Category Archives: Announcements


Adam Putnam | The American Recovery & Reinvestment Act

The Lakeland Area Chamber of Commerce and its Public Affairs Key Strategic Initiative hosted a presentation yesterday morning by Congressman Adam Putnam entitled “The American Recovery and  Reinvestment Act: How Will The Federal Stimulus Package Affect You and Your Business?”. 

Congressman Putnam presented a backdrop to the events leading up to our present day economic crisis and then commented on the who, what, when and where of the recently-passed economic stimulus package.  The in-person audience at the event, held at the City of Lakeland City Hall, was estimated at 120 while another 164 joined at least a portion of the presentation via the webcast.  Questions were offered by both audience members in person and via the webcast.

Thanks to Congressman Putnam for your willingness to meet with our Chamber members.

The presentation is also available for listening anytime  or view below.



You may have seen the Chamber’s video livestream earlier this morning of Congressman Adam Putnam’s presentation at the Lakeland City Hall Commission Chambers.  If you would like to hear the audio from the Congressman’s presentation, you can play the mp3 below or follow our podcast at


Marketing Mondays – One Bite at a Time

Here’s another one from the American Express OPEN Forum.

Deborah Chaddock Brown opened her freelance writing business AllWrite Ink in 2004 after almost 17 years with the International retail optical corporation, Pearle Vision. Deborah’s background is in franchising, operations, marketing and communication, however, her passion is helping businesses connect with their target audience using the Internet. Deborah blogs at Websites People Read.

Face Your Economic Crisis One Bite at a TimeI run a home based business and yesterday afternoon I went up to my bedroom to put something away and discovered that I’d left my bed unmade when I’d risen at 5:30am. I reached over the mattress to pull up the covers and found myself crawling, fully clothed between the flannel sheets. I pulled my blankets up over my nose which left my eyes peaking out and my brain running at full speed.

‘How will I find the funds to send my oldest to college in September and what about the braces my youngest needs? My dad, who lives 2000 miles away has just been admitted to the hospital for unknown reasons and the distance between us has never felt more immense. The economy is taking a toll on my business and the idea of just staying under the covers seems like the only solution.’

However, as I laid there I realized that at some point I’d need to get up. The challenges I faced before I pulled up the covers would still be there crying out for attention. I needed to take action, but how? One baby step at a time.

You’ve heard the old joke: How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.

The same philosophy works for facing a challenge; like surviving the next 12 months. Economists theorize that Q1 09 will be tough and Q2 may be as tough but by the second half of the year we should start to see a slow movement towards improvement. Just like the extra weight we carry didn’t happen over night, neither did the economic crisis. And we can’t expect to wake up and suddenly be a size 6 without some effort.

So here’s how I see it: we just need to make it eleven more months. Are you with me? We just need to hang in there. So how are we going to do that?

Take action one baby step at a time.

  • Categorize the income producing projects you have on your plate into those that are most likely to bring you steady income the quickest.
  • Write down a laundry list of everything you need to do to make them happen.
  • Prioritize the laundry list.
  • Make a list of those people you know who might be considered centers of influence (check out Bill Cates’ definition).
  • Add to your calendar a schedule of contacting those people and letting them know you are available for work.
  • Contact prior customers to see if they need additional services or if they can make a recommendation.
  • Review your products and services and break them down into two categories: big money makers that take a while to close and small income producers that are quicker to sell.
  • Consider adopting a strategy of selling 100 services/products at a smaller dollar amount than your prior focus of selling 10 really big projects.
  • Now get started! Start each day:

    • Review your laundry list of items that need to be done to drive traffic: do ONE thing.
    • Review your list of centers of influence: call ONE person.
    • Review your list of past customers for additional revenue or a referral: call ONE customer.
    • Review your listing of small, quick selling products and services: call ONE person who might be interested.

    If after doing those four things you still feel like you need to pull the covers over your head. . . TAKE A WALK.

    Real Age has an article about crushing your chocolate cravings by taking a walk. The same thought can be applied to feeling low or stuck in a rut. Get out and breathe in the fresh air. It’s not only good for your heart, but also for your spirit.

    Pulling the covers over your head may seem like a solution but it is really just a delaying tactic. We need to stand up and take action.

    “Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come. You wait and watch and work: You don’t give up.” Anne Lamott

    Check out Todd Carpenter’s story of using the “one bite at a time” theory for his personal success.

    What an encouraging, helpful reminder (it seems like we need to hear this type of thing pretty often right now)!  What steps are you taking daily to stay out from under the covers?


    Leadership Lakeland

    Did you know that Leadership Lakeland is accepting nominations for the next class?  The Leadership Lakeland program has been in existence for 26 years through the Lakeland Area Chamber of Commerce.

    Why would anyone invest their time and energy in such a program?   Why would any company pay for their employees to participate in such a program?  The people who can give you the best answers to those questions are the graduates themselves. 

    One graduate I spoke to at this year’s Tiger BBQ, Fred Lopez (Allen & Company), said that it was the best thing he has ever done.   He added that the deep meaningful relationships that he shares with his classmates is something he doesn’t think he could have Leadership Lakeland Logoachieved anywhere else….particularly the diverse friends that he met through his class.  

    So, what does building meaningful relationships with a diverse group of people have to do with leadership, you might ask.     I answer:  Everything.   

    At the foundation of leadership is trust.  The less trust that exists, the less leadership is effective.  When leadership is not effective, productivity suffers.   That’s what happens in the workplace, in the community, and in every other group you could list – including family.

    Another graduate, Jim Rhodes (Publix), told me that until he went through the program, he THOUGHT he was knowledgeable about the community  because he had grown up in Lakeland.   It was after he graduated that he realized that he was wrong.  It was after the program that he became fully connected to the community and became involved at a level that is exhausting to even list.   He says that the Leadership Lakeland experience changed his life.  He is a volunteer – extraordinaire!

    Shawn McDonough (Exity Realty Lakeland), a current class member, told me last week that any day that is not a Leadership Lakeland day is boring by contrast,  and he is already dreading the end of the year and graduation.  

    Last week I met with a representative from a company who has locations in 3 areas of Florida – one of them is in Lakeland at Lakeside Village.   We talked about ‘sense of community’.   It is palpable in Lakeland and it is not in the other cities she has store fronts.

    Many of us experience that ‘sense of community’ and I believe that the Leadership Lakeland program has contributed to that community spirit.   That’s what Leadership Lakeland is all about – bringing 30 people together – people of diverse backgrounds – people who have already demonstrated a commitment to Lakeland – to spend a year together.  During the year they learn more about themselves, their classmates an the community.   

    At the end of the year, they are more connected and engaged in sustaining Lakeland as a Community of Choice.   They take the experiences and the knowledge they acquired through the year and apply it throughout their entire sphere of influence.   And just to extend the experience, the Leadership Lakeland Alumni Association is available to broaden the circle even wider.

    This is important:  

    Step 1:   The nomination form, additional information can be found here. The deadline for receiving nominations is April 9.  You can nominate anyone – even yourself.   Nomination forms will also be available in the March issue of the Chamber’s newsletter.

    Step 2:  All who are nominated are sent application instructions.   The selection process is completed by the end of June.   The dates for the next class are posted on the nomination form and the website and our attendance requirements are very firm.

    The selection of 30 class members is strategic.  We want to be able to maximize the experience and develop an esprit de corps among the class members.