Vistage on the Hill 2023: Shaping policies that affect small and midsize businesses
CEOs of small and midsize businesses (SMBs) are navigating a lot of obstacles. Our latest Vistage CEO confidence index survey shows that they face slowing demand and hiring challenges while focusing on managing costs and accessing cash and capital to grow. Business leaders need a strong advocate on their behalf and access to those with influence. Our partnership with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the leading advocacy group for SMBs, provides a forum for Vistage members to voice the issues they’re facing.
At our fifth annual Vistage on the Hill event, award-winning members from the Vistage community traveled to Washington D.C. to meet with policy experts from the U.S. Chamber. They discussed a wide range of policy issues and implications, including small business policy, labor, trade and artificial intelligence, openly and candidly.
Through day sessions that continued into dinner, Vistage members provided Chamber analysts with a real-world, first-hand look into the experiences and challenges they face every day.
“Our Vistage members are high-performing, high-integrity leaders of small and midsize businesses,” says Anne Petrik, vice president of research for Vistage. “They meet every month with other CEOs and business owners to discuss their issues. So not only are they bringing to the table the things that are impacting their own business, but they’re able to also represent many of the other businesses and CEOs that they have the opportunity to connect with each month.”
The Chamber experts briefed members on current and pending legislation and the potential impact — both positive and negative — on SMB executives.
“I actually didn’t come into this expecting that the AI discussion would affect me,” says Sin Senh, CEO & President at Roux, an environmental consulting firm. “Now I have to really think about strategy going forward, and talk to my executive team and my boards, and think ‘How does AI affect us?’”
Ultimately, the goal is to help shape the Chamber’s policy approach and improve communication between policymakers and SMB leaders.
“Hearing From Vistage members, from small businesses who belong to Vistage, that’s invaluable,” says Tom Sullivan, vice president for small business policy at the U.S. Chamber, “and I take that information and, many times, communicate that information to lawmakers and to the White House in order to advance pro-business policies.”
The exchange prompted members to think about how to get more deeply involved in shaping policy. Ed Trevis, CEO & President of Corvalent Corporation, says he’s already involved with local and state chambers of commerce and sees an opportunity on the federal level. “The action I’ll take is to get more involved with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.”
Download a summary of the Chamber policy briefings (Member login required)