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ACCE Recognizes Chamber Sales Professionals

Tania Kohut on Monday, June 29, 2020 at 12:00:00 am 

ACCE is pleased to announce the winners of the Dana Ketterling Lifetime Sales Achievement Award and the Sales Contest. The awards are presented by the ACCE Membership Development Division Circle of Champions program, which connects chamber sales professionals and inspires and recognizes excellence in membership sales performance.

Dana Ketterling Lifetime Sales Achievement Award
The Dana Ketterling Lifetime Sales Achievement Award recognizes career sales achievement, with awards based on the total number or total dollar amount of chamber membership sales. The award is presented in memory of Dana Ketterling, ACCE’s resource development officer, who was a gifted membership professional and champion of chambers of commerce and the communities they serve.

DIAMOND
Individuals who have achieved $1.5 million in sales in chamber memberships throughout their careers.

Karri Clark
Bozeman Area Chamber of Commerce  

PLATINUM
Individuals who have achieved $750,000 in sales in chamber memberships throughout their careers.

Art Goldberg
Vegas Chamber

Nancy McCoy Duncan
Union County Chamber

Renee Shafer
Williamson Inc.

Rachel Wonder
Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia
 

GOLD
Individuals who have achieved 1,000 sales or $500,000 in sales in chamber memberships throughout their careers.

Randy Newell
Greater Cleveland Partnership

Kailey Northcutt
Dallas Regional Chamber             

Shannon Spiess
Greater Kansas City Chamber    

SILVER
Individuals who have achieved 750 sales or $300,000 in sales in chamber memberships throughout their careers.       

Jenny Avis
Clear Lake Area Chamber

Ben Haag
Dallas Regional Chamber

Susan Moody, IOM
Saginaw County Chamber of Commerce

Kristina O'Leary
Seminole County Chamber

Kishia Williamson Townsend
Greater Cleveland Partnership  

Michelle Weston
Vegas Chamber

Rebecca Wood
Greater Louisville Inc.    
           

BRONZE
Individuals who have achieved 500 sales or $175,000 in sales in chamber memberships throughout their careers.

D'Andre Allegra
McKinney Chamber of Commerce

Tina Blankenship
Huntsville Madison County Chamber      

Becky Brown
Effingham County Chamber

Ansley Jones
Gwinnett Chamber

Kelly Killeen-Haupt
Charleston Metro Chamber        

Kathy Marcum
Plano Chamber of Commerce

Christopher Slocombe
Greater Cleveland Partnership  

Laura Traxler
Grand Rapids Chamber 

Hunter Walsh
Hampton Roads Chamber

 

Sales Contest
Chamber sales professionals benchmark their sales success against like-sized organizations by submitting their quarterly sales figures to ACCE. The top sales professionals in each of three dues income categories are recognized based on total number of new member sales and on total dollar value of new member sales.

Under $500,000 

Number of New Personal Sales                                          

First Place: Vicki Keibler
Barrow County Chamber              

Second Place: Jenny Avis
Clear Lake Area Chamber of Commerce

Third Place: Kim Niskey
Garner Chamber of Commerce 

Dollar Value of New Personal Sales

First Place: Vicki Keibler
Barrow County Chamber

Second Place: Kristina O'Leary
Seminole County Chamber          

Third Place: Jenny Avis
Clear Lake Area Chamber of Commerce

$500,000-$2 million

Number of New Personal Sales                                          

First Place: Gina Martens    
Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce 

Second Place: D'Andre Allegra      
McKinney Chamber of Commerce 

Third Place: Kathy Marcum
Plano Chamber of Commerce

Dollar Value of New Personal Sales

First Place: Jeffrey Durbin          
Greater Phoenix Chamber

Second Place: Kathy Marcum
Plano Chamber of Commerce    

Third Place: D'Andre Allegra      
McKinney Chamber of Commerce (Texas)

