January 12, 2021
Suzanne P. Clark
President and CEO, U.S. Chamber of Commerce
With a global pandemic and the subsequent downturn of the economy, 2020 was a challenging year for American business. From mandatory shutdowns to public health concerns to changing consumer needs, many companies successfully pivoted to not only support themselves but their communities at large.
“The past year has been defined by the resilience of the American business community,” said U.S. Chamber of Commerce President Suzanne Clark. “Throughout the pandemic, we’ve seen how businesses respond in times of crisis: they adapt, innovate, and harness progress and change for good.”
According to Clark, this resilience should be no surprise: throughout history, American businesses have always risen above challenging circumstances to succeed and drive change.
“Businesses in America are responsible for more wealth, more jobs and more opportunity than were ever before created in history,” said Clark. “That has not happened in spite of historic challenges, it’s happened because of historic challenges.”
Small business owners have found ways to adapt to the current pandemic by considering alternative paths to conducting business, as well as ways to give back to consumers.
“It’s happened because the drive, the fervor, the innovation and the hard work of American workers and businesses inspires us to think about the world not as it is, but as it could be.”
Strong Business Leadership Is Needed Now More Than Ever
Amid the pandemic and its subsequent economic impact, America has also dealt with political divide and social unrest. This division has manifested itself not only in conversations of policy, but in many aspects of American life.
“Business leadership is needed now more than ever to unite our country and rally our nation around a broad economic recovery,” stressed Clark. Yet, although America is facing significant challenges, there is cause for optimism.
“It’s sometimes said that change happens slowly, and then all at once,” Clark said. “The past ten months have undoubtedly proven that true, and this moment of dramatic acceleration will launch us into the next period of American innovation.”
This innovation is readily seen in how American businesses have responded to the health and social issues of the past year. A few notable examples: Uber’s stay-at-home campaign for drivers and passengers alike, Edward Jones’ initiatives surrounding both employee and client health and wellness, and 3M’s investment in the Twin Cities to promote racial justice for economic development.
With these and countless other companies stepping up to use their platforms for the greater good, American businesses can provide the strong leadership needed to help our country recover and unite.