As I write this, it is St. Patrick's Day 2020, and I have no idea what the world will look like when this magazine hits the rack in a couple weeks. The Chamber office is open, but it is quiet as we have reduced staffing to two people per day. The coronavirus has changed the trajectory of our daily lives in an unprecedented manner. Updates from the CDC, White House and City Hall come to us so fast it seems impossible to keep pace with planning your business and family life.
...we are stronger as a Chamber than we are as individuals
We have involuntarily been forced to modify our daily lives because of this silent, invisible and dangerous pandemic. As all of this happens, I have been struck with the overwhelmingly positive response I have seen from solution-minded people. Sure, there is plenty of negativity to be found if one immerses themselves in online bickering and second guessing, but that is not the tone of the solution-minded people I see rising to the top.
At the Chamber office, we have a photo display of every past president/chair in the history of our organization, dating back to 1907. For me, it is a very powerful reminder of our traditions and values. This priceless historical record causes me to reflect on all the unforeseen tragedies of our past and how we, as business and community leaders, have survived and met each challenge along the way. Though war, depression, recession, acts of terrorism, domestic unrest and pandemics we gather and rely on one another. The coronavirus will certainly have a significant and long-lasting impact on our lives and our economy, but we will build and recover.
A diverse and robust economy is a cornerstone for any healthy community and Sioux Falls has reached national prominence in this arena. Beyond the diversity of our economy, the Sioux Falls Area Chamber of Commerce is blessed with much diversity in the human talent and thought leaders we can deploy in support of one another. With nearly 2,000 members who employ over 85,000 individuals we can assemble professionals from a variety of disciplines who are more than willing to volunteer time in support of their neighbor. We do this because we know we are stronger as a Chamber than we are as individuals. We were not put on this earth to operate alone, rather we are drawn to one another and our human spirit of compassion is unleashed.
Again, I don't know what the world will look like when you read this in early April. But I know with confidence that we, as your Chamber of Commerce, will be here. We will be working with leaders of businesses both large and small, Senators Thune and Rounds, Representative Johnson, Governor Noem and Mayor TenHaken to rebuild strength and confidence in greater Sioux Falls. The Chamber's board of directors, staff and I take our roles very seriously and we are honored to serve the community. Please know that our office is always a resource and vital link to our community's history. We stand in solidarity with you to overcome this historic challenge.