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Greater Las Cruces Chamber of Commerce (GLCCC) President and CEO Debbi Moore is looking at her leadership role in the community differently since the onset of COVID-19.
New glasses have helped.
Moore, chamber director since May 2016, said she began experiencing vision issues after the pandemic started. Her eye doctor explained that it was “Zoom fatigue” and fitted her with specially designed computer glasses.
“That helps tremendously,” said Moore, who recommended a visit to an optometrist for anyone who is having vision issues because of spending more time on a computer.
Participating in a dozen or so Zoom meetings a week, each lasting about an hour, Moore said she continues to focus on moving forward in a positive direction.
“We need to get businesses open,” Moore said. “In the midst of all this negativity, we’ve got to focus on businesses and move businesses forward.”
Whatever the decisions made by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham about the hours and capacity at which businesses in New Mexico can operate, and whether or not Moore agrees with them, “my focus is ‘pivot, navigate, reset and move forward,’” she said.
That means businesses locally and statewide, because, in addition to GLCCC, Moore is chair of the New Mexico Chamber Executives Association board, which links 25-30 chambers of commerce across the state, she said. Moore also is one of 42 participants nationally in the Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives Association Economic Recovery Fellowship.
“My role is not only to represent Las Cruces, Doña Ana County and southern New Mexico, but also to lead our chambers around the state to be influential, to be supportive of business,” she said.
Because so many issues impact the workforce, Moore said she is focused on for-profit businesses and nonprofit organizations, business owners and employees, children and adults.
Closing schools during the pandemic “has impacted the workforce more than anything I’ve ever seen,” she said. Working from home, unemployment, childcare and increasing mental health issues and their impact on business mean Moore and other chamber directors must help clients and communities figure out how to “navigate these new waters.”
“My role as a leader in the community is to partner, to collaborate, be a point of information, make sure all of our partners in the community are on the same page,” Moore said, “to really make sure those lines of communication with all of us stay open. Communication is happening and that is something that is very positive. We are a resilient community. We’re going to shop locally, we’re going to promote locally, we’re going to help locally.”
On a more personal level, “I rely on my faith a lot,” Moore said. “There’s always a light at the end of the tunnel and tomorrow’s going to be a better day.”
Moore said the isolation she has experienced from working from home the pandemic has meant revisiting the grief of losing her beloved husband, Bill, who died suddenly in 2018. And, like many others, Moore said she is also grieving the loss of “a normalcy, a way of life. Businesses will never be the same,” she said. “I talk to a lot of business owners,” she said, and many are both sad and angry.
“I try to calm the anger down,” Moore said. “We may not agree, but we can be kind, be nice to each other, respect the journey each of us is on. It’s a process. Eventually, we’re going to find a new normalcy. We’re taking it a day at a time.”
Moore is a member of the Las Cruces Opens Council for COVID19 Recovery, vice chair of the Las Cruces Economic Recovery Council, chair of the Bridge of Southern New Mexico board and a member of the New Mexico State Workforce Board. She received the 2019 Governor’s Distinguished Public Servant Award and the 2018 Small Business Administration New Mexico Legacy Award.
A native of Claremore, Oklahoma, Moore has lived in New Mexico since 1984. She has more than 30 years’ experience with chambers of commerce. Moore has a blended family of six children, 14 grandchildren, 14 great-grandchildren and nine great-great grandchildren.