The Indianapolis Rainbow Chamber of Commerce is undergoing a leadership change, which change will likely result in an organization of much greater benefit to the members of the Chamber, to the glbt business community, and to Indianapolis at large.
President since the founding of the organization, I am exiting that position, just as Jon Keep (of IBM) is exiting the position of Chairman of the Board of Directors, which he has also held since the founding of the organization. The founding board, Jon and I all shared a common sense of mission, namely, developing a credible business organization with which glbt-owned and allied businesses could affiliate, network, demonstrate support for the community, identify themselves to glbt customers, and promote the city's economic development.
Jon and I especially have concentrated on promoting the community's efforts in civil rights and gaining for the glbt community a formal seat at the table in Indianapolis. We are pleased with a great deal of success that has flowed from a strong board, dedicated and supportive membership, and sheer perseverence. Introducing itself in 2001, we believe the Chamber has played a helpful and supportive role in promoting the efforts of Indy Pride, Indy Black Pride, Indiana Equality, Lambda Legal, The National GBLT Chamber of Commerce, and democratic and executive progress in nondiscrimination. We feel a special pride in the organization's early and unconditional support for the transgendered community, and a deep appreciation for the contributions the transgendered have made to the Chamber throughout our history.
We are pleased that the Chamber has been a welcomed presence at the Diversity Council, a forum consisting of the Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce, the City of Indianapolis, the Hispanic, Asian, and Black business organizations. We are pleased to have joined and cooperated with the Indianapolis Visitor and Convention Association (ICVA) and the Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce, and proud to have both those organizations as members of our own.
But it has long been past time for change at the Chamber. Visits with other Chambers and with the National Chamber have persuaded us that the Indianapolis Rainbow Chamber is nowhere near its potential, that there is so much more we can do. This week the Chamber is releasing to the public news of significant changes, which have been a long time coming. The most immediately obvious among these changes is that Jon Keep and I being replaced as Chairman and President respectively, to be succeeded by Jeff Newman as Chairman of the Board and James Kuester as President. While we will remain on the Board and retain our focus on civil rights, the new leadership will assume as its primary focus business development for the Chamber, for its members, and for the City of Indianapolis.
The chief executive capacity will remain in the Presidency. James Kuester, a member of the Board from the Chamber's founding, has exciting ideas and direction, which we defer to him to unveil. Jeff Newman, who has done so much hard work both for gayindy.org and for indyrainbowchamber.org, will chair Board meetings (think of him as stately King to Jame's Prime Minister!). Board members Tara Betterman and Patricia McIntyre are in the wings as Treasurer and Secretary, Bob Chenowith (communications) and Chad Secrist (Vice President) also serve on the board as major contributors to the organization's success.
We have appreciated the support of the community. New members are always welcomed, and anyone who has any interest in becoming active should contact the Chamber through our website. We hope to see you at our next afterhours event.