During this uncertain time, it feels like our days blur together. I am grateful that I have our team’s Monday 9 a.m. meeting to help me prepare for the week ahead.
This checkpoint helps us reunite and refocus on our singular goal: working together to help our region’s small businesses and community navigate through the response and recovery to the health and economic crises caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
While these past nine weeks have been a struggle for every business, our team has developed many incremental, but extraordinarily impactful ways to offer support and assistance. We are representing the private sector in the Grand Traverse County Joint Operations Center and Emergency Operations Center.
We are convening local, state, and national experts for webinars and events open to all northern Michigan businesses, compiling resources and guidance for safe business operations, and advocating for small businesses with local, state, and national policymakers.
There’s another regular touchstone on my weekly calendar, the meetings of the Joint Operations Center. These meetings provide the governmental, nonprofit, and businesses represented with a unique opportunity: to work together to support organizations and individuals in need, solve problems, and speak with a unified voice to help our community navigate through the immediate crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Traverse Connect has brought concerns from businesses to the group and, in turn, helped the Grand Traverse County Health Department share guidelines and procedures with specific industries as they’ve begun reopening this month. Grand Traverse County and our region are stronger and will prove to be more resilient because these community organizations maintain consistent communications and can operate proactively.
I expect we will all continue to navigate the ups and downs of managing an ongoing health crisis. Still, we’ll be more flexible and responsive by bringing everyone – public and private organizations – together.
We’re also working together with regional organizations in another partnership through the Northern Michigan Chamber Alliance. The Northern Michigan Chamber Alliance is a coalition of chambers and economic development organizations in Alpena, Benzie, Boyne City, Cadillac, Charlevoix, Cheboygan, East Jordan, Elk Rapids, Gaylord, Harbor Springs, Leelanau County, Manistee, Marquette, Petoskey, Sault Area, and Traverse City.
The group responded to the health and economic crises caused by the pandemic and is now focused on the broader, regional recovery and reopening. Alliance members are working to ensure the northern Michigan voice is represented in reopening discussions. Traverse Connect, and other Alliance members, are working on behalf of all northern Michigan businesses, ensuring they’re prepared to take all precautions to protect employees and customers.
During these nine weeks, the most significant accomplishments and milestones have come not from the work we’ve done alone, but from new and existing partnerships. It’s indicative of how I believe we’ll successfully reach the other side and build regional resiliency.