On behalf of the SF Chamber of Commerce, I want to wish you all a Happy Lunar New Year of the Ox! Oxen are the hard workers in the background, intelligent and reliable, but never demanding praise. They are honest, earnest, and trustworthy. I believe that the Chamber personifies the characteristics of the Ox, especially as we fight for the voice of the business community in San Francisco, the Bay Area, and the State of California every day. I want to share a few thoughts as we enter into this challenging year ahead.
First, I want to recognize and thank my fellow board members. I am serving in my second year as the Chairwoman of the Board and am honored to have a stellar Executive Committee and Board of Directors by my side. We are committed to continuing to build our board from a lens of diversity, equity, and inclusivity, as well as a solid combination of industries and size of businesses. As we enter the second year of the global pandemic, our goal is to represent the business community and all of our stakeholders in as many ways as possible. We will continue to fight for the business community and ensure that our voice is heard. The pandemic has truly hit all of us very hard; we will persist in addressing the difficult issues that lay immediately ahead while also setting a strategic direction for the future.
Let me also thank each and every member of our team at the Chamber, led by our fearless CEO Rodney Fong, for all of their dedication and hard work. We have had to change our approach, think creatively and still maintain our standard of excellence in delivering the products and services that our membership expects from us. We have come through 2020, with our heads held high and our path more clearly defined. As 2021 continues to unfold, we will continue to be a leading, innovative voice for business in San Francisco as the City gradually reopens.
Collectively, we are exploring formidable questions. How do we redefine and revitalize San Francisco’s economic core after COVID-19? How can we assist our small businesses, restaurants, hotels, and other critical businesses in San Francisco to rebuild and rebound in 2021? How can we keep our streets safe and clean for those who work, live, and visit here? How can we create a business environment where businesses want to stay in our beloved City? Not only will our neighborhoods and downtown look and feel different, but our workplaces and offices will certainly be operating in a ‘new normal’ environment. Some of our beloved businesses have already left San Francisco, and many more are making tough decisions about their future as we speak. We must urgently address these critical issues with our government, business, non-profit, and civic leaders, especially when onerous legislation and regulation continue to be introduced.
We welcome your ideas, suggestions, and participation as we move this dialogue forward. We cannot do this alone – we need active participation from every member of the business community as we enter 2021. Let’s continue to learn from each other’s ‘best practices’ and patronize our local businesses. Let’s recognize and support the incredible work of our non-profits, teachers, essential and health care workers, who have sacrificed so much for all of us. They are the soul of our City. Every ounce of kindness helps as we move forward. We will persevere together, with the characteristics of the Ox of strength, intelligence, resiliency, and trust at the core of our actions. Let’s rise up, inspire each other, and power through 2021!
Melinda Yee Franklin
Chair, San Francisco Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors
West Region Executive, Community Engagement/Corporate Responsibility
JPMorgan Chase & Co.