May 6, 2020

Now is the Time to Step up and Support Small Businesses

Consider this: According to the Small Business Administration (SBA), only 40 percent of small businesses are profitable, and that is during “normal” economic times. During this unprecedented pandemic, thousands of people have lost their lives, and together we mourn for the families impacted so tragically. Thousands more have lost their jobs and are scraping to make ends meet. Many of these are small business owners and employees who do not have the resources to lose months of business and remain open. We must support them now more than ever. As the former president and CEO of the DC Chamber for [�]
March 11, 2020

Barbara Lang: Ethics deserve a starring role in business dealings

They created cultures of fear, deception and arrogance, and they put their own personal interests in front of all others, including their own families. They didn’t care whose lives they destroyed, using their power to conquer and destroy anyone blocking their path to money and gratification. Shockingly, they manipulated those around them — people with whom they built trust — to foster networks of secrecy and allegiance beyond anything we have seen in the history of American business. Ironically, they crucified themselves through historic cheating, lying and a breakdown of ethics never seen before.
December 3, 2019

Barbara Lang: D.C. must flex its local economic muscle

Let’s face it. On the proverbial plane of economic development, the District of Columbia is in the middle seat fighting for elbow room with Maryland on one side and Virginia on the other. We have a history of challenging business practices that cannot compete with the tax structures and available spaces offered to the north and south of our nation’s capital. While Northern Virginia is known for its robust and global technology corridor, Montgomery County is known for its world-class biotechnology sector. Sure, our neighbors cannot compete with our pristine monuments, museums and our rich hospitality industry, but we need [�]
July 8, 2019

Letter to DC Council from Barbara Lang

Dear Mr. Chairman: Re: Sports Betting & the DC Lottery Contract As you know, I have a strong history advocating for small businesses in this city. As Vice President & Chief Procurement Officer at Fannie Mae for 10 years and more than 12 years as President & CEO of the DC Chamber of Commerce, I know first-hand how important these businesses are to the District and the civic and economic impact they have on our city. Since leaving the Chamber in March 2014, I have stayed completely out of the DC political environment and advocating for or against business interests. [�]
April 18, 2019

Reflecting on Five Years of Lang Strategies

With change comes opportunity. But the uncertainty that comes with change can often cause anxiety and even fear, yet no one I know has ever succeeded without some discomfort along the way. When I left the DC Chamber of Commerce more than five years ago, I felt some of that discomfort as I packed up my belongings and turned the lights off in my office for the final time. There was also some anxiety as I wondered whether I made the right decision to venture out on my own. Before my 12 years at the DC Chamber, I had worked [�]
March 25, 2019

Creating a Culture of Women’s Empowerment Beyond March

I am a woman, and proud of it. I say that not in a defiant way, but it happens to be a fact of which I am very proud. The challenges and obstacles set before me as a minority woman throughout my life have not discouraged me, but empowered me to be not the just the best woman I can be, but the best person, professionally and personally. March is Women’s History Month, which is important because it highlights the female leaders today and throughout history who have contributed so much to business and society. But let’s be very clear: [�]
February 27, 2019

Partnerships Are Built on Trust, Loyalty, and Difficult Conversations

Contrary to popular belief, the customer is not always right. Sure, when it comes to partnershipsand building relationships with clients, it is vital to align with their business goals and objectives.But they hired you to work with them on what is the right course of action, and that is whatrelationship management is all about.They key to building relationships that can last for years and generate further businessopportunities weighs on your ability to truly serve as an extension of your client’s mission.Sometimes this means more listening than talking and asking questions to learn more about theorganization and its culture and why [�]
January 24, 2019

Only You Can Determine Your Success as a Leader

2,017! That was the magic number. The DC Chamber of Commerce’s membership was stagnant. We had 1,400 members and we were bleeding. For every member brought in, we must have lost three or four. That was not a sustainable business model. I was the new President and CEO. It was my job the plug the leak and to figure out why a once proud membership base was jumping ship. As I spoke with key staff and did my research, it came down to one word: Value. Members were not seeing the value of the money they were spending. It was [�]
December 20, 2018

DC’s Light Shines Bright for Those That Live and Work Here

As I sat on the city bus headed to school, I knew I was in the “wrong” seat. There was no way a little black girl should be taking up space in the front of one of Jacksonville, Fla.’s, most popular modes of transportation. But I didn’t care. I had as much right to that seat as anyone. Unfortunately, not everyone saw it that way. As we made our way past city blocks, we stopped, and a larger man boarded the bus and curtly told me to move. I didn’t acknowledge the order, then he demanded again that I move. [�]
November 20, 2018

When You Start Your Own Business, You Write Your Own Story

I turned off the light and refused to look back into the dark, empty office I spent thousands of hours in over the past 10 years. There were several reasons I closed the door gently and quietly walked out with two of my longest tenured employees. It was surreal, and I felt a mix of emotions including sadness, pride, excitement and apprehension, but I felt no regret leaving the DC Chamber of Commerce. There was no looking back because after 13 years and two locations at the organization. I was ready for my next challenge. I admit I did shed [�]