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21st Century challenges: a vibrant Chamber is an imperative if this region is to thrive.

On July 1, Cynthia J. Pasky, president, CEO and founder of Strategic Staffing Solutions Inc., became chair of the Detroit Regional Chamber's Board of Directors. Here are her thoughts on the 2005-2006 program year.

As the nation's largest metropolitan chamber of commerce, the Detroit Regional Chamber continues to model the vitality this region needs if we are to successfully compete in the 21st Century global economy.

As a truly regional organization that has successfully brought together the often diverse interests found in the region, it also models the collegial approach we must have if we are to continue to be one of the world's leading economic centers.

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Unfortunately, we all know that the cooperative efforts we need to succeed as a region are at times hindered by the political climate of the region. But it is our responsibility, even if we stub our toe from time to time, to keep striving for that goal.

Organizations such as the Chamber offer the template we must follow if we are to succeed.

As the first executive of an IT company to chair the Chamber board, I bring a different perspective to this position than many of my predecessors. Clearly, the auto industry remains the cornerstone of Detroit's economy. Equally clearly, we must work on all fronts to build our economy as the world changes around us.

If this city and this region are going to thrive, we need to develop new jobs that reflect the realities of the 21st Century economy. As part of that effort, we should start by looking at the current job market to determine what jobs are available, and then work to assure an educational system that trains our people for those jobs.

For example, every day some 1,500 nurses come across the border from Canada to work in our health-care institutions. We need to make our own young people aware that those good-paying jobs need to be filled, and then ensure that our educational system will provide them the skills they need to fill those jobs.

A vibrant Detroit Regional Chamber is an imperative if this region is to thrive. The Chamber Board recently adopted a new three-year vision statement entitled: Leading Business Growth and Member Success.

The statement recognizes that the Chamber is the region's premier advocate for business and quality-of-life issues, the state's leading catalyst for economic development and the hub of leadership development in the region. It also emphasizes that membership in the Detroit Regional Chamber is a bottom-line imperative for businesses.

The Chamber vision statement has three goals:

* Lead the business agenda and provide solutions that help our members make money, save money and grow.

* Create a competitive region to attract and retain business investment and talented leaders.

* Create effective and efficient operations to achieve strategic goals.

As we work to grow our region, we need to start by encouraging our current employers to grow here. A number of our major employers are part of national and international corporations that make decisions every day about where to locate new operations. We should work aggressively with companies such as SBC, Bank One/JPMC, DTE Energy and others to help them stay successful and to encourage them to grow here. Each of us who runs a business can encourage our suppliers to do the same.

I'm looking forward to an exciting, challenging year as chair. Working together, we can achieve a great deal to assure that Detroit and the Detroit Region are as important to the 21st Century economy as we were to the 20th Century economy.
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Title Annotation:From the Chair
Author:Pasky, Cynthia J.
Publication:Detroiter
Date:Oct 1, 2005
Words:595
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