Charles Kapur, a lifelong resident of Northern Virginia and a banking industry professional, is now at the helm of the Greater Reston of Commerce. As Kapur begins his position as president and CEO, Reston Now discussed his upcoming priorities and goals for the chamber.
What are your top three goals over the next year?
The goals that I have in this role over the next three years will be principally guided by the strategic plan that was recently adopted by our Board of Directors. This plan represents the culmination of a strategic process that was conducted by special committee of board members earlier this year. The plan consists of three overarching pillars.
First, we aim to raise awareness of Reston’s position as a regional leader in this market and a premier destination for business leaders seeking diversity of resources and connectivity to top influencers. Second, we will increase value to our members by evaluating how our membership models can best attract and engage businesses seeking to leverage the mission-driven marketing, business networking and educational opportunities we provide. Lastly, the Reston Chamber will grow in promoting workforce development to meet the pressing needs of the region’s employers. We will work with respected partners, along with enhancing our existing program offerings, to help shape a more nimble and capable workforce that will best support the entrepreneurial infrastructure of our region.
As more businesses come to the area, how do you think the chamber should evolve to meet the needs of the growing business community?
The activities of a truly effective chamber of commerce are those that most accurately reflect the business goals and objectives of its membership. As the composition of the surrounding business community evolves, so, too, must the Greater Reston of Commerce evolve our programming to continue to serve as a catalyst for entrepreneurial growth in our region. There are a number of ways this is accomplished. We must continue to empower the members who lead our various committees and councils to enhance the events they produce throughout the year. We’re also constantly securing member input from a variety of local, economic sectors to confirm we’re hitting the mark on the value of our programs. We’re also improving the methods we employ to connect with our membership – developing a more well-defined strategy of using the latest social media and communication channels to keep current, and prospective members, fully aware of the benefits we provide.
In what ways do you plan to bring creativity and innovation to your position and the chamber’s position within the business community?
Creativity and innovation born in isolation will not allow the Greater Reston Chamber to be as effective as we want to be. My goal is to be able to engage with as diverse a mix of our members early and often as I transition into the role of the CEO. I’ve been a member of the Northern Virginia business community my entire professional career. I’ve engaged with numerous business development and networking platforms in that time. I’ve also, at one time or another, participated with events many of the chambers of commerce in our region. My goal is to incorporate the feedback I receive from our membership, my own past professional experiences, and the relationships I’ve built with my neighboring chamber colleagues to develop new events that highlight the diversity of the industries we support, promote regional collaboration with neighboring organizations and better reflect the changing ways in which business professional engage with each other.
What is the top challenges faced by the chamber in the next 3 – 5 years and how do you plan to address it?
The top challenge facing the Chamber over the next 3 – 5 years is maintaining our value to an increasingly diverse and evolving marketplace. Economic development in this region is exploding. We’ve seen, over the last few years, the impact of organizations like Nestle, Amazon and Micron growing their presence. We’re seeing greater entrepreneurship as other businesses migrate to this region to be a part of that growth. These businesses will continue to evolve the methods they employ to grow their networks, develop their workforce and meet their business development objectives. The Chamber’s ability to adapt our programs, our communications and our delivery channels will be critical to our success in maintaining relevancy in the marketplace. My plan is to consistently, and strategically, evaluate how we deliver those mission-driven activities throughout the year and be reactive to identified opportunities for improvement. In a market as dynamic as we have, there is no such thing as maintaining the status quo. You are either moving forward with a goal of continued improvement or you are preparing to recede in your ability to serve your constituents.
Photo via Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce