PowerPlayer: Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce President Laurie White
Monday, October 10, 2011
GoLocalProv’s latest PowerPlayer is Laurie White, President of the Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce. Ms. White was kind enough to sit down with us to talk about the work she is doing to strengthen the business community and what it means for the state as a whole.
1) Everyone says as Providence goes, so goes the state. As head of the Providence Chamber, how much does the state play a role in your job?
Inextricably linked. State tax policy, public education funding, economic development activism, and unfunded pension liabilities drive every community's agenda. I am confident that a lot of our deeply embedded problems have now surfaced and we, as a collective community, are poised to take action and solve them.
2) Give us your vision for the future of Providence.
A city that can boast of full employment for its citizens, including those now underemployed or jobless. Also, I see a city that provides a rich mixture of professional opportunities for young people that encourages them to stay here and build a life. That's essential. I see a Providence economy that is teeming with life from entrepreneurs and their start-up energies. My vision is that Providence will be the East Coast destination of choice for "people with ideas" for social ventures or traditional for-profit ventures.
3) Take us through a day in your life.
Every day is great --- and different. Start early by reading newspapers, visiting news sites and looking at provchamber.com. Listen to books or Spanish lessons on my iPod in the car on the drive to work. It's amazing how much you can take in during seemingly down time. About 80 percent of my day is spent outside the office meeting with Chamber members and hearing about both their successes and their concerns. I attend a lot of business events organized by Chamber members because it's all about being participatory. My day also revolves around advancing the business community's perspective on policy issues like expanding TF Green Airport, opposing tax hikes, pushing for higher student achievement in the schools and driving the knowledge economy agenda.
4) What are the three most important factors in recruiting businesses to the city?
Competitive levels of taxation with commensurate service levels; a ready and skilled workforce; schools that are high achieving.
5) Tell us something nobody knows about you.
I used to be a television news producer and assignment editor at Channel 6. I am proud of my degree in Journalism and believe it is a noble profession. An informed citizenry is vital to democracy. I wouldn't be able to do this job today without having learned how to gather information fast and accurately.
Role Model: My mother who still runs the family business at age 87.
Favorite Restaurant: All of them that are Chamber members, of course!
Best Beach: Narragansett Town Beach, formerly known as Canonchet.
Best Book You've Read In The Last Year: That Used To Be Us
Advice For The Next Laurie White: Go for it and don't look back!
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