Chamber celebrates a phenomenal year at 122nd Annual Gala

Our 122nd Annual Gala, held at the beautiful Hemisfair Ballroom at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center, was truly a spectacular event. 2017 Chamber Chairman and McCombs Partners CEO James “Rad” Weaver gave over 800 attendees a look into the Chamber’s priorities for next year and thanked 2016 Chamber Chairwoman Renée Flores, Regional Vice President for External and Legislative Affairs for AT&T, for doing a tremendous job this year. Weaver’s priorities include focusing on talent development through mentorships, through a program called Mentor SA, and promoting community health and wellness.

“Can we take a moment to salute Renée?”, 2017 Chamber Chairman and CEO of McCombs Partners Rad Weaver asked a crowd of San Antonio’s community leaders at our 122nd Gala on December 1. Our 2017 Chairman, Weaver, reserved time at the beginning of his address as incoming Chamber Chairman to thank our 2016 Chairman Renée Flores, Regional Vice President for External and Legislative Affairs at AT&T.

“The greatest compliment you can give a person is that you left a place better than you found it,” Rad told Renée. “I would say, Renée, you left this place better than when you found it. Thank you for that,” Weaver said as the crowd of more than 800 business leaders, elected officials and future entrepreneurs applauded our 2016 Chairman for a job well done.

“We have local leaders and their families here tonight,” Renée Flores said as the Gala program began in the Hemisfair Ballroom at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center. “We have community volunteers, elected officials, we have first-responders and we have our military. Thank you so much for being here tonight. Not only are we a cross-section of San Antonio, you are San Antonio,” she told the audience.

Flores led the Chamber during a fantastic year which saw several major accomplishments, like the release of the Chamber’s bi-annual Economic Impact Study of the Healthcare and Biosciences Industry, the Biz4SA effort, the creation of the Good to Great to Global (G3) taskforce as well as the launch of the Build Sec Foundry, a cybersecurity incubator that helps to accelerate product-based security startups here in San Antonio. With Flores passing the torch to Weaver, how will the McCombs Partners CEO follow up her stellar 2016?

“As Chairman I’m choosing to focus extensive time on healthcare and education,” Weaver said, giving attendees insight into the Chamber’s priorities for 2017.
“The national perception of San Antonio is that we’re an unhealthy city,” he said. “That’s bad for business. An unhealthy workforce is bad for business too. This is unnecessary and fixable. We are going to focus on health and nutrition education. We are going to promote the use of community assets. We have some great community assets that, in my opinion, are very under-utilized. Like our many local bike trails and the amazing, beautiful parks we have here in San Antonio. These are terribly under-used, so we need to get out and tell that story.”

Weaver closed his inaugural speech as Chamber Chairman by announcing a new program called Mentor SA, which he dedicated to his own mentor, Red McCombs.

“We are going to start development on mentorships, including Pre-K through twelfth grade where employers can engage in school-based, community-based reading mentorships,” Rad revealed. “We  will also have post-secondary internships where employers can mentor college students and provide internships and engage in mentor opportunities. The program will also involve young professional mentorships. We will then, in turn, ask these young professionals to turn around and mentor those in Pre-K through the twelfth grade.”

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