Touchdown Greater Omaha Chamber! (Thanks, Peyton Manning!)

Tania Kohut on Friday, January 17, 2014 at 12:00:00 am 

With Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning barking “Omaha!” a reported 44 times during last Sunday’s (1/12) divisional playoff game against the San Diego Chargers, the Greater Omaha Chamber wasn’t going to shrug off all the resulting attention.

As the chamber's press release explains, after Manning’s “Omaha! Omaha!” shouts garnered more than 1,000 print, broadcast and Internet mentions, the Greater Omaha Chamber decided to send some love back to Peyton and Denver with a fun video: “Denver's Set. XOXO Omaha.” 

“This 30-second spot highlights our city that prides itself on moving the ball forward,” said David G. Brown, the Chamber’s president and CEO. “We think there are a lot of new football fans that will be watching the Denver Broncos this Sunday, and we hope there are a lot of new Omaha fans as well.”

The Omaha business community is also getting into the game by sending its own “shout-out” to the superstar quarterback. Omaha-based companies, including ConAgra Foods, First National Bank of Omaha, Mutual of OmahaOmaha Steaks, Union PacificCenturyLink and DJ's Dugout, have pledged to donate a combined $700 to Manning’s “Peyback Foundation” every time he says “Omaha” during this Sunday’s playoff game against the New England Patriots. Follow the latest on the effort on social media: #OmahaPeysback.

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Benchmarking and Evaluation Tools for Your Chamber

HERO team/Audrey Imhoff on Thursday, January 16, 2014 at 12:00:00 am 

Salary Survey

Are you looking for benchmarking information to use with your board, staff, and compensation committee?  ACCE has many great tools to help!  We just released a brand new PDF publication of our salary survey results for 2013-14.  This publication is for sale in the ACCE Store.  It includes salary information for 16 different positions and breaks down the data by total annual revenue, number of staff, number of members, and other measures.  If you are only looking for CEO salary information, we also have a CEO-only publication that contains this data.  The tables and graphs in both publications are easy-to-read and can be taken directly to your compensation committee for use in a meeting.  For more information about our salary survey, including information about how to get free, anonymous spreadsheets of data from the salary survey, go to our Salary Survey webpage.  

Evaluation Forms

Does your board want to do a self-evaluation, or do they need a form to evaluate the CEO?  We have examples of both that can be found through our Governance and Leadership Chamberpedia pages, under the Hiring and Assessing page.  See some examples here:

Operations Survey

Another valuable benchmarking tool is our annual Operations Survey.  The 2013-14 Operations Survey will be open for your participation from February 1st to March 1st, so stay tuned for more information in your email inbox and on our Operations Survey webpage.  

Please note - for ACCE's online resources, members will need to Log in with your username and password. (Forgot your password? Click here.) Have questions, need research assistance, or want to suggest a new link or contribute to our Samples? Please email us at

Tags: Benchmarking, Compensation, HERO, Salary, Survey

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Minimum Wage Debate Taking Center Stage

Carmen Hickerson on Monday, January 13, 2014 at 12:00:00 am 

President Obama and Congress are talking about it.  More than 12 states are considering it and several more have already done it.  And workers around the country are rallying about it. What is ‘it’?  Raising the minimum wage. 

The White House got the ball rolling on the current discussion by including it in the State of the Union speech, with President Obama declaring that “no one who works full time should have to live in poverty.”  On Black Friday, protests were held at several Walmart stores to draw attention to the issue, and in December, fast-food workers in hundreds of U.S. cities staged a day of rallies to demand higher wages.

The current rate of $7.25 per hour was last increased in 2009.  While Washington remains gridlocked on the issue, several states, as well as some localities, saw increases approved last year go into effect on January 1.  Some were modest increases, but New Jersey voters approved a minimum wage increase of $1.00 to $8.25 and California lawmakers raised that state’s to the highest in the nation at $10. Click here for an overview of the minimum wage changes taking place in 2014.  This year, 12 states and the District of Columbia will be considering minimum wage hikes through legislation or ballot initiatives.

Proponents of the increase argue that  hiking the minimum wage is not only necessary to improve the lives of millions of workers and their families, but that it also improves the economy by increasing purchasing power and creating more stability for the middle class.  However, opponents believe that an increase disproportionately affects small businesses and that such a move would be counterproductive by decreasing opportunity for those young and lower-skilled looking to enter the workforce.  Economists cannot agree on the effects of a minimum wage increase.  Some studies report that higher minimum wages lead to higher unemployment because employers cut labor costs by offering fewer hours and fewer new jobs.  However, other reports indicate little to no negative effects.