Over $2 million

Number of New Personal Sales                                          

First Place: Linda Ferguson
Greater Cleveland Partnership  

Second Place: Christopher Slocombe
Greater Cleveland Partnership  

Third Place: Kishia Williamson
Townsend Greater Cleveland Partnership  

Dollar Value of New Personal Sales

First Place: Linda Ferguson
Greater Cleveland Partnership 

Second Place: Tina DeRobertis
Dallas Regional Chamber    
       
Third Place: Christopher Slocombe
Greater Cleveland Partnership  

 

 

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Chamber Inclusion in PPP

Will Burns on Friday, June 19, 2020 at 12:00:00 am 

This week we thank Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL), Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Tim Scott (R-SC) for introducing legislation to expand Paycheck Protection Program eligibility to chambers of commerce and destinatioin marketing organizations.

While expanding eligibility to PPP may not happen until the next major legislative package is negotiated between the two houses of Congress, we are grateful to see lawmakers showing their support for the important role chambers are playing during this crisis.

Our partners at ASAE have launched a new sign-on letter. Monday is the deadline to add your chamber to the letter. Sign on today and continue to communicate with your elected officials.  

 

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ACCE DEI Resource Roundup

Will Burns on Friday, June 19, 2020 at 12:00:00 am 

As communities grapple with the challenges of racial inequity, we’ve seen an uptick in questions about best practices for chambers of commerce to engage on diversity, equity and inclusion issues.

In recent updates we’ve highlighted chamber responses to the current national dialogue on racial equity. We’ve also laid out steps your chamber can take to boost your organization’s credibility and begin to take action.

This week’s ACCE Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Division roundtable call featured a discussion of actions taken in the St. Louis region following the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri in 2014. St. Louis Regional Chamber Senior Vice President of Inclusion and Talent Attraction Valerie Patton joined the call to discuss the work of the Ferguson Commission, a group of regional leaders that come together to solutions for equity in the region by addressing systemic racism.

If your chamber is exploring how it can support meaningful change in your community, the Ferguson Commission Report is a great place to turn for actionable ideas. The report includes 189 policy recommendations. There is also a follow up action plan that measures the success of the work, continued to push for policy change and establish the action strategies necessary to sustain the work. We hope these resources are helpful. You can listen to the complete call here.

 

Recent Chamber of Commerce Equity Pledges 

 

Chamber Executive Articles 

 

Recent DEI Division Roundtable Call Recordings

 

Chamber Best Practice Examples

 

What is Your Chamber Working On?

Send us updates on your diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives and programs. Contact Amy Shields at ashields@acce.org.

Tags: DEI

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Tips for Chambers to Engage on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Amy Shields on Friday, June 12, 2020 at 12:00:00 am 

As protests and demonstrations continue across the country, chambers are examining their role in responding to racism and systemic inequities. Below, we have provided some steps for chambers to consider as they chart their path forward. There are also examples from chambers who have done this work. ACCE encourages everyone to consider taking one or more of these actions. As a member recently said, “You can come for this issue, or it will come for you.”

Internal Actions

All work on diversity, equity and inclusion has to start internally. If we want to be seen as credible in this space, we need to take steps with our own board and staff.

