When Sherry Menor-McNamara took the reins at the Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii, the state’s leading business advocacy organization, she developed three primary goals to achieve progressive action: strengthen advocacy, increase membership and boost awareness of the organization. To attain these objectives, Sherry and her team have implemented a number of new initiatives. “We’ve taken a more proactive approach by offering ideas and solutions in packages that legislators can support, instead of reviewing bills that were already introduced and flagging them for how they affect business.”
In 2014, the Chamber formed a partnership with Senator Mazie Hirono to rally support for a range of Hawai‘i industries by bringing local businesses to Capitol Hill. Dubbed “Hawai‘i on the Hill,” the annual event has seen an increase of federal support for Hawai‘i’s tourism, military, technology and agriculture industries, represented by more than 50 companies from across the state. Sherry also created “Walk Around The Capitol,” where more than a hundred business owners meet with state legislators to rally support for local business. Another event, Chamber Week, coincides with the legislative session and raises awareness of the Chamber of Commerce’s initiatives to support the local business community. Sherry’s mission for the Chamber is simple—keep pushing business forward as the voice of business for close to 1,300 members representing more than 200,000 employees. “Our goal is to actively help create a positive working environment so that businesses can thrive in Hawai‘i,” Sherry says.