Leadership Trip to New Orleans Inspires Innovation

NEW ORLEANS, La. - A group of 30 local business leaders joined the Eastern Shore Chamber of Commerce on a Leaders Exchange to New Orleans, Louisiana, October 22-24 to share ideas and identify ways our local partnerships can work together to help the Eastern Shore prosper. The group was made up of Chamber board members, Leaders Council members, elected officials and committee chairmen.

The delegation first heard from Wiley Blankenship from the Coastal Alabama Partnership who talked about how organizations like the Eastern Shore Chamber are joining forces with other groups across Mobile and Baldwin Counties to push initiatives that will benefit Coastal Alabama. The group then heard from a similar organization in Louisiana, Greater New Orleans Inc. They’re also leveraging their partners to bolster economic development in the region. Other speakers included the New Orleans Chamber of Commerce, New Orleans Convention and Visitor’s Bureau and the New Orleans Small Business Alliance.

"Learning more about my fellow business leaders and exploring successful case studies and innovative ideas in New Orleans has been invaluable,” said Mary Mullins Redditt of MPACT Public Affairs Consulting.

The second day of the Leaders Exchange gave the group an opportunity to learn about Junior Achievement of Greater New Orleans and tour their BizTown, a mock city that gives 5th grade students a hands-on opportunity to learn life skills. Students start the day by taking out a business loan to run restaurants, banks, stores and non-profits. They create a business model and spend the day working to earn enough money to pay off their loan. Students learn how to write checks and pay bills. The Eastern Shore Chamber group got a chance to interact with these students as they vied for their business. This BizTown encouraged the Eastern Shore delegation to think outside the box when it comes to how we foster the Eastern Shore’s upcoming workforce.

"The similar challenges between the two regions are real. The investment in our youth is the ultimate goal, providing alternate routes for success is a common theme,” said Nathan Dunn with Fulcrum Construction.

While the delegation used the better part of each day to learn what initiatives were working and what wasn’t in New Orleans, they also had numerous opportunities to network with each other, building stronger working relationships and partnerships. Each participant was encouraged to spend time during each meal getting to know someone new, as they enjoyed delicious food at Criollo, Ralph’s on the Park, Galatoire’s & a cocktail party at Board Member Jennie Campbell's home.

"This was my first leadership trip and it truly was amazing. We have amazing leaders in our area and this really allowed us to get together to learn, grow and enjoy fellowship,” said Diane Anderson from Hartmann, Blackmon & Kilgore.

The Eastern Shore Chamber of Commerce would like to thank Jennie Campbell for her help connecting the delegation with organizations and speakers in New Orleans. Chamber staff and member leaders will now take what they’ve learned back to the Eastern Shore to collaborate on ideas to move the community forward.


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