“Engagement” was our Chamber’s 2015 watchword. We set out to rebuild a culture and organization that encouraged our leaders, staff and members to get involved. As a membership organization created to facilitate connections, we believe that better engagement helps member businesses, our own management and the community as a whole.
With our return to financial health in 2014, we were able to focus on our core mission in 2015. Improved membership benefits, relevant programming and better communication all contributed to a successful year. We worked hard to engage more businesses and provide opportunities to learn and connect.
New events built excitement. We added four marquee events to our regular line-up, all of which we’ll repeat in 2016: the foodie extravaganza Bite Nite, the Community Health and Wellness Fair, our Procurement Expo and “Chamber Night Out at Festival Theatre.”
Our Women in Business “affiliate group” flourished in 2015, consistently boasting high attendance and fabulous speakers at its bi-monthly meetings. Young Professionals got off to a promising start, with big plans for 2016.
We re-committed to a working board culture and robust committee structure. We updated the job descriptions for staff, wrote clear roles and responsibilities for volunteer leaders and defined the appropriate level of involvement for board members. Though not nearly as glamorous, we completed the migration to a new billing system, which will improve efficiency and streamline our invoicing process. With a strong foundation of both culture and systems, we look forward to even deeper engagement in 2016.
Next year, we will focus on growing membership and improving communication. We want to improve outreach. We need to do a better job welcoming and orienting new members. We hope to grow partnerships with business districts as well as business organizations outside our borders.
Finally, let’s pause to remember one of our most dedicated supporters. Curt Cruver passed away in March, 2015. Curt was a long-time Chamber member with an easy smile and an encyclopedic knowledge of our community. He served as our Board Treasurer. More importantly, he was a kind man, a good friend and an ongoing inspiration to our Chamber.