Celebrating a strong foundation at Annual Meeting
The Chamber's Annual Meeting offers the opportunity for members to celebrate the accomplishments of the previous year, thank those who served in leadership, and look ahead to what the future holds.
Nearly 1,000 Chamber members gathered on January 27 at the Oasis Hotel & Convention Center to participate in this annual tradition.
The focus of this year’s event was creating a strong foundation for growth. The event was themed around the oak tree, because of its strength, sturdiness, stability, and longevity - symbolic of this Chamber which has served members in the Springfield area for more than a century.
“Also associated with the oak, is the acorn - a symbol of growth and unlimited potential,” said Chamber President Matt Morrow. “The acorn teaches us about our own potential - how one acorn can grow into a massive oak and seed a whole forest. A great analogy for the Chamber’s role in the business and broader community.”
The Chamber’s role in the community was a continuing theme through the speeches of both the outgoing chairman of the Chamber Board of Directors and the incoming chairman.
Oke-Thomas + Associates owner, John Oke-Thomas, who chaired the board in 2022, talked about the accomplishments of the past year - like successful advocacy for business priorities in the state legislature.
“In 2022, we experienced significant legislative wins for business,” said John Oke-Thomas. “This kind of success doesn’t happen overnight. These wins are a result of years of work on the Chamber’s member-driven legislative priorities.”
The advantage of having a strong foundation was a central idea for incoming chairman Joselyn Baldner of Central Bank of the Ozarks. She highlighted that this is the time to reinforce our foundation, enabling our community to grow and thrive.
“Right now, a strong Chamber, an engaged business community, and having decision makers that understand the fundamentals of economic and workforce development, matter more than ever,” she said.
The evening culminated with the announcement of Joe Carmichael as the 2023 Springfieldian. Joe accepted the award with humility and gratitude.
“Over the years, when good things have happened in Springfield, the Chamber has always been there, they’ve been upfront and leading the pack,” Carmichael said. “It’s truly an honor to be honored by this organization.”