21 December 2021
To our BJCC community,
This President’s Address will most certainly be the hardest to write, not only reflecting on a year that presented new, and what felt like old challenges, but an address that may do justice to my own journey with the chamber starting over 8 years ago, with 5 as your very proud and passionate President.
2021 saw the chamber embark on another audacious calendar of events in our continuous strive forward for both personal and professional growth. And in our efforts to ‘return to normal’, we saw a vast appetite from our community to listen, learn and grow together, support and champion our local businesses and celebrate a home Olympics in the not too distant future. To see events repeatedly sell out and capped off by the massive and stunning, Christmas at The Calile, is nothing short of energising.
The year also marked the launch of our Mentoring Program to great success and without doubt now a mainstay for the future, as well as our Alumni and history program celebrating the 90+ year history of your chamber in our fantastic city. Advocacy continued to play a larger role in your chamber’s efforts and growth with important topics on a number of fronts and aspirational ideas for good measure, alongside day to day business impacts and relief to foster our local economy and jobs.
We also saw the chambers first foray into commercialisation off the back of the success of SafeVisit, with the now burgeoning SafeTicket (which you’d be familiar with at some recent chamber events). Without being cringeworthy, this was the chambers ‘pivot’ in 2020 and has provided direct local employment opportunities this year and well beyond. As an ongoing part owner of this entity, we expect future chamber growth and prosperity – along with more crazy ideas – from this commercial opportunity.
All of this combined with incredibly strong membership growth, corporate partnerships and sponsorships, and an executive already raring to go for 2022, it is an unbelievably exciting time for your chamber. Fret not, the chamber has an endless future long beyond just myself.
My own journey as President is coming to a close, with my final event now behind me. Little did I expect when I first attended an event over eight years ago, I would find myself a committee member, let alone your President helping to drive forward such a growing and present force within Brisbane & Queensland. Honestly, it will be bittersweet to watch the chamber excel well into the future without being close to the centre of the action. But I fully appreciate my role was never one of self service, it is one of servitude and being a custodian of the present and future with respect for the past.
My thanks go to so many: members, fellow committee, ambassadors, sponsors, partners, supporters, for each and all of you contributed so much (most of it hidden), but without any of you we would not in anyway, find ourselves here. Thank you to all of you, I won’t soon forget any of you.
It has been my honour, my pleasure, my thrill to be your President, especially for such an extended period. We have grown, failed and succeeded together. We have laughed, cried and learnt together. We have lived the good, the bad and the pandemic together. The chamber now moves ahead without me, but a piece of me will hopefully always remain there, because the chamber won’t ever leave me.
Thank you for it all, it’s meant more than I could ever say.
Your President, Nathan Schokker 👋