Archive for February 2015

Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce CEO Harvey Schmitt Shares About Leadership and Collaboration

NOTE: Links to my past blogs from Raleigh Chamber C-Suite Perspectives and information on getting involved with the Chamber are at the end of this blog.

Harvey Schmitt has provided visionary leadership as President and CEO of the Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce since 1994.  (photo courtesy of suitepaws.com)

Harvey Schmitt has provided visionary leadership as President and CEO of the Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce since 1994. (photo courtesy of suitepaws.com)


About once a quarter, the Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce offers an excellent breakfast session at the superb Umstead Hotel and Spa called “C-Suite Perspectives” where successful local senior business leaders share perspectives on success and leadership from their own lives. On Friday February 13, instead of a commercial corporate leader, we were treated to perspectives from long time Raleigh Chamber President and CEO Harvey Schmitt.

Harvey has had a long 3 decade plus career in chambers of commerce leadership from Dubuque, Iowa to Greenville, SC; Jacksonville and Tampa, Florida; and now Raleigh. During his tenure starting in 1994 in Raleigh, the Chamber grew from a budget of $2.6M to $8.1M and a staff of 27 to 39. Key major collaborative efforts including opening the now PNC Arena and the downtown convention center.

An overall theme to Harvey’s successful leadership is understanding the importance of collaboration. For a broad community to grow successfully in a quality way, there has to be strong collaboration between business, community and political leaders. In the complexities of a community, no party can really achieve anything great on their own; we must work together and it takes a unique skillful leader to orchestrate that collaboration.

One of the very successful collaborative projects which Harvey helped become reality if the Raleigh Convention Center. (photo courtesy of myraleighcaryrealestate.com)

One of the very successful collaborative projects which Harvey helped become reality if the Raleigh Convention Center. (photo courtesy of myraleighcaryrealestate.com)


In terms of his own professional growth and successfully leading collaborative efforts as well as learning from a few missteps earlier in his career, Harvey shared some great sayings often referred to as “Harvey-isms.” Here are some of them:
• Be open to serendipity, take advantage of fortunate happenstance.
• Find a successful mentor: feed your passion with someone who can also share their experience.
• If you play hardball, you better win.
• Success requires vision, determination and patience.
• Focus on the issues of common interest.
• Change means different things to different people: to some it means a total change, to others it means the same people doing things a little differently, to others it means getting new people to do things the same way.
• Sometimes you have to go slow to go fast; impatience and ambition are a bad combination.
• Failure is a great leadership building experience.
• Be open to a path to success which may be different from your original plan.
• Create an environment where good things can happen.
• Take responsibility to communicate – in the absence of information, people assume the worst.
• And one of my favorites: Anything can get accomplished if you don’t care who gets the credit.

Consider joining the Chamber and coming to these informative and inspiration sessions!

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LINKS to Past Blogs about C-Suite Perspectives Sessions:

Exploring Leadership, Talent Development and Innovation with Greg Scheu, CEO of ABB North America.

Leadership Advice from a Senior Lenovo Executive with President of Lenovo North America Jay Parker.

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If you are in the Raleigh / Durham / Chapel Hill area and would like more information on how you and your company can get involved with the Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce (link), including membership benefits, contact Kim Niskey, (919)-360-8665, kniskey@raleighchamber.org

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