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PRESS RELEASE – 2024 Legislative Wrap-Up

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Roanoke Regional Chamber Invites Members of the Press to Attend 2024 Legislative Wrap-Up

Roanoke, Virginia – March 20th, 2024 – The Roanoke Regional Chamber is pleased to
extend an invitation to members of the press to attend our highly anticipated 2024
Legislative Wrap-Up event. This annual event provides a unique opportunity for the press
to gain insights into the major issues discussed during Virginia’s 2024 General Assembly
Session.

Event Details
Date: Tuesday, April 23rd, 2024
Time: 7:30 – 9:00AM
Location: Salem Civic Center

The 2024 Legislative Wrap-Up will feature a moderated and robust Q&A session with
invited legislators, including Senator Chris Head. Attendees will have the chance to hear
directly from legislators about the session’s key decisions and outcomes, providing
valuable insights into the legislative process and its impact on the region.

The Roanoke Regional Chamber is the leading business advocacy organization in the
Roanoke Valley, representing over 800 businesses and organizations. Our mission is to
promote economic prosperity and growth in the region by advocating for policies that
support a favorable business climate.

We look forward to welcoming members of the press to this informative and engaging
event. For media inquiries or to RSVP, please send a confirmation to Kayla Masters at
kmasters@roanokechamber.org

Sincerely,
Roanoke Regional Chamber of Commerce
www.roanokechamber.org

2024 – Government – Influence and Information

Summary of Team Journey:

There was a sense of excitement, maybe some anxiousness, the morning of our first breakfast meeting in August 2023. This was the day that we would be introduced to the LRV program. Natesha Ross remembers wondering, “What was the purpose of LRV? How does this organization help the community?” The speakers that morning were instilling in us the opportunities that would unfold for us over the next year and the ways to broaden those perspectives moving into this program. The pieces of advice were things like “keep an open mind”, “you’re going to do great”, or the more ominous “just wait”.
A whole month we carry these thoughts and notions into the overnight retreat. This fully immersive experience brought with it a chance to break down the corporate element that often brought with it a certain structure that can limit growth and strips away the chats, virtual meetings, and the rigid setting of an office. Here we were encouraged to go beyond and make the most of our skills. We were encouraged to find those limits and exceed them. Here we realized that we are all a team and we all will be faced with some uncomfortable situations only to emerge with a new sense of what those boundaries are, if any remain. Julie Blevins says, “Stepping into this experience pushed me to go BEYOND my comfort zone, knowledge of Local Government, and what I thought were the limitations of my own confidence level.” It is also here, on this retreat, that we meet our new team. The technical mind of our team’s engineer, Hal, the marketing and visual expert, Will, the educator and instructor extraordinaire, Natesha, the persuasive social butterfly, Richia, the purpose-driven intellectual, Julie, and the holistic approach financial manager, Kathryn, all coming together to go beyond our known skill sets to do our best. Being the first team presented certain challenges but also a welcome reprieve. We would be setting the bar, we all felt that.
So how would we come together? How do we take the knowledge and mindset we gained from retreat into the next few months? We had to learn to trust one another. We had to see and hear each other. Blevins states, “We utilized everyone’s ideas, strengths, and experiences in order to develop a meaningful program day, given the enormous subject that Government could be.” Knowing this, we went into each team meeting striving to achieve the best. We all wanted the participants showing up on our LRV day to be blown away by our program. We hit the ground running. Many times our advisors would tell us to slow down. But how could we when we knew we were first to go for the participant led days?! We met with local leadership because we knew a piece that is usually missing from the government narrative is the local influence. Hal Bailey says, “the most amazing part of this program were the interactions we had with our public officials.” The impacts from those conversations completely shaped the way we wanted to replicate that experience for other participants. What better way to get people involved with local leadership than to have them hear these thoughts and converse with them too. The ability to ask questions and hear the stories from the group of local leaders provided that personal touch to what local government is. Will Rhodes reflects, “At a time where national politics seem more divided than ever, it is refreshing to see how all of these people work together for the betterment of our region.”
But how do we get local government leaders to show up? We asked. We let them know of our plans and our hopes for this group. To our benefit, each of our local leaders saw the value too. The next step, we had to showcase individual involvement. How would we accomplish this? Luckily, Roanoke has many informed and involved citizens that want the best for their community and we wanted to showcase what that person does and how the participants could replicate or take their own focus to make impactful changes to their community. Mr. Fishwick and Dr. Hale gave the participants the information of what actions could be taken to influence and change the community. This is where our theme was born. ‘Information and Influence’, that is what we wanted the focus to be. How to be informed and influential leaders in our community. This wasn’t just any group we were talking to or representing. “Getting involved is more important than ever and it’s the only way to make a difference”, says Bailey. LRV is a group of influential leaders. With this in mind, we hoped that showcasing the trust we not only had with our group to represent that thought but to instill that belief in the LRV group at large. We are in a group for leaders in our area and the skills that we will unlock through this program will only make us more effective in our roles and our futures. Richia Gregston says this, “it opened my eyes to opportunities far beyond business benefits and into what our rich and vibrant communities have to offer.”
Going into the LRV program the Government team set a standard for ourselves. Ross states, “As current and future leaders, programs such as this are necessary for those with influence to lead in a thoughtful growth mindset.” Realizing that trust and an open mind were going to be the necessary tools to see us through to a successful program day delivery. What we didn’t realize was how this would shape our connections to one another. Gregston reflects, “LRV recaptured a spark inside me to reach for more – more involvement, more giving, more time spent on things that matter in the world outside myself.” Our team sought to engage, educate, and leave a clear path for involvement in their surrounding community, in government, in community action projects and BEYOND.

-Kathryn Matherly, LRV Government Team Historian

Program Objectives:

1) Recognize the power of influence and how local government impacts us daily
2) Engage with local government by becoming more involved in your local government
3) Utilize tools to increase your own influence in local government, by going BEYOND what you do now

Calls to Action:

1) Get Informed. Subscribe to local, regional and state newsletters to get information.
Sign up NOW!
2) Get Involved. Go to your local town or city council meetings. Go BEYOND and join as a committee/council board member.
3) Get Out and Vote! Register to vote and keep your information up to date. Show up and vote!

Team Members:

Will Rhodes
Natesha Ross
Hal Bailey
Julie Blevins
Richia Gregston
Kathryn Matherly

Team Advisors:

Hannah Babcock
Allison Jorgensen
Chip White
Madeline Hanlon

URL to Team Photos: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1FICC73lwh-CuaIt6OyQ3SD3klDQ8r5tM?usp=drive_link