A Vote of Confidence Revealed in Seattle

Tania Kohut on Tuesday, October 1, 2013 at 12:00:00 am 

The Seattle Metropolitan Chamber recently revealed the results of two polls (each conducted by different research firms) that show that Seattle voters view the chamber favorably and would be more likely to vote for a candidate backed by the chamber. View survey questions and results.

While the chamber does not directly make candidate endorsements, its political affiliate, the Civic Alliance for a Sound Economy (CASE), has played a major role in the 2013 primary elections. As a result of CASE’s work, all of the candidates it endorsed will be appearing on the general election ballot this November. Goes to show that a good government relations program can make a difference!

According to the chamber, “Not only are these poll findings positive reinforcement of our work, but they also counteract some long-held ‘conventional wisdom’ about the influence that candidates receive from Chamber support.”

Read more about the polls here. For more information, contact the Seattle Chamber's George Allen.


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The Award for Best Chamber Staff Webpage

Ian Scott on Thursday, September 26, 2013 at 11:45:00 am 

The part of my job I love most is visiting our members (that’s you) in their offices. I love seeing your communities and the command centers where you make things happen. Before I visit, I always dig around your website. While I’m scoping your online presence, I always check out your staff webpage.

Most of you have a webpage listing all staff. Many of you include staff position descriptions and/or bios, some also include photos. But a few of you go the extra mile and inject genuine humor and personality into your staff listing page. Those chambers are in the running for Ian’s (unofficial) Best Staff Webpage Award.

The Greater Durham Chamber of Commerce has long had my favorite staff listing page. The headshots for Casey, Sheena, John, Jackie and the team are the perfect blend of fun and professional. Descriptions of their roles are clear and concise yet wonderfully playful. When you can click to learn more you get answers from everyone on staff to great questions like: “if you could possess any super power, what would it be?” and “as a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?”

I would have named the Durham Chamber undisputed winner of Ian’s (unofficial) Best Staff Webpage Award, until my recent swing through central Florida. There are a couple more that deserve consideration.

The Ocala/Marion County Chamber and Economic Partnership has given their staff listing page a kick with cool blue tone headshots, direct links to all staff’s LinkedIn and Twitter feeds, and quirky (often funny) insights about each member of the team. Communications Director Jarod Kintz authored these short quips and wasn’t afraid to push the envelope.

The St. Petersburg Area Chamber also deserves a nod for their super cool staff portraits in lieu of traditional headshots. The drawing of chamber president and CEO Chris Steinocher is probably my favorite. I guess the red eyes come from lots of late nights and early mornings.**For more on the organization and artists that supplied the staff portraits, check out

I’m not the only chamber website visitor who delights in some humor and personality. Where better to show it than on your staff listing page? After all, you chambers are run by individuals with fascinating skills, hobbies and lives. If your staff page is bland, why not take a hint from Durham, Ocala and St. Petersburg and liven it up a little!

Think your chamber’s staff page is a contender for Ian’s (unofficial) Best Staff Webpage Award? Leave a comment with a link and tell me why.

Tags: website, staff

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Breaking Records in Springfield, MO

Tania Kohut on Monday, September 23, 2013 at 12:00:00 am 

Last month, over the course of three days, 410 business and community leaders worked to help the 2012 Chamber of the Year award winning Springfield Area (MO) Chamber of Commerce bring in a total of 425 new members. This impressive achievement surpasses the chamber’s own record for the most investment dollars brought in by a chamber in a three-day membership event.

“This is a tremendous accomplishment, not just for our chamber, but for the community as a whole,” Chamber President Jim Anderson said. “The fact that we could do this not once, but twice, shows just how committed the business and professional community is to making a difference here in Springfield.”

Anderson attributed much of the event’s success to membership consulting company Your Chamber Connection. Jimmy Cusano and the team at Your Chamber Connection have been in the membership development industry for 24 years and have worked with more than 630 chambers across the United States and Canada.  In 2010, during ACCE’s annual convention in Milwaukee, Your Chamber Connection also assisted ACCE with its own membership event to bring in new members.

