Member Profile - Brynn Allio
Manager, Government Relations
Council of Smaller Enterprise (COSE), part of the Greater Cleveland (OH) Partnership
Brynn is an active member of the Government Relations Division and regularly contributes information to the Policy Clearinghouse. As Manger of Government Relations at COSE she is responsible for overseeing issues on the state and federal levels, including workers' compensation, energy and regulatory reform. She also works with her team to manage issues such as Card Check, and Mandatory Paid Sick Leave. COSE is the Northeast Ohio region's largest small business support organization and provides cost-effective group purchasing programs, advocacy on legislative and regulatory issues, and networking and educational resources to help small businesses grow.
ACCE: How did you get started in chamber work, and what keeps you in the profession?
Brynn: I was working for a homebuilder and enjoyed the job, but every day when I drove home I couldn't help thinking, "so what." I wanted my work to make a difference in the community, so when I saw that COSE was hiring in their government relations department, I applied. I've been here for over three years now.
I have small business owners in my family, and I know that they are the lifeblood of the community. My passion for helping our amazing members run their businesses successfully keeps me excited to start work everyday.
ACCE: What policy issues are currently occupying your most of time?
Brynn: On the federal front we are maintaining our focus on Card Check. The national debate on health care is also taking center stage. At the state level we are spending a lot of time on regulatory reforms, specifically related to economic development policy. We're also working on an electricity rating statute. COSE is focused on energy efficiency; we are actually working on a project with the local utility provider to help them meet efficiency goals by educating business customers about energy saving techniques.
The state budget is also a big focus right now. Ohio is facing a $3.2 billion deficit, and we're actively monitoring budget proposals to watch for possible tax increases that will negatively impact businesses.
ACCE: What are the biggest challenges your chamber/community currently face?
Brynn: I think our biggest ongoing challenge is getting our member's attention and then converting that interest into involvement. Our small business members are always short on two things, money and time, so getting them to spend time to understand a policy issue and then take more time make calls or write letters is a challenge.
Big, galvanizing issues like Card Check, however, have helped us move members from interest to action. Early this year we set up a special website about Card Check that helped facilitate outreach to elected officials. Within 3 days small businesses in Cleveland had sent more than 1,400 letters opposing Card Check legislation. Many of those people are now more likely to get involved in other big issues.
ACCE: Finish this sentence. Never again will I ...
Brynn: Never again will I ... take for granted the value of member feedback and participation. With over 17,000 members, we have access to a diverse and passionate group of small business owners whose knowledge and experience serve as a critical resource for us as we develop and implement our policy objectives. Further, the interaction and involvement from members is invaluable as we continue work to build a large network of individuals who will work together to fight for small business interests. Bottom line â€“ I've learned the importance of utilizing members as a resource for information and support in order to strengthen our message and our impact.