Meet Christopher Herring, our Honorary Board Member!
Chris is the Executive Director for Global Chamber® San Antonio and leads the steering group for Global Chamber Texas. As a retired decorated combat veteran for the United States Air Force, Chris has spent many years abroad and is an advocate for citizen diplomacy.
“The reason why I really enjoyed my service to the Air Force for 20 years was the simple fact that I had the opportunity to extend our democracy throughout the world and to be more diplomatic [and] peaceful,” said Chris. “Citizen diplomacy for me was a way to learn about what I just didn't know.”
Chris became involved with Global Ties Iowa after meeting Executive Director Amy Alice Chastain, then member of the Board of Directors, at the 2020 Global Ties U.S. National Meeting. They found that they share a school of thought when it comes to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) topics and began working together following the conference. Chris provided valuable input on recruiting new Board members and advice for deepening our community partnerships. Likewise, Amy worked hard expanding the Board to include diverse voices.
“I'm a little different than maybe the majority of the people here in Iowa, but I have perspective. That perspective is that oftentimes, when we're talking about people of color, or different backgrounds, how often do the majority groups actually invite these individuals to the table to participate?” said Chris.
After months of effort and support, Chris was formally nominated as an Honorary Board Member in October 2022.
“I appreciate the fact that the Board nominated me to be a part of Global Ties Iowa,” said Chris. “It's really a dope organization where I’ve met some great people.”
Because of the pandemic, it had been years since the Board last had a retreat. Retreats allow Board members to get to know each other, assess their strengths and weaknesses, and gain a deeper understanding of Global Ties Iowa’s goals. With new leadership and members, the Board was excited to hold a retreat this February to set new goals and hear from their new voices. Chris not only planned most of the retreat, but he also came all the way from Texas to lead it, which we are sincerely grateful for.
“Ultimately, at the end of the Board retreat, Amy Alice is... going to have an army that's on fire, a Board that's ready to take the hill and [a] Board that is willing to make connections deeper than where we've been in the past,” said Chris. “It's going to be a Board that's... able to ask for financial support where it may be needed to better support citizen diplomacy. And then it's also going to pave the way for more visible representation of the international visitors who come to the respective communities in [eastern Iowa].”
Looking forward, in March 2023, Chris and Executive Director Amy Alice Chastain will be presenting together at the Global Ties U.S. National Meeting. They will mainly be discussing Global Ties Iowa’s DEI model.
“If we can create the right diversity model in Iowa, then we should be able to take it anywhere in the United States,” said Chris.
All in all, we are extremely lucky to have Chris’s support and extend our appreciation to his dedication and kindness. Global Ties Iowa has already become better with his insight and guidance.
“I want to make sure that at the end of my life, whatever that looks like, I would have contributed greatly, that I would have made a difference, that I would have brought people together, that I would have helped empower our young people,” said Chris.