  • Have open and honest conversations with your staff and board. Your staff may be struggling, and it may be uncomfortable to have a conversation with them about racism and equity. We will not become more comfortable having conversations about race if we aren’t willing to be uncomfortable in the process. If needed, consider brining in external facilitators or consultants to support the conversation.
    • Matt Pivarnik, president and CEO of the Greater Topeka Partnership, spoke to his staff about his commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion
    • The Greater Cleveland Partnership’s board voted to support the city council’s declaration of racism as a public health crisis
  • Provide specific training for your staff and board on diversity, equity and inclusion. Training will not solve systemic racism, but it is a start to creating a culture that supports equity and inclusion. Consider working with a local nonprofit or an organization like the Racial Equity Institute. Topics might include implicit bias, microaggressions, lessons on historic policies that have contributed to current inequities, or other topics.
  • Evaluate your policies and procedures with an intentional DEI lens. Your chamber’s policies and procedures should reinforce your organization’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion. Review your bylaws and governance documents, hiring and evaluation practices, employee manual, staff onboarding procedures, internal communications and other relevant policies and procedures.
  • Be honest about your chamber’s past. Our industry isn’t perfect, and some chambers have been on the wrong side of history when it comes to issues of equity and inclusion. In order to move forward, we must be honest about our mistakes and reconcile that with our desire to be better moving forward.
    • Mike Neal, president & CEO of the Tulsa Regional Chamber, acknowledged troubling passages from historic chamber meeting minutes in the aftermath of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre and reaffirmed the organization’s dedication to doing better. The chamber also donated a copy of its historic meeting minutes to the Greenwood Cultural Center.
  • Consider where your chamber should lead efforts and where you should support. Chambers are natural conveners and leaders, but you don’t have to be at the center of every conversation. In this work, identify community partners and others who are already embedded in this work, and ask them how you can best support their efforts.
    • Chris Steinocher, president and CEO of the St. Petersburg Area Chamber, talked about the importance of listening and working in partnership at a recent virtual workshop
    • The Greenville Chamber released a joint statement with the Urban League of the Upstate & United Way of Greenville County calling for more community dialogue

External Actions

Chambers can choose from a wide array of options to support diversity, equity and inclusion in their communities. Even small steps can be valuable in the long run.

  • Issue a statement of support or place an op-ed in the local paper. A public commitment to equity and inclusion makes a powerful statement, whether individually, in partnership with other organizations. Consider how it might be interpreted if your chamber chooses not to say anything publicly in this moment.
  • Host or promote dialogues for your members, the business community, or the broader community. Does it make sense for you to host a conversation, or does it make sense for the chamber to be the listener in the conversation? Who is the right audience, and are you ready to hear the perspectives of community members no matter what they express?
  • Support minority-owned businesses. Support for minority-owned businesses is particularly important during this time, in part because these businesses have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.
    • The Indy Chamber is administering Rapid Response Loans for businesses impacted by COVID-19, including those who may not have been able to access PPP funding
    • The Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber has a successful minority business accelerator, and Darrin Redus, Senior Vice President, spoke to Congress about the importance of their work
    • The Dayton Chamber’s Minority Business Partnership creates supply chain opportunities for minority-owned businesses with large buying organizations within the region.
  • Provide training and support for members on issues of diversity, equity and inclusion. Many organizations, particularly smaller businesses, may not have the resources to bring in their own speakers or instructors. Chambers can step in to fill the gap and provide important information to members.
    • The Grand Rapids Chamber offers its Institute for Healing Racism, a two-day program design to “attack the disease of racism from all sides”
    • The Raleigh Area Chamber of Commerce runs the Triangle DEI Alliance, which offers a variety of programming, including virtual and in-person conferences and learning events
    • The Greater Cleveland Partnership offers members a Diversity and Inclusion Assessment that helps them benchmark their company’s diversity and inclusion data against others in the region
  • Integrate diversity, equity and inclusion into everything you do. Chambers are examining everything from their economic development incentives to their legislative agendas. Use the same lens for external work as you do for internal policies and procedures.

Other Resources

Many people, especially white people, may be at a loss for where to begin when it comes to learning more about diversity, equity and inclusion. It can be tempting to turn to colleagues of color and to ask them to elaborate on their own experiences. In this time, remember that your colleagues may be feeling a variety of emotions about the current situation. Instead of asking them to expend their emotional and mental energy for your benefit, consider checking out one of these resources:

Tags: DEI

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Chambers Contribute to National Dialogue on Racial Inequity

Will Burns on Thursday, June 4, 2020 at 12:00:00 am 

Chambers of commerce play a pivotal role in the communities they serve, a role built on leadership, trust and collaboration.

