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Chamber of Commerce

I am deeply honored and deeply humbled by the trust that has been bestowed upon me in the new role as President/CEO, so I must begin this letter by saying “thank you.” The significance of this honor is not taken lightly, and I welcome the opportunity.

This year has been a difficult year—one of historic economic devastation, plagued with a lack of consumer confidence and riddled with the carnage of established businesses closing in record numbers. History has shown us that often during times of hardship, opportunity is born. It is you, the entrepreneurial minded, innovative and resourceful survivors who have the courage to seize that opportunity and shape the change that must occur in order for us to succeed in overcoming this difficult season. I personally salute your courage, dedication and will to survive. It is our goal, as your Chamber of Commerce, to support you by providing opportunities to build relationships, information to assist your business development and access to elected officials.

This year, your Prince George’s Chamber of Commerce is celebrating 85 years dedicated to advancing the interests of business for a vibrant Prince George’s County. Although it has been a challenging year, your Chamber of Commerce has had several accomplishments in 2009. Those accomplishments would not be possible without the host of Chamber members who have freely given of their time and talents to ensure the success of the Chamber. Thank you to the Executive Committee, Board of Directors and Committee Chairs for your dedicated service and commitment to excellence. Special recognition goes to Keith Howard, Chair of the Education/Workforce Development Committee; Anthony Ruiz, Chair of the Small/Minority Business Development Committee; Michael Lyles, Chair of the Economic Development Committee; and Rich Daniel, Chair of the Sports, Hospitality & Entertainment Committee. These dynamic leaders and their committees helped shape the direction of the programs provided by the Chamber this year, and I greatly appreciate your service.Special kudos go to our new Strategic Partners—a brain trust of Chamber members who have stepped up and given selflessly to improve the operations of the Chamber and to support the work of the staff. Thank you, Christal Pollard of AC Pollard Meetings & Events for developing high-quality events within our extremely tight budgets; Sean Hutcherson of VESBI Network Solutions for upgrading our technology while saving hundreds of dollars per month; Rodney Minor of Ordered Steps Productions for capturing key moments of Chamber events and producing high-quality videos to increase our presence online; Terrence Williams of Millennium Technology Solutions for producing a state-of-the-art, high-quality Web site; Odessa Hopkins of Another Approach Enterprises for marketing the Chamber and increasing our reach within the small-business community; and Christopher Pollock of The Networking Loop for leading the Student Chamber of Commerce as we train the next generation of entrepreneurs. Thank you all for your love and support of the Prince George’s Chamber of Commerce!

And saving the BEST for last, a resounding THANK YOU goes to the Chamber staff—Nicole Brown, Director of Business Development, and Melinda Turner, Membership Services Coordinator. These “Dynamic Chamber Divas” are intelligent, ingenious and a pleasure to work with on a daily basis.

We look forward to more accomplishments as we strive for new heights in 2010! We welcome the opportunity to serve, and we promise to continue the commitment to excellence as we work together to advance the interests of business for a vibrant Prince George’s County. Thank you for your support and investment!

Sincerely,

Rhonda L. Slade
President & CEO

2009 ACCOMPLISHMENTS

• Upgraded technology within the Chamber office to be able to better serve member needs.

• Enhanced the Chamber Web site to include a searchable business directory, videos, resources for the community and increased advertising opportunities.

•Increased presence on the Web with the development of the Chamber YouTube Channel and Facebook page.

• Reduced expenses and trimmed the Chamber’s operating budget by over $100,000.

• Brought together the Prince George’s County Delegation, State Senators, County Council members and the County Executive to participate in the Legislative Reception in Annapolis, Maryland.

• Through the Small/Minority Business Committee, partnered with the Capital Region Small Business Development Center to present the Women’s Business Conference on “Strategies for Surviving in Difficult Economic Times.”

• Through the Small/Minority Business Committee, presented Bridget Bean, District Director of the Washington Metropolitan Area Office, to speak on the Recovery Act and opportunities available for small businesses.

• Through the Education/Workforce Development Committee, partnered with the Prince George’s County Public School System to present Principal for a Day and the Teacher of the Year Reception.

• Through the Sports, Hospitality & Entertainment Committee, developed a scholarship program for high school seniors planning to pursue careers in the sports, hospitality and entertainment fields. The first $1,000 scholarship in the sports field was sponsored by the Bowie Baysox.

• Through the Economic Development Committee, developed a plan of action and materials to use to attract new businesses to Prince George’s County.

•Through the Student Chamber of Commerce, educated over 1,200 high school students on the dangers of cigarette smoking. Students also used this opportunity to introduce the idea of entrepreneurship now and in the future.

• Partnered with the Prince George’s Community College, Prince George’s Black Chamber of Commerce, Center for Nonprofit Advancement, Collective Banking Group and Prince George’s County Financial Services First to create the Partnership for Community Development and Nonprofit Advancement.

• Represented Prince George’s County small businesses on the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Washington Metropolitan District Roundtable.

• Represented Prince George’s County at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Business Civic Leadership Center National Conference on Corporate Community Investment: Accelerating Community Development.

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