Last week, Santee went to Portland, Oregon! Well, maybe not all of town went and it was just me who visited the Pacific Northwest. Luckily, I was surrounded by over 400 other chamber professionals as I attended the annual Conference hosted by the Western Association of Chamber Executives. This was my third year in attendance and the best conference for me thus far. I guess I am bias as I have also been attending an annual Academy via W.A.C.E. each summer and after completion of said program, myself along with 27 other colleagues graduated from the Academy with a ceremony at this year's Conference.
Academy is an interactive 3-day (three year) training program on chamber management essentials designed for today’s chamber executives and staff professionals. During the three-year Academy program, graduates participated in 18 three-hour classes and must successfully complete additional independent study outside of the classroom.W.A.C.E is an association of chamber of commerce executives and staff professionals designed to promote and enhance professional development. With approximately 870 members from nineteen Western states and Canada, W.A.C.E. is the largest state or regional association of chamber of commerce executives in the United States.
After over three years of working towards this goal, I want to thank John Olsen (my predecessor) for introducing me to this program, my Board of Directors (past and present) for budgeting for my professional development each year, the fellow chamber executives I've met along the way who have become amazing mentors and even better friends, and of course our members for giving me a reason to want and achieve.