If the Pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that the survival of our families and businesses relies on the quality of both our connection and interconnection. The importance of our interconnection was laid bare this past year when it became threatened; like a river that changes course due to changes in the makeup of the rock surrounding it, when our local business ecosystem found itself cut off from its normally vibrant and interpersonal backdrop, it found another path, another way to be survive through a reorganization involving Zoom; live music directly from artists as well as from the Front Porch and IX Art Park; online networking events and annual banquets; and a patchwork of take out, delivery, and pop-up, outdoor dining rooms from most of our favorite restaurants and bars. All the elements of the ecosystem adapted in concert as best they could.

Most importantly, like newfound sources of light necessary for a biological ecosystem, recovery grants, human energy, faith and human empathy infused and literally fed our local business ecosystem.

The ecosystem did not screech to a halt. It took a different form. If only temporarily.

But interconnection is a natural phenomenon of ecosystems that happens whether we like it or not; what we decide to do every day will impact others in our community and vice-versa. Which brings us to Connection. Connection is something we decide to build and nurture. At a macro level, the decision to connect is to take an active role in the flow of the community. We attend events, we volunteer, we keep up on the news -- we jump into the river and move with the current. 

At a micro level, our decision to connect involves the will and interpersonal tools necessary to find a mutual bond with other humans, and to nurture that bond. 

The quality of our connections determines the quality of our interconnection, and ultimately of our ecosystem. Our local ecosystem came together in a quality way to collectively manage its way through the Pandemic not because we are interconnected; but rather because we as individuals in the community, more often than not, choose to be connected.

As we move into 2021 and attempt to energize our community and restore what we have had to put aside, I urge you to continue to focus on the quality of the bonds you have built and wish to build with others.  Customers, employees, the families of customers and employees, colleagues and acquaintances – focus on nurturing the quality and meaning of every interaction.

At CBIC, we are mindful that our role in the business community is to encourage both interconnection and connection, simultaneously. We doubled down on that resolve and role this year. In addition to reenergizing our normal programming, we began with securing a Go Virginia grant to build out an online “connector platform” (formal name forthcoming) that provides everyone in our ecosystem, especially entrepreneurs, with a robust database of resources, service providers, businesses, and subject matter experts located in our own region. The platform enables direct interaction between you, a member of the platform, and available resources, tailored to your needs via a robust filtered search capability. You can read more about the platform here.

Also, in addition to reimagining our normal education and networking events such as our Annual CBIC Awards Gala and CBIC Tech Tour, monthly CE2 and CBIC Tech on Tap events, we’ve launched “VA Venture Connect,” a series of brief online video interviews with local professionals who offer counsel to entrepreneurs and emerging companies. Read more on VA Venture Connect here.

As we rededicate CBIC to fostering vital connections in our ecosystem, we invite you to join us either by getting directly involved with us (you can find out how, here) or continuing to focus on the quality of your everyday interpersonal relationships. 

It’s all good – anything positive you can do at any level. And it all will lead us to incredibly brighter days ahead.

About the Author
Craig Honick
Author: Craig Honick
Chair of the Board of Directors
Craig Honick is the Chair of the Board of Directors for CBIC. He is also the Founder and CEO of Charlottesville-based Metro Tribal, LLC, an ethnographic-based behavioral research firm that provides clarity and insight into the behavior of customer and employee groups for marketing, sales, executive, and human resource leaders. (https://www.linkedin.com/in/craighonick/).