By John Schaffner

“If you are not thinking globally, you are going to be behind the times,” Debbie Goldman, the new chair of the Sandy Springs/Perimeter Chamber of Commerce (SS/PC), said July 20 as she introduced a Chamber initiative to lure international businesses to Sandy Springs and help local businesses market internationally.

Chairing her first Bagels & Business meeting after taking the reins of the SS/PC from Wanda Buckley in June, Goldman moderated a State of the Chamber presentation for the 130 attendees, who primarily came to hear remarks by Sandy Springs Mayor Eva Galambos.

The international initiative was one of three major initiatives introduced at the meeting.

Saying the Chamber’s goal is to foster the image of Sandy Springs as one of the best places to live and work, Goldman said: “We want to play a crucial role in supporting local work force and education and in attracting businesses, both domestic and foreign to our area. The question becomes how can the Chamber strategically position itself to make this happen.”

She said the new initiatives — a cooperative effort with Georgia State University (see story below), a high school project with Junior Achievement (see page 22) and the international business initiative — are aimed at that goal.

Goldman said the development of the initiatives involved analyzing the businesses in the Chamber and the community — “what industry are they in, what are the sizes of the businesses, what is the economic impact, what kind of educational initiatives can we provide and how can we encourage the businesses to work together successfully and continue to attract top U.S. and global industries.” The inaugural Business Expo was a “good start of that process,” said Goldman, who chaired that event.

The concept, she said, “is to make it easier for global companies to expand to our area.”

The long-term global initiative is in the formative stages. To kick it off, Goldman said, “we are going to have an international event, a global event,” spearheaded by Chamber board member George Bergmark of B2B CFO.

She said the Chamber is talking to consulates, the Atlanta World Trade Center and Sandy Springs to partner in developing the initiative.