Some 10 years ago when I lost my reelection bid to the Maryland state Senate, I pondered what was next. This was unexpected and I did not have a backup plan. Fortunately, I was asked to lead a community health project and lend a hand to the Prince George’s Chamber of Commerce’s policy and lobbying work. Upon completion of this work, the Chamber’s Board asked if I would assume the President & CEO role. Never in my wildest imagination had I thought about leading a chamber.
Despite my reluctance in taking on this role, I accepted the challenge of leading a struggling organization that was on the brink of collapse and had lost its place of significance within the business and overall community. It was a roller coaster ride, ups and downs with considerable uncertainty of where the ride would take the organization.
All in all, the Chamber has met the challenge and to date is one of the leading regional business associations as the Voice of Wealth Creation. The Chamber boasts of approximately 600 members, is a significant voice in public and private procurement, helps its members connect with federal and state business grant programs, provides important advocacy in federal, state, and local legislation, and is at the regional table promoting transportation, regional equity, and workforce development. Even at this moment, the Chamber has received notification of a CareFirst grant award geared to helping small and minority businesses increase their capacity to win private procurement contracts.
Amid these achievements and incredible work, I have decided to step down as President & CEO and have accepted an offer to become Senior Director of Community Relations and Stakeholder Development at Kaiser Permanente of the Mid-Atlantic Region. Being President & CEO of this wonderful organization has been one of the most fulfilling professional experiences I have ever had. I am so inspired by the business leaders and entrepreneurs who routinely take risks and embrace uncertainty all in the name of service and dreams.
The Chamber’s accomplishment would not have been made possible without its dedicated team of Denise Staples, Chauka Reid & Donna Bryant. Their tireless work and talents were instrumental in the Chamber’s ascension. The Chamber’s Board of Directors consists of some of the most luminary leaders in the region and I am grateful for their trust and support. Perhaps an overused saying, but in this case, it is true – “It Takes Teamwork to Make the Dream Work.”
As I move on to my new role at Kaiser, I extend my heartfelt thanks to everyone who supported this adventure. Together, we made a difference and I look forward in this new adventure to helping communities thrive.
David C. Harrington
President & CEO
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