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A decade of innovation

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Lisa Johnson, Bossier Chamber of Commerce President/CEO

Chamber President celebrates 10 year anniversary

Over the past decade, Bossier Chamber of Commerce President Lisa Johnson has seen Bossier innovate.

“Enhancements have continued to move Bossier from the sleepy bedroom community of yesteryear to a growing, prosperous community of technology, education, medical and retail to name a few. We have seen the development of the Cyber Innovation Center, record breaking growth at Bossier Parish Community College, healthcare enhancements and the development of the Louisiana Boardwalk, Villaggio, Sterling Shopping Center and more,” said Johnson.

Next month marks 10 years since the lifelong Bossier resident took over guiding the chamber and turning it into the U.S. Chamber of Commerce four-star accredited organization it is today, representing over 900 businesses and over 60,000 employees on both sides of the river.

“I knew that it was a membership organization and it’s about building relationships. That was the easy part. Being that I am a native of  Bossier City, graduate of Bossier High, and live in Bossier Parish, understanding the role of a chamber of commerce as the local champion was another easy task for me. I always knew that I would stay home and find a way to help improve our community for our future leaders,” Johnson said.

As she quickly discovered, the Chamber’s role in the community is ever-evolving. In order to meet Bossier’s needs, the Chamber has formed partnerships, told their story and shared the results.

“Having a tourism background, I primarily worked with one specific industry, so there was a learning curve as I stepped into my role at the Chamber,” Johnson explained. “We serve many audiences — visitors, aspiring entrepreneurs, established businesses, and government at all levels — we must be confident in the referrals given for proper connections and to have knowledge of current/future planning; it gives the client a sense of partnership within the community.”

That ability to form partnerships not only helps the Chamber help their partners, but it is a crucial element of the modern business world for their partners themselves.

“Everything we do in life is about the relationships we have with others, it is no different for a business. The Bossier Chamber prides itself in relationship building from the staff level through our leadership to members at large. It is our responsibility to share information, educate and refer through opportunities, partnerships, advocacy and innovation,” she said

Johnson and her staff’s efforts to foster those relationships for members have paid dividends  — membership has grown 34% and their programs have grown 152%. The Chamber has been named a Top 25 Military Friendly Chamber of Commerce with “Vetrepreneur Magazine” and the Chamber championed the creation of the Military Child Transition Consultant for military Connected Children for Bossier Parish schools.

“Under my management, with the support of the great leaders around our board table, we had a strategic plan in place to grow the Chamber. The first was to look internally and enhance the way we communicate with our members. Secondly, we looked at the membership to understand who they are and why are they a part of the Bossier Chamber. Over the last 10 years, we have focused on listening and delivering return on investment for our members.”

For the next decade of leadership, Johnson says Bossier’s obstacles are also opportunities.

“With growth comes change, with change comes challenges. During the next 10 years, Bossier residents and business owners should look for continued growth of education, technology, government, medical, and oil and gas industries,” she said. “We are poised to position ourselves as the next great place to live, work and play.”

And the Chamber will be out on the front lines of development by championing the advantages and opportunities in Bossier with their “Bossier Innovates” campaign.

“We are sending the message that we are willing to take a risk and make it happen. The pinwheel in our logo represents forward constant movement of right angles that engage one another for a common goal,” Johnson explained.

Looking back, she views her 10 years with Chamber as “rewarding.”

“My position at the chamber as allowed me to be a role model for other women in the community. I have had the opportunity to share my experiences in the corporate world with many new graduates over the years and encourage them to do the same,” Johnson said. “I have been blessed over the last 10 years with a staff that shares the same passion I do for Bossier-Shreveport and our business community. A successful leader surrounds themselves with great people, so to all the staff/team members over the last 10 years, thank you for making me and the Chamber look good.”