For more than 30 years Dr. Christel Slaughter, CEO of SSA Consultants, has been passionate about leading organizational change and planning efforts for hundreds of clients across the United States with a concentration of this work focused in the public sector.
Based out of Baton Rouge, LA, she is in the business of helping clients improve their performance and works with businesses of all sizes and in all industries.
“I love what I do,” she said. “When a client adopts your ideas and they’re successful, there is nothing more fun than that.”
Christel is now lending her expertise to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, where she serves on the board, and is the chair of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Small Business Council.
The Small Business Council is the U.S. Chamber’s principal policy committee and action group representing the issues of concern to small business. In addition to formulating small business policy, the council assists in creating strategies on legislative, regulatory and international initiatives.
She’ll be working with the group to help keep the focus on issues they regard as important or comment on the small business impact of policy being formulated by other Chamber policy committees.
She is an active leader not only in the business and academic world but also in the community – having even once served as a torchbearer for the 1996 Summer Olympic Torch Run.
We caught up with Christel following her appointment to get her take on the most pressing issues facing small businesses, the importance of the Chamber’s Small Business Council, and her outlook for the future. Here’s what she said:
1. Things are always changing. Don’t expect that to change.
“One of the biggest inhibitors of growth is being able to compete. Competition is global – in all environments and in all industries. To a small business, who is growing and working to compete in larger markets and environments, it’s hard to stay on top of what’s happening and be growing your business at the same time.
“It’s imperative that you understand where you are in the business life cycle of growth. When you are starting out you have to make sure you have enough capital to stay afloat. And when you start to grow you have to be willing to let go and start to delegate and let other people grow and bring in other people. And if you passed that part of your business life cycle, you have to fight to not become complacent.
“Being change resilient is important as change is everywhere and the pace of change has accelerated so rapidly. Some organizations have a hard time with culture change and that is the kiss of death in today’s world. It’s important to build a culture that enables adoption and accountability, re-energizes and inspires its people by being willing to try or adopt something new.”
2. Where are we Headed?
“To me, one of the biggest things I’ve seen the U.S. Chamber do is help to work on and be aggressive on rolling back some of the onerous regulations. We have a fertile environment for doing more of this, and we’re really on a good path right now.
“In the next two to three years, you’re going to see some people really feel good about the business climate. Speaking from my experiences, our clients are very bullish on growth strategies and I think as the economy grows and the confidence continues more people will be growing and expanding their businesses.
“It’s certainly an exciting time to be a part of the U.S. Chamber Small Business Council to be able to help shape some of the policies on the Hill and work with other chambers across the country.”
3. Here’s Why I Get Involved (And you should too).
“Being involved with the U.S. Chamber provides access to relevant and timely content. Anyone who’s involved with a Chamber of Commerce knows the value of networking in a general sense. As a U.S. Chamber Small Business Council member, there are proactive strategies in introducing one another to relevant business owners and connections.
“There is access to cutting-edge information that many may not expect from a chamber necessarily. And there is information to help you grow your business and there’s an intent to have members join who are able to bring something to the table.
“As a member of the Small Business Council - we have a job to do with small business owners from across the country and various industries. Together, we are working to create a better business environment and use our influence to impact national policy.”