Former DC Chamber head pushes city businesses to grow

The former president and CEO of the D.C. Chamber of Commerce, Barbara Lang, is encouraging leaders to keep reaching out for new opportunities.

“When I left the chamber a little over three years ago, we set up a consulting firm, a business advisory group, really with lessons learned from the D.C. Chamber of Commerce,” Lang told What’s Working in Washington.

Lang focuses on D.C. by helping “clients bring their wares, their goods to the United States.” Instead of becoming more isolationist in business practices, “we have to look at how we can all work together, and get the best from each other,” she said.

Through working in her consulting firm Lang Strategies, Lang has realized how much her experience in the Chamber of Commerce has given her. “People would just call and tell me things, almost like the gossip scene” of D.C. business, said Lang, noting she has her finger on the region’s pulse even today.

When working with prospective clients, Lang said that she makes sure to keep in mind the whole greater D.C. region, not just Washington. “What I have to do is look at the region… if I’m talking to a prospective manufacturer who wants to come to the region, the District of Columbia is not where I would bring them… but we do talk about Maryland and Virginia,” she said.

“It really depends on what the industry is, what the market is for their product or services, and how costly it’s going to be for them to get it.”

Despite her work, the current administration has made national and international interest in the D.C. region a little more hesitant. “They’re not able to separate local Washington, which is great, from national Washington,” said Lang. “We’re being successful despite what happens in the White House.”

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