Business, government, school and community leaders will gather in Greenville this weekend for the Greater Sumter Chamber of Commerce's annual planning retreat.
This year, the event, scheduled today to Sunday, will bring more than 150 participants …
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This year, the event, scheduled today to Sunday, will bring more than 150 participants together to discuss the future of the Chamber.
"At our retreat last year, we began working on our strategic plan. We conducted breakout sessions and asked our members what issues the Chamber should work on to improve the community," Chris Hardy, president and CEO of the group, said. "We then came back and conducted SWOT analyses, focus groups and personal meetings with committees and members over the last year. The result of that work is our three-year strategic plan that we will reveal at the event."
The strategic plan includes goals for the organization regarding each of its seven bodies of work, which include education, small business and military affairs.
The agenda for the event includes break-out sessions where attendees will be able to give feedback on how they think the Chamber should proceed in working toward the goals outlined in the plan.
"The retreat is an important step for us," said Donny Hines, incoming chairman of the board for the Chamber and planning chair for the event, "in bringing together Chamber members and community leaders to get everyone on the same page about the direction the Chamber will take to accomplish its strategic plan."
Hines, a Sumter native and small business owner, said he hopes to get valuable input about "efforts already taking place in the community that we may be able to partner with and help grow to work toward our goals, as well as to identify areas where there is a deficit and to outline steps that the Chamber should take to implement a plan for community success."
Nicole Bailey, vice president of operations for the Chamber, said the attendees will include private citizens, small business owners and public officials.
"This mix is essential to the success of the event. Our mission is to promote an ideal business environment that supports growth and total community development, and that growth and development is both dependent upon and integral to all of the folks who will be in attendance," Bailey said.
On Sunday, a recap of the breakout sessions will be given with community update reports from the Young Professionals of Sumter, Sumter Economic Development, City of Sumter and Sumter County.
Debbie Hamm, acting superintendent of Sumter School District, will also join the group to talk about the state of public schools in the county, and Maj. Gen. Scott Zobrist will address attendees on happenings at Shaw Air Force Base.
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