Leading SA: New president and CEO of North San Antonio Chamber of Commerce talks goals, leadership programs

Brett Finley was named to the role this week

SAN ANTONIO – The North San Antonio Chamber of Commerce represents more than 900 businesses from every area of the city with a wide range of industries from healthcare and biotechnology, to energy and telecommunications and seemingly everything in between.

The North San Antonio Chamber of Commerce now has a new president and CEO: Brett Finley was named to the role this week.

Finley joined KSAT live for Leading SA on Sunday to talk about the Chamber’s mission, goals and leadership programs.

“The mission of the North San Antonio Chamber of Commerce is to promote economic vitality for our members through free market advocacy, leadership, development, and business empowerment,” he said. “At the core of our chamber’s commitment lies really its unwavering focus on membership engagement. We placed a strong emphasis on workforce development and leadership initiatives through our renowned programs.”

Finley was elected just this week, and he already has goals for his first year.

“It’s an opportunity like no other, and I really believe my goals should align with the organization’s mission and the needs of its members and the community. We’re an advocacy organization, first and foremost. We want to be a unified voice for the business community. So we must continue to monitor and address legislative and regulatory issues that impact our members,” he said. “We want to strengthen existing relationships with elected officials and ensure that the Chamber’s voice is heard.”

One of the key elements of the Chamber is leadership. Its leadership programs are open to the public.

The North Chamber really prides itself on successful leadership programs, the North Chamber Leadership Lab and the Innovative Leadership program,” he said, adding that they’ve been successful for years. “The sustainability of the Chamber’s success over the years has really been in part because of its ability to develop its next chapter of leadership and get them into that business landscape, providing them skills, networking opportunities, and other various events along the way.”

There is optimism in the business community, but of course, small businesses are facing several challenges.

The economic downturn is inflationary times and cost more money specifically for, I think, our small businesses have been impacted the most. The cost of doing business has increased obviously, but also with changing consumer behavior to Max where, you know, we have consumers that don’t have as much discretionary income to be able to get out there and buy products, goods and services,” Finley said.

And it’s not just the obstacle of inflation.

“The proliferation of online shopping. That has certainly helped and impacted, I think, the issues that have gone down. I’m also still dealing with some supply chain issues, specifically in the manufacturing realm that have been addressed, but they could be more ideal. We have labor shortages. There have been improvements in workforce development, but certainly finding and retaining skilled workers can be a significant challenge, especially in industries like healthcare, technology and hospitality industries. So we got to ensure that employees have the necessary skills and training for the jobs of the future,” Finley said.

As artificial intelligence is at the forefront of people’s minds, integrating those services into the business community could be key.

“I think finally, technology right we hear so much about artificial intelligence has really changed the landscape for businesses. We live in a digital age. So keeping up with those technological advancements and implementing e-commerce solutions can be challenging at times for businesses without significant resources. But that is going to be a challenge. And I think also that goes with technology and innovation in cybersecurity,” Finley said.

Even with the challenges, Finley said the future for San Antonio is bright.

“There’s a tremendous opportunity. And we’ve seen developments, obviously, with the San Antonio International Airport getting a nonstop flight over to Frankfurt, Germany. That’s going to be launching in May of 2024. We’ve seen their big development. I think it’s really going to put San Antonio on much more of a global map than ever before. I know what the North San Antonio Chamber is, we stand ready to partner with governmental agencies and other community partners,” he said.

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About the Author:

Max Massey is the GMSA weekend anchor and a general assignments reporter. Max has been live at some of the biggest national stories out of Texas in recent years, including the Sutherland Springs shooting, Hurricane Harvey and the manhunt for the Austin bomber. Outside of work, Max follows politics and sports, especially Penn State, his alma mater.