(MENAFN- BCW Global) Dubai UAE – Now is the time for chambers of commerce to adopt new strategic plans and turn their plans into action as they navigate their way through the post-Covid era and prepare for the future.
That was the message from Ted Souder, Head of Industry–Retail, Google and Vice-Chair Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce, who today delivered the keynote address at the 12th World Chambers Congress in Dubai.
Kicking off day three of the Congress during a session entitled Pioneers of progress: Call to action! Souder called on chamber leaders to take action and walk the talk.
“We’re never going back to 2019 and we have to build a new strategic vision for the future. Chambers are at the centre of the community, and now more than ever, we have an opportunity to lead and to help our communities rise,” he said.
Souder said that the congress was focused on action and that this was the chambers’ moment, adding that members should take inspiration from Expo 2020 Dubai, where 192 countries have come together to showcase their culture and the opportunities of the future.
He continued by stressing that digitalisation was going to have “a profound impact not only on your business, but your community and your life,” adding that with the coronavirus having created new realities, a new updated business model was needed for chambers to remain relevant.
“The 400-year-old chamber business model was just trucking right along. The pandemic was almost like this giant global pause, but it was also a great reset in the sense that over the past year-and-a-half, we've seen incredible progress towards getting our way out of the pandemic. Industries have started to reopen. People have started to travel again. Here we are in-person, so there's progress being made,” he said.
Souder continued by saying that new businesses have been able to emerge out of the pandemic and the common thread was digitalisation. He referred to megatrends such as fintech and cybersecurity, adding that the next time such a pandemic happens, chambers of commerce will be in a better position.
He said that chambers must lead by example and leverage new partnerships, emphasising the need to make better use of data, as “it will make you more resilient in the future.”
Souder also praised the hybrid format of the congress, which has seen people participating from around the world as well as attending in person, saying: “The future is hybrid.” He concluded with “Let's get things done so that when we meet in Geneva in two years, we can tell all the progress that has been made by all of you, the members.”
The 12th World Chambers Congress is co-organised by Dubai Chamber, the International Chamber of Commerce and its World Chambers Federation under the theme Generation Next: Chambers 4.0.
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