New leadership is slated for the African American Chamber of Commerce of Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware.
Shalimar Blakely, president of A Peace of PR, has been named the chamber’s new executive director.
Blakely was drawn to serve the organization because she believes in its mission. She’s been serving as a board member.
“I really believe that it needs to be an organization that can speak on behalf and engage African-American owned businesses. When the opportunity presented itself, it was really a no-brainer. It’s an opportunity to help an organization that I’m passionate about,” she said.
Blakely will be appointed during the December board meeting and will officially start on Jan. 1.
She plans to focus on membership engagement and offer more programming.
“A large part of our membership is small businesses and entrepreneurs, and we want to make sure that they understand that the African American Chamber of Commerce serves as a resource to help you grow and as a resource to help you get business and to help you get contracts. It’s really about engagement,” said Blakely.
“Another thing that I want to work on from the advocacy standpoint is being in front of issues that will impact our membership and our constituency. We have to have our ear to what’s going on and make sure that we have a voice.”
Blakely runs a public relations firm that works with nonprofits on corporate philanthropy, community relations and advocacy initiatives. With more than a decade of corporate experience, Blakely’s expertise has helped elevate the communications goals of organizations such as the Philadelphia Black Public Relations Society (PBPRS) and has helped build the brand and public image of Councilman Kenyatta Johnson.
“I am fortunate that we have found such a qualified and passionate individual for this position. I am confident that Ms. Blakely will bring unity, stability and leadership to this organization,” Steven Bradley, AACC board chairman and president of Bradley & Bradley Associates Steven said in a release.
The chamber recently announced the creation of “Protect Our Hub,” a new region-wide public awareness effort to educate the public about the potential merger between US Airways and American Airlines which threatens the viability of Philadelphia International Airport in the midst of an expansion plan.
The chamber is concerned that if US Airways mergers with American Airlines, the new airline could downgrade its Philadelphia International Operations which could lead to fewer opportunities for minority and women-owned businesses and their employees.
As part of the “Protect Our Hub” project, a new website www.cityofbrotherlyhub.com will serve as the central social media site for information. The chamber's board and members will be working to educate business owners, community leaders, elected officials and the general public about the potential merger; partner with other interest groups such as labor organizations to examine the impact and participate in public hearings.
The chamber will host an open house Dec. 26-28 and Dec. 31 from 2 to 5 p.m. at 1617 JFK Blvd., Suite 889. During the open house, visitors will have an opportunity to meet with chamber officials.
The AACC is a membership organization serving businesses, nonprofit organizations, individuals and agencies committed to supporting the economic empowerment and growth of African-American businesses in the region.