Wendy Dant Chesser (copy)

Wendy Dant Chesser, president and CEO of One Southern Indiana

One Southern Indiana (1si) received statewide recognition as the 2020 Indiana Chamber of the Year today at the annual meeting of the Indiana Chamber Executives Association (ICEA)

“One Southern Indiana continues to perform at an exceptional level, even in the midst of 2020 national challenges,” said ICEA President Shelli Williams. “The 2020 ICEA Chamber of the Year continues to be bold in their leadership through a powerful strategic plan resulting in outstanding successes for the communities that they serve.”

1si President and CEO Wendy Dant Chesser said, "I have never been prouder of our team. Being recognized by ICEA as the Chamber of the Year is a great honor which is entirely due to the professionalism, dedication and enthusiasm of the entire staff. Appreciation for their hard work, especially during the COVID-19 crisis, is well deserved and I want to thank them for all they do."

By the end of 2019, the 1si team had taken the lead in reaching 80 percent of their goal of $50 million in capital investment. The staff celebrated an impressive 584 jobs created with new job wages of $32.26 per hour, well-above their goal of $21 per hour new job recruitment. In 2019, the staff successfully relaunched an insurance program for members, launched a YP mentorship program and reformatted roundtable groups to better serve member needs. For the first eight months of the fiscal year, this chamber was on-track. Then came COVID-19.

The organization immediately launched 1si Cares, a three-prong approach to assist businesses in navigating the current health crisis. The first prong, 1si Connects, provides businesses the resources needed to continue business during this disruption to normalcy. The second prong, 1si Collaborates, was accomplished by staff members stepping up to work with local elected officials and foundations. This resulted in the successful funding of 123 business loan requests, totaling more than $1.2 million directly awarded to businesses in need. The final prong, 1si Calls, offers daily Facebook Live events called “Ask an Expert,” allowing businesses to have real time conversation for assistance during the pandemic. These videos posted to their website have been viewed more than 18,400 times since the pandemic began.

The Chamber of the Year award is given annually by ICEA to recognize excellence in the chamber of commerce leadership profession. The chamber of the year application process focuses on four core areas including leadership/governance, finance, advocacy and programming/membership. Award finalists were reviewed by a panel of industry professionals from Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky and Oklahoma.

In addition to the top award, 1si received two 2020 Communication Excellence Awards for the 2019 Annual Meeting “Mission SoIN Possible” marketing campaign and the 2020 Business Resource Guide, which is a new publication for 1si. Expanded details with links to all award submissions can be found on the ICEA website.

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