By Maria Saporta
The Metro Atlanta Chamber has secured Marty Flanagan, CEO of Invesco, to serve as its chair in 2020, it was announced today at the business organization’s annual luncheon on the field of Mercedes-Benz Stadium in front of 2,000 people.
The luncheon also had the symbolic passing of the baton from Jeffrey Sprecher, the 2017 Chamber chair who is the founder, chairman and CEO of Intercontinental Exchange, chairman of the New York Stock Exchange.
The 2018 chair of the Chamber is Russell Stokes, president and CEO of GE Power. David Abney, president and CEO of UPS, will serve as the Chamber’s chair in 2019, the year Atlanta will host the Super Bowl.
The Chamber also announced the creation of THEA (the A – for Atlanta), its first video streaming network o showcase the work, journey and influence of Atlanta’s creators.
THEA is part of the Chamber’s ongoing quest to attract young talent to the Atlanta region, and it is an extension of the organization’s ChooseATL marketing campaign.
“It’s all about next generation talent,” said Hala Moddelmog, president and CEO of the Metro Atlanta Chamber, in an interview before the meeting. “We developed this so we would have legitimate way to speak to the next generation of talent.”
THEA currently includes 15 channel partners with more than 130 videos in categories like entertainment, music, food and technology, according to Kate Atwood, executive director of ChooseATL.
“Metro Atlanta’s continued success will rely on our ability to prepare the next generation for the high-tech positions at our companies and those that will locate here in the future,” said Sprecher , founder, chairman and CEO of Intercontinental Exchange, chairman of the New York Stock Exchange, in a statement. “We’re up for the challenge. We have the jobs of tomorrow, and we’re producing the talent to fill those positions today.”
The Metro Atlanta Chamber also will continue to reinforce its strategic pillars and focus on industry clusters where Atlanta already has reached critical mass, such as cybersecurity, global health, IoT, fintech and entrepreneurship.
But Moddelmong said there will be a new emphasis in 2018.
“2018 is our year to work more tactically around improving economic mobility,” she said. “We all know where Atlanta stands in that group. As we look deeper and deeper into that data, the Southeast doesn’t do well… We would like to see Atlanta break out of that.”
As an example, Moddelmog said the Chamber would work even harder on building out transit in the region – not just as a way to alleviate congestion but as a way to provide greater access to jobs in the metro area.
The Chamber continue to work with Gov. Nathan Deal and the Georgia General Assembly for pro-business legislation and to protect Georgia’s reputation as the number one state for doing business.
Specifically, the No. 1 item in the Chamber’s 2017-2018 Policy Agenda is the following:
Protect Georgia’s Reputation as a Leading State for Business: Defend against legislative measures that would negatively impact our business climate, are discriminatory in nature or would harm our ability to create, recruit, retain and expand jobs.
While it doesn’t say so explicitly, that statement demonstrates that the Chamber will continue to fight against any religious freedom legislation that might be presented during the 2018 state legislative session.
That’s considered to be essential if Atlanta and Georgia are serious about wanting to attract the second headquarters for Amazon and to continue being a destination for major sporting events like the Super Bowl.
The Chamber also will create and leverage digital tools to convey the region’s unique attributes and strengths to talent, site selectors, CEOs and others around the world.
It will accelerate education efforts and work to expand access to the HOPE Scholarship and needs-based aid programs. These are critical areas tied to meeting our region’s workforce needs and closing the talent gap.
“Talent has become more and more of a priority,” said Atwood, who describe THEA as a way of speaking to millennials and the younger generations.
But it’s not just marketing. Moddelmog said the region having a vibrant quality of life will be key.
“The No. 1 indicator that millennials consider where they want to live is a vibrant culture,” said Moddelmog, who added that THEA will be a way for young people to tell their stories in an authentic way. “We have got some true believers out there.”