All In: A Recap of our 2024 Annual Meeting
Missed our 125th Annual Meeting? Here's some of our favorite moments.
January 29, 2024
Last Friday, January 26, The St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce celebrated it's 125th Annual Meeting presented by the Tampa Bay Rays, and hosted at the Foundation for a Healthy St. Petersburg for the second year in a row.
The entire community was invited to 'Rise & Shine' with us for this milestone event, where more than 300 of our members, partners and community leaders joined us for a morning of meaningful conversations over Kahwa coffee and lite bites.
With a lineup of St.Pete's most inspiring leaders and speakers, we were able to capture the Chamber's enduring legacy and commitment to fostering growth and collaboration in the St. Petersburg area.
Thank you to our speakers and presenters!
The Annual Meeting kicked off with a warm welcome from President & CEO of the Foundation for a Healthy St. Petersburg, Dr. Kanika Tomalin, who highlighted the importance of collaboration and equity, now more than ever.
Outgoing Chamber Board Chair, Jason Jensen of Wannemacher Jensen, took the stage for opening remarks, setting the tone for an inspiring day that emphasized the Chamber's dedication to supporting local businesses and driving economic prosperity.
Most notably, Jensen highlighted the Chamber's work towards equity and inclusion, including the revision of our mission statement in 2023 to add the words "for all in" so that the mission statement now reads:
"The St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce shall be the preeminent leader of business in order to ensure the economic growth and vitality for all in our community."
Jensen's highlights of 2023 emphasized togetherness, with a focus on celebrations and convenings, including "hitting the road together" with benchmarking trips to Austin, Orlando, Fort Myers, and our efforts in advocating regionally and locally in support of several issues including housing and zoning, and keeping the Tampa Bay Rays in St. Pete.
Jensen thanked his family, event sponsors, Chamber investors, his Board, and the 1300+ Chamber members who showed up to events, and supported the Chamber's efforts in 2023, including the Tampa Bay Rays who have been presenting sponsors of the Annual Meeting for over a decade.
Brian Auld, president of the Tampa Bay Rays, thanked the St. Petersburg Chamber for the long-time partnership and support, especially during efforts to keep the Rays in St. Pete, and provided a valuable perspective on the intersection of sports and business in the local community.
Auld went on to thank and introduce a key partner in the #HereToStay campaign - Mayor Ken Welch. The always-inspiring Mayor Welch, touched on the city's collaborative spirit and its vision for a vibrant and inclusive future.
Welch also mentioned his support of the Leadership Alliance, a 43-person team comprised of staff from the St. Pete Chamber, City of St. Pete, St. Petersburg Downtown Partnership, St. Petersburg Economic Development Corporation, and St. Petersburg College. Formed in 2023, the Alliance not only ensures alignment across the organizations, but across the community where every voice is heard.
Our President & CEO, Chris Steinocher, shared key insights into our business landscape, leaning on Chamber members in the audience to help illustrate and tell the story of our success, including several Chamber ambassadors and Board members who lead programs and initiatives.
Mindful of time, Steinocher encouraged everyone to read the 2024 Annual Report placed at each seat for an in-depth overview of our 2023 impact and stats, including the addition of 348 new members, the amount of ribbons cut for new businesses, the $55,750+ raised by Leadership St. Pete, total SPYP community service hours, and the amount paid back to artists in the St. Pete Store.
Adding a unique perspective to the event, keynote speaker, Ray Delahanty, an urban planner and transportation engineer known as 'CityNerd' on his Youtube Channel, offered a captivating presentation comparing St. Petersburg to other cities, shedding light on opportunities for growth and improvement, emphasizing parking reform and offering ideas on other land use and transportation issues.
Recognizing Excellence & Leadership
Before introducing Delahanty, Steinocher surprised long-time Chamber ambassador, Gregg Potter, with the Member of the Year Award. A tradition at each Annual Meeting, the award is given to a member who has gone above and beyond to support and represent the Chamber. Potter's unwavering commitment and contributions to the Chamber and the local business community were acknowledged with applause, underscoring the importance of individual efforts in collective success.
One of the key moments of the Annual Meeting was the announcement of the Board of Governors for 2024, which include a new Chairman and 9 new members:
- Michelle Detweiler
Parc Center for Disabilities
- Taylor Greer
Gilbane Building Company
- Wayne Hanewicz
- Donald Odom Jr.
- Raphael Perrier
- Lindsay Petty
- Scott Pickens
Global Resilience Institute
- Osama Sabbah
- Elizabeth Siplin
Empact Solutions LLC
The leadership transition was marked by the appointment of Jason Spears, representing Peninsular Mechanical, as the new Board Chair.
The Chamber expressed its gratitude to outgoing leaders while welcoming the fresh perspectives and ideas of the incoming board.
On the Bus & Moving Forward
As the St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce reflects on 125 years of service to the community, the Annual Meeting served as a poignant reminder of our resilience and adaptability. With new leadership, ongoing community support, and a shared vision for the future, we are poised to continue our legacy of driving economic growth and fostering collaboration in the St. Petersburg area.
The 125th Annual Meeting was more than a milestone; it was a celebration of the past, present, and future of the St. Petersburg business community, and a symbol of moving forward on the bus. All in. Together.
Brian Auld, President of the Tampa Bay Rays, and Mayor Ken Welch, City of St. Pete.
Keynote speaker, Ray Delahanty.
Outgoing Chair, Jason Jensen, and Incoming Chair, Jason Spears.
2024 Board Chairman, Jason Spears.
President & CEO, Chris Steinocher, and Jason Spears.
Jason Jensen, Mayor Ken Welch, Jason Spears, Brian Auld, and Chris Steinocher.