One thing for certain is that the debate is not going away any time soon.  As Chambers of Commerce it’s an issue we can’t afford to ignore as it affects nearly every business sector in some way.  At ACCE, we’d love to know what you think?  Have you started talking about the issue internally or with your board and policy committees?  Do you have an existing policy position on minimum/living wage?  Email us with your chamber’s take on the issue at

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Oslo Business for Peace Award: Submit Nominees

Tania Kohut on Friday, January 10, 2014 at 12:00:00 am 

The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) and the Oslo-based Business for Peace Foundation are seeking nominees for the 2014 Oslo Business for Peace Award, a global honor recognizing inspiring business leaders and entrepreneurs who combine ethical responsibility with business success. Submit a nomination for the award by Feb. 1.

The ICC, an official supporting partner of the award, together with local chambers of commerce, assists in the global nomination process for the Business for Peace Award by searching for outstanding business people who have been able to achieve business success while acting in an ethically responsible way. The 2013 Business for Peace Awards were given to six outstanding business people from Brazil, Denmark, Pakistan, Yemen, and the United States. View the complete list of last year’s winners.

The Business for Peace Awards were given for the first time in 2009 in Oslo, Norway, the home of the Nobel Peace Prize, with honorees chosen by a committee of past Nobel Prize winners.

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Resources For Working With Boards

HERO Team / Sarah Myers on Friday, January 3, 2014 at 12:00:00 am 

Chambers commonly have questions about working with board members. Common questions include "How do I orient my new board members?" and "How do I manage conflicts of interest on my board?" or "How can I effectively work with my new board chair?" ACCE's HERO portal contains resources to address these questions and more!

Books in the ACCE Store:

ACCE University eCourse:

  • Chamber 101: Introducing the Work of Chambers of Commerce: In this foundational 8-part eCourse twelve chamber practitioners offer a broad stroke presentation that highlights the work of chambers. This online course is designed to both work in tandem with chamber staff and board orientation programming, while offering a flexibile training tool that can be incorporated into any chamber retreat, lunch-n-learn or training activity.

Chamberpedia pages:

Chamber Executive Magazine articles:

Samples – Board Management:

Other Resources:

Outside of ACCE, other valuable resources for working with boards are avaialble through They offer publications through their Learning Center. Some of their resources are free and some have a cost.


Please note - for ACCE's online resources, members will need to Log in with your username and password. (Forgot your password? Click here.) Have questions, need research assistance, or want to suggest a new link or contribute to our Samples? Please email us at



Tags: Board Management, Chamberpedia, HERO, Samples Library, Working with Boards

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A Chamber's Great Idea to File for Christmas 2014

Tania Kohut on Monday, December 30, 2013 at 7:45:00 am 

Laura E. Weis, IOM, ACE, president and CEO of the Champaign County (IL) Chamber of Commerce, recently shared with ACCE an idea that has proven to be an easy, fun way to reach out to members and get them engaged during the holidays.

In her email to ACCE, Laura wrote: "Sometimes it’s the 'quick, really didn’t give it much thought' idea that gets everyone talking. What started as an innocent conversation among our staff about 'Elf on the Shelf' phenomenon turned into 'Charlie Chamber Shops Local.'”

For the 12 days of Christmas, Charlie Chamber visited local companies and the chamber posted his adventures on Facebook. On Day 1, staff spent the good part of the day stopping in at various chamber member locations and posed Charlie in their place at work. The chamber posted clues through Facebook and gave away gift cards between Dec. 12 until Christmas. According to Laura, "People loved it." 

Catch Charlie's adventures by visiting the Champaign County Chamber's Facebook page



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Nashville Chamber Releases 21st Annual Education Report Card

Jessie Azrilian on Friday, December 20, 2013 at 12:00:00 am 

Today, the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce’s Education Report Card Committee released the 2013 Education Report Card for Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools (MNPS). The Chamber has convened a diverse group of business and community leaders to evaluate the progress of Nashville’s public school system for 21 years. Each year, the committee chooses a further area of study that is critical for student success. This year’s focus is Common Core State Standards, the state’s new academic standards that align with college and career-readiness benchmarks.

Mixed Results 

This year Tennessee was named the fastest-improving state in the country on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). While, the committee's report found declines and plateaus in areas such as English language arts scores and middle school achievement, they applauded the district on many initiatives including its Academic Performance Framework and the ambitious goals of the 2018 strategic plan. Marc Hill, Chief Policy Officer for the Nashville Chamber provides an overview of the committee's presentation and recommendations here: 


Beginning its work in August, the 24-member committee conducted more than 30 interviews, collected data and visited schools, before issuing five recommendations in the areas of school system performance and Common Core State Standards.

