It Never Hurts to Hear it Again: Be Prepared
Tonya Sprenkle, vice president of the Joplin Area (MO) Chamber of Commerce, spoke last week at the monthly luncheon of the Blue Springs (MO) Chamber of Commerce. She traveled to Blue Springs, approximately 150 miles north of Joplin, to share lessons learned from the deadly EF-5 tornado which tore through the area May 22, 2011. The Blue Springs Examiner offers a recap of Sprenkle’s presentation in which she stressed the importance of the chamber having an emergency plan, knowing the resources in your community, and being prepared for the long haul—Joplin is still recovering. The article quotes Sprenkle as saying that with disaster, “You will be busy. Life doesn’t get back to normal.” Read the complete article here.
Spotlight on the New Bedford Chamber
Southcoast Business Bulletin, a monthly newspaper covering local and regional business news in Southeastern Massachusetts and Rhode Island, recently interviewed New Bedford Area Chamber President and CEO Roy Nascimento, IOM. Get to know this ACCE-member chamber, its community, and why Nascimento’s “bullishness on New Bedford” is paying off for this number one fishing port in America and the world's most famous whaling era seaport. Nascimento talks about how local businesses feel about the economy, challenges facing the region, positive things happening in New Bedford, and the chamber’s initiatives on education, workforce development, and economic development projects. Read the interview here.
Why They Play
If you've seen an ACCE trends presentation, then you probably remember Mick's triangle diagram showing the chamber at the intersection of business, politics and community. We use the slide (pictured below) to remind audiences that chambers have a unique position which makes running one both fun and challenging. If you love your chamber career, this unique position is probably a big reason why.
It's also why your organization has members who just can't get enough.
I was reminded of this last week when two chamber delegations visited Washington D.C. Rick Baker and Andy Johnston from the Grand Rapids Area Chamber brought corporate leaders to town to muster legislative support for a key piece of infrastructure. Later in the week, a delegation from Valdosta, Ga., led by Myrna Ballard, brought a strong business climate agenda to their federal elected officials.
The 20-some business leaders from Michigan and Georgia whom I met aren’t hired lobbyists. They didn't come to D.C. to win a government contract or fight a regulation that dings just their respective business or industry. They represent a cross-section of the business community – manufacturers, bankers, pharmaceutical distributors, utilities, and HR consultants. Some were senior executives from publicly-traded firms, others were sole proprietors. They all have one thing in common: they care.
They care about their business and about their community. They know they have a big stake in the success of each and that their voice matters with elected officials. They traveled on their own dime and their own time because they know it’s important.
I suspect that they also made the trip because they enjoy it. Like you, they enjoy playing in the intersection of business, politics and community. Who else but a chamber of commerce gives business leaders that opportunity?
Photo courtesy Valdosta Chamber of Commerce
Getting to the Core in Coeur d’Alene
Coeur d'Alene, the name shared by a lake, town and hotel, is the premier destination in Idaho's northern panhandle. It's hard to spell but easy to love. The shimmering waters and glowing sunsets make you want to sink in to a deck chair and ponder existence for a couple of days. But, that's not why I was there.
I made the trip to join CEOs and senior staff from statewide chambers of commerce and business associations from across the country. While seminars from the Pew Center on the States’ Results First campaign and BIPAC were conference highlights, the emerging impact of independent expenditures in state elections fueled the most discussion, both during and after hours.
Two days with this group reaffirmed something I've long known: business organizations looking to improve the quality and effectiveness of their communications, particularly political messages, should benchmark against state chambers.
The samples exchanged this week are too good not to share. Here are a few you should check out:
- Kentucky Chamber - Ready for Jobs?
Rankings-focused, data rich brochure examines how Kentucky stacks up as a place to do business based on 8 key policy and business climate areas.
- Florida Chamber – Free Enterprise and Fairness
There's no subtlety obscuring this video's message about public employee unions, it's just one example of bold politics from the Florida Chamber.
- North Carolina Chamber - NC Jobs Wins
Trifold flyer highlights legislative victories over the past biennium and outlines priorities for 2013.
- Association of Washington Business - Challenges and Opportunities
Flyer succinctly tells the story of the manufacturing sector's economic impact and policy priorities.
Bringing the Beach to the DNC
The Myrtle Beach Area, S.C., Chamber of Commerce is taking advantage of the local and national media attention that Charlotte, N.C., is garnering thanks to this week’s Democratic National Convention. As part of a promotional campaign highlighting Myrtle Beach as a vacation destination, the chamber, working with Myrtle Beach’s CVB, arranged for two sand sculptures—one of President Obama and the other of the Democratic donkey symbol—to be built on one of Charlotte’s busiest streets during the convention. The sand came from South Carolina, traveling the 175 miles separating Charlotte from Myrtle Beach. According to Nora Battle, the chamber's media communications manager, "We're a bipartisan beach with a big dose of Southern hospitality.”
Photo courtesy of Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce