October eNews Editor, Beth Corum, LT 26

In August of 1990, I arrived in Tallahassee having only been here once. My four-hour visit looked like this: a flight in, a taxi ride to the Capitol, an interview, a taxi ride back to the airport and a flight home. I can’t say much impressed me in my brief time in the Capital City. Three months after my initial visit, I came back with every intention of leaving within 18 months, but like so many, I stayed.

Fast forward 29 years. I found my career in and around banking. I got married to a boy I met my first day at Florida State University and together we are raising our daughter here – because we CHOOSE to. I got involved with many community organizations. I was introduced to and selected for Leadership Tallahassee Class XXVI. I was elected Chairman of the Chamber. In short, I doubled down on Tallahassee as my home.

Anyone who has had the privilege of going through a Leadership Tallahassee experience will certainly remember certain pivotal points in the year.  I was yellow. My classmates selected me as the Big Cheese. But perhaps the most interesting thing happened when my LT26 classmates who thought they knew me realized they didn’t really know me at all. And those who didn’t know me before LT26 formed an early opinion that was shattered after our Myers-Briggs assessments. You see, I am an ISFJ {and my “I” is very strong.}  As I walked around with my new ISFJ namebadge, most of my classmates, without fail, said there must be a mistake. Certainly I was an ESFJ. But there was no mistake. This is the beauty of the organization that is Leadership Tallahassee. Bringing together diverse groups of folks with divergent opinions and having those opinions challenged at every turn. It helps each of us grow as leaders and helps us learn to challenge the opinions we form about our community and challenge the status quo.

This month, the gavel was passed and I officially became the Chairman of the Chamber. I have been asked several times what I hope to accomplish this year. My response is simple – continue to focus on the groundwork that has been laid to move our community and business forward. We will do that through work in three strategic areas: advocating, growing business and bridging the talent gap.  As an ISFJ, I tend to listen and absorb information. I am considered a nurturer – one who can bring out the best in others and values consideration and awareness.  I think these traits should serve me well in this role.

Most days, I wake up and ask myself two questions: 

  • Is there a critical conversation I need to have this week? and
  • Have I stepped outside of my office to do something, see something, or listen to something that has nothing to do with my work?

Imagine the power of change that could occur if the 50,000 employees of the Chamber’s 1400 members focused for just a few minutes on these two questions.

My challenge to you as leaders is simple. Look up, listen and observe. And let us know where our critical conversations should be. It’s my honor to serve as YOUR Chamber chairman this year.

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