As communities grapple with the challenges of racial inequity, chambers are connecting with and listening to their community's most relevant stakeholders and seeking to be productive partners in local and national efforts to pursue meaningful solutions. Here are a few trends we identified during peer calls this week: 

Talk to Your Team: Many chambers created opportunities for their teams to come together to share how they are feeling about the current situation and provide input on how the chamber should respond. Some used professional facilitators, others simply tried to create an environment of candor and trust. One interesting idea was to offer for your chamber to buy each staff member a book on a topic related to racial inequity. Then hold periodic meetings for staff to discuss and exchange the books. Here are a few recommendations. Send me your recommendations and we’ll publish a chamber reading list next week.

Identify Key Stakeholders: Many forward-thinking chambers have developed relationships as part of ongoing diversity, equity and inclusion efforts, but it’s never too late to start conversations with organizations like the NAACP, Urban League, United Way, faith-based organizations, minority business owners and elected officials and more. Open lines of dialogue and …

Listen: Chambers have a propensity for action. They see a problem, they pursue a solution. Take the time to listen to the stakeholders you identified. Understand how your organization is perceived by their leaders and the communities they serve. You are not going to build trust overnight. Be a good listener, and identify ways to support and build alliances that could lead to meaningful change.

Here are some of the initial statements we've seen from chambers across the country. If your chamber has taken action, please share your examples with Will Burns at wburns@acce.org.

Tags: DEI

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I'm heartbroken, but determined

Sheree Anne Kelly on Monday, June 1, 2020 at 12:00:00 am 

I'm heartbroken to see our country look and feel the way it does right now. I'm angry at the injustice I see. I'm sad for so many who are personally impacted across the country as community leaders, business owners, and most importantly as individuals. I'm worried for members of my staff, my friends, my neighbors, my own community… I've heard from so many who have emotions that run from anger, to fear, to exhaustion.

My personal ethics don't allow me to simply watch this unfold. Racism and systemic injustice cannot be tolerated. Discrimination and acts of hate are not OK.

We are community leaders, conveners and trusted voices across the country and around the world. We need to use that power to help. Convening many stakeholders and bringing disparate voices to the table for meaningful local conversations are critical. We have a voice we can use, but we also need to listen first. Listening builds mutual understanding, and there's not enough of that right now.

Now is the time to bring your community stakeholders together to share perspectives and find ways to work collaboratively through and beyond where we are today. Thoughts and prayers alone won’t build us a stronger, more united country. We need action.

All of our peer group and division calls this week will focus on how we as an industry can be active partners in affecting change. I look forward to hearing your thoughts – and as always, I'm also happy to be in touch directly. Thank you for all you're doing for your communities and let's build a path to a better future together.

United with you,
Sheree Anne

Tags: DEI

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House Approves Changes to PPP

Will Burns on Friday, May 29, 2020 at 12:00:00 am 

The House of Representatives passed the Paycheck Protection Flexibility Act (H.R. 6886). The bill makes several positive changes to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), but it does not address the issue of 501 (c)(6) eligibility.

Among other changes, the bill extends the forgiveness period for eligible expenses from eight weeks to 24 weeks. It also adjusts the restrictions requiring that 75 percent of the loan amount goes to payroll, changing the ratio from 75/25 to 60/40.

The Senate is expected to take up the bill next week. The bill is expected to remain narrowly focused on changes to the current program and it will not address expansion. The next big federal package is likely to be the next opportunity to address (c)(6) inclusion. 

ACCE will continue to work with our partners at the U.S. Chamber and ASAE to push to expand PPP eligibility to chambers of commerce and other 501 (c) organizations.

See ACCE’s recent op-ed in the Washington Business Journal.

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How Will COVID-19 Change the Future of Work

Will Burns on Friday, May 29, 2020 at 12:00:00 am 

Cognizant’s Center for the Future of Work published a special report that considers how COVID-19 could change the world of work, education, health, shopping, entertainment and more.

