By Toral Cowieson, Chair, NH High Tech Council Board of Directors
Labor Day, which always signals the true end to the summer season and back to full throttle ahead, already seems a distant memory. This fall promises to be action packed for the NH High Tech Council. We have several major events, including Product of the Year, TechOut, Entrepreneur Forum, and a special Power Forum for candidates for governor and US Senate (featured in a separate column in the newsletter by Michelline Dufort).
But the Council is about much more than just events, and this fall the Board and staff will continue work to strategize and plan for 2017 and beyond on how we can be most effective as a catalyst for inclusion and growth. We have a great foundation from which to build.. As noted at our annual meeting last May, the Council is in a good place. Some of the highlights presented included the following:
- 35% increase in members over the past five years
- 85% membership retention in 2016, an all time high
- Lower costs and free admissions to members at select events as a direct result of 54% increase in revenues over the past five years
- Based on member interest, addition of TechWomen|TechGirls events that have reached thousands of women and girls in just one year
- Increased member and Council visibility on social media
- Partnership with NH Business Review on TechNews, which gives additional exposure to our members who are in the news
While these are great statistics and results for a member-driven organization, they tell just part of our story. This fall, we are asking ourselves (as an organization), are our events as relevant as they can be? How can we engage more individuals within our member companies in meaningful ways? What does our ecosystem look like statewide and how can we develop more partnership and collaborative opportunities? How can we continue to be an effective and proactive voice with our elected officials? And what can we do to help our member companies attract and retain the talent they need to grow and thrive?
As a Board and staff, we spent time earlier this summer going through the first phase of an action planning process and identifying our strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. This month, we’ll reconvene based on our findings and begin developing and setting goals and plans for 2017 to make sure we are true to our mission while effectively engaging a tech sector that is in a constant state of change.
While I will be reporting out to you, our members on our progress, I’d also like to hear from you on what you think is working well or could be working better at the Council and especially what gaps or opportunities you might see for us from a member perspective. Feel free to e-mail me at email@example.com. or reach me on Twitter @tdcowieson.