive partnerships. It is a great time to empower our board of directors to innovate to build an even better community.
This is the year when we want you to share your ideas with us. We want to know how to create or adapt our networking events to help our members to generate powerful business connections.
We want to learn how our advocacy can advance your opportunity to succeed, grow and thrive.
We hope you will tell us how you think we can pull out all of the stops to bring even more tourists into Saratoga County.
Help us to find new ways, in our 100th year, to continue to get things done to advance the mission of the Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce.
Visit us online at www.saratoga.org. Call us at 518-584-3255. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow and like us on social media and share with us your ideas.
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