This year’s committee recommendations are:
•Metro Schools should take decisive action toward discontinuing their persistently lowest-performing, under-enrolled school programs under the new district Academic Performance Framework.
•Metro Schools should implement an aggressive strategy to recruit and retain high-performing bilingual teachers.
•Metro Government should allow enrolled K-12 students to ride Metropolitan Transit Authority buses at no cost to the student, making school choice a real possibility for Nashville’s students and families.
•The Tennessee General Assembly should stay the course in implementing Common Core State Standards and the corresponding PARCC assessment.
•Metro Schools should implement a strategy to communicate with parents, teachers, students and the broader public about the increased rigor and higher expectations that correspond with Common Core Standards.

To view this year’s complete report, visit:

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Education Attainment Resources You Can Use 24/7

HERO Team/Sarah Myers on Thursday, December 19, 2013 at 12:00:00 am 

Be sure to read ACCE's Education Attainment Division's latest blog post on "Business-Friendly Tools Chambers Can Use to Support a College & Career-Ready Agenda" (12/13/2013).  This post highlights updated resources and tools you can use for education attainment, workforce readiness, and Common Core Standards for chambers and your members. If your chamber is doing any work in Education & Workforce Development, be sure to get connected to ACCE's Education Attainment Division in our Divisions & Groups. HERO content relies on your contributions. Have a Sample document, link, or resource to share with us? Email to contribute resources or ask us a question.

Tags: HERO, Workforce Development, common core, education, Education Attainment

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Business-Friendly Tools Chambers Can Use to Support a College & Career-Ready Agenda

Jessie Azrilian on Friday, December 13, 2013 at 11:21:00 am 

As 48 states begin to implement new K-12 standards and assessments chambers are poised to bridge the education community with the needs of employers to prepare the future workforce to be competitive in a global economy.  In order to assist chambers at all levels of engagement the K-12 section of ACCE's online HERO information library features business-friendly resources related to next generation assessments and Common Core State Standards.  

College and Career Readiness
The Education and Workforce Development section of the HERO portal contains resources chambers can use to engage their communities across the whole cradle to career spectrum. The K-12 section of ACCE's online Chamberpedia features business-friendly tools, samples and FAQs catered to all levels of interest and engagement whether you are interested in simply learning more about Common Core State Standards or are actively working with business leaders, schools, higher education institutions, etc. to prepare your communities to successfully implement more rigorous standards and assessments. 

Common Core 101 & the Role of Business
Introductory resources to new standards and assessments include: a presentation for chambers and employers on Understanding Common Core Standards by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation; a presentation by Tim Sheehy, President, Milwaukee Metropolitan Association of Commerce on Transitioning to the Common Core State Standards; and a Myth vs. Facts sheet prepared by the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce. 

Next Generation Standards and Assessments - Tools & Resources for Chambers
Additional materials found in the College and Career Readiness section serve to showcase what is being done to raise the bar for the future workforce and offers tools from experts and chamber leaders on how to get involved. The section includes: blog posts from chamber executives; a communications toolkit to reach policymakers, the media and the general public (including your employees) with a consistent business message about the need for improvements to our nation’s education system; sample common core pledge and letter from business leaders; and customizable one-page PARCC and SBAC flyers that organizations can add their logo and website to on how business leaders can work in partnership with schools and districts to shape new policies and practices.  

Our Chamberpedia pages and Samples Library are populated by your contributions, so we invite you to help us continue to grow and expand on these valuable resources. Have a case study for how your chamber is supporting next generation standards and assessments in your community? Email or Visit the EAD page to learn more information about the Education Attainment Division. Check out the Mentor Program to connect with chamber leaders with education and workforce development expertise or sign up to become a Mentor yourself!

*Note: you will need your ACCE login (jsmith) and password (EAD123) to access the links on this post and HERO resources. 


Tags: HERO, K-12, Chamberpedia, EAD, education

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Google Assists in Honoring Veterans

Tania Kohut on Thursday, December 12, 2013 at 12:00:00 am 

At this time of year, since 1992, the nonprofit organization Wreaths Across America lays holiday wreaths on more than 100,000 headstones at Arlington National Cemetery, which is about six miles from ACCE’s offices. It is a touching tradition and a visually stunning tribute to our fallen heroes. But this year, according to The Washington Post, Wreaths Across America, which places wreaths on graves in 900 cemeteries nationwide, faced a financial shortfall that threatened its work at Arlington Cemetery. Wreaths Across America “had about 12 percent more donations this year than last,” the Post reported, but “many corporate sponsors who previously had supported the Arlington effort decided this year to split their contributions between Arlington and other military cemeteries around the nation.”

Now, thanks to a $250,000 donation from Google (an official corporate sponsor of ACE), plus other individual donations, nearly 120,000 gravestones at Arlington National Cemetery will be decorated with holiday wreaths the morning of Dec. 14.

If you would like to help Wreaths Across America meet its goal of placing a wreath at every one of Arlington’s 240,000 headstones next year, visit

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