“We imagined what would it be like if we were in 2025 and then looking back at what happened in the aftermath of the virus,” said Benjamin Pring, director of the Center for the Future of Work. “In that way of stretching your imagination, it gives you a different perspective. It offers a different way of looking at things, getting beyond the short-term panic and thinking about how we separate the changes that will become permanent from the short-term changes that will revert back to normal.”

A few highlights include:

Business Travel Loses its Cool: Is business travel the engine of commerce that we thought it was? Will virtual meeting and event alternatives, along with the environmental benefits of less air travel, lead to new habits around business travel.

The Birth of the Clean Regime: While workers may not be clamoring to get back into the office, it is clear that people want to quickly return to social spaces – parks, cafes, gyms, movie theatres, etc. As venues reopen, cleanliness is more important than ever, both in terms of combating the virus and strengthening consumer confidence to reenter these spaces. “This might be a complete shift in our perspective on the world. There is going to be a commercial opportunity around that. If conspicuous cleanliness is suddenly chic and cool, then there is going to be money to be made riding that wave.”

Online’s Big Bang: In the future, will solutions that were considered digital alternatives become the new norm. Up until the virus, technology played more of a supporting role in the delivery of education and health care. After the virus, digital solutions will play a much more central role. “What we are going to see in the next five years is that everything that can go online is going to go online,” Pring said.

Everyone’s Home is Their Castle: Will converted bedrooms and garages make way for more substantial, dedicated working space. Before the crisis, about 5 percent of Americans regularly work from home. During the COVID-19 crisis, a far greater number, perhaps 80 percent of knowledge workers worked from home regularly and there was not a massive hit to productivity. Coming out of the crisis, Pring estimated that 20-25 percent of knowledge workers may shift to working from home most of the time. “I think what’s going to happen is we’re going to go into physical offices when we need to do something that really requires that face-to-face interaction,” Pring said. “But the idea that people will regularly do that, Monday through Friday from nine to five, to do work that they could so just as easily at home will become less common.”

Read the complete report online here.

More Future of Work Reading  

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Congress Considering Changes to Paycheck Protection Program

Will Burns on Thursday, May 21, 2020 at 12:00:00 am 

Both houses of Congress are considering changes to the Paycheck Protection Program. 

According to the U.S. Chamber, the Senate may take action today to pass a bill that includes revisions to the Paycheck Protection Program that would extend the period in which small businesses can use the funds. Next week, the House is expected to consider the Paycheck Protection Flexibility Act (H.R. 6886). The bill makes a number of positive changes to the PPP, but it does not address the issue of 501 (c)(6) inclusion. 

Contact your Congressional delegation and encourage them to make 501(c)(6) organizations eligible for financial relief under PPP. 

 

 

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House COVID-19 Relief Bill Includes Relief for Chambers

Will Burns on Friday, May 15, 2020 at 12:00:00 am 

A proposal to expand access to the Paycheck Protection Program to all 501 (c) organizations is part of the $3 trillion COVID-19 relief package introduced by House Democrats this week.

Chambers of commerce have been urging their congressional delegations to support (c)(6) inclusion for weeks. It’s great to see lawmakers recognize the vital role chambers are playing during this crisis, helping companies access capital, sharing best practices for reopening, coordinating the sourcing of personal protective equipment, helping displaced workers find new jobs and more.  

Among other priorities, the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act, the bill provides nearly $1 trillion to state and local governments. View the complete bill summary here.

One additional provision within the bill is the extension of the $600 federal unemployment payments through January 2021. We are hearing from many chambers that, as states ease stay at home restrictions, this benefit is undermining businesses' ability to bring back employees, who are instead opting to stay on unemployment because of this added benefit.

The bill faces opposition in the Senate, where Senate Republicans are drafting their bill with a heavy emphasis on liability protections for businesses. No word yet on whether that bill will allow for (c)(6) inclusion in PPP. Expect bipartisan negotiations on a final package in the weeks ahead.

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