“Our chamber volunteers made this happen, not once but twice,” Brent McCoy, the chamber’s vice president of membership said.  “They, the volunteers, have worked non-stop over the last three days. You can only be the best chamber in the world if you have the best member-volunteers in the world--enough said.” 

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Rebranding Napa Chamber

Tania Kohut on Friday, September 6, 2013 at 12:00:00 am 

Earlier this week, Chris Messina, IOM, ACE, president and CEO of the Napa Chamber, announced in the North Bay (CA) Business Journal that a renewed brand and vision for the organization would be rolling out in the coming weeks.  

Messina previewed the chamber’s new logo, explained what went into the new look, and provided a rationale for the rebranding process. He wrote that the “rebranding process required an evaluation of every aspect of the organization, allowing us to redefine priorities and achieve a better understanding of where we need to go in order to best serve our members and the greater Napa Valley Community. Reflecting an engaged, progressive, and agile organization, this rebrand represents the Napa Chamber’s role in a growing and changing community.”

Messina, who assumed the chamber’s top post in February 2012, added, “This organizational face-lift will align our public image with a more modern, streamlined internal vision for the future. We’ve been working hard behind the scenes to reinforce the foundation of the Napa Chamber. With a new team in place, a new brand about to be launched, and a more targeted vision, we are ready to take the Napa Chamber of Commerce to the next level.”

Read all about the effort here:


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A Chamber Exec's LL World Series Star

Tania Kohut on Tuesday, August 27, 2013 at 12:00:00 am 

Over the past few weeks, Doug Holman, vice president of the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce, says he's "become very familiar with Cloud Nine" and "living the dream of a lifetime." Over the weekend, his son Grant was part of the Chula Vista, Calif., team playing in the championship game of the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pa.

Although Japan took home the prize, Grant got some major props from the media for his talent on the mound. Columnist Mike Chiari of the wrote, "Truth be told, Holman has done a little bit of everything for Chula Vista in this tournament. Not only has his pitching been spectacular, but he has also been swinging a hot bat. According to SportsCenter, he has already accomplished three incredible feats in the Little League World Series, which likely makes him the envy of every other player."

Check out this column from which highlighted Grant as one of the "three players with the best chance to gain Little League World Series immortality."

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Inspired by OKC: One Chamber Exec’s Story

Tania Kohut on Thursday, August 15, 2013 at 12:00:00 am 

Jackie Krawczak, executive director of the Alpena Area (MI) Chamber of Commerce, attended ACCE’s convention last month in Oklahoma City. Visiting OKC (along with participating in the convention) was an eye-opening, inspiring experience for this chamber exec who frankly admitted in a recent editorial that “Oklahoma City was never very high on my list of places I'd like to visit.” But, after spending four days there learning about its renaissance and experiencing what it offers, she is “now a fan of so many other things about that big, yet little, city."

Take a moment to read Jackie’s editorial which appeared in The Alpena News this week, and learn how Jackie’s observations about OKC and its story have inspired her in her work for her community and the Alpena Area Chamber. 

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Chamber Merger: Boost in Numbers, Opportunities

Tania Kohut on Wednesday, August 7, 2013 at 12:00:00 am 

The Greater Lehigh Valley (PA) Chamber of Commerce (GLVCC) just got a membership boost. Last week, the Carbon Chamber & Economic Development Corp. (CCEDC) officially partnered with the GLVCC, solidifying the GLVCC’s position as the largest chamber in Pennsylvania.

While both organizations will still operate independently, the partnership provides networking opportunities and new resources for the CCEDC. For the GLVCC, the union offers a new membership base in Carbon County, increasing its roster to nearly 6,000 member organizations.  Tony Ianelli, president and CEO of the GLVCC, commented on the mutual benefit of the partnership in an article on “Carbon saw the Lehigh Valley as a critical market for the business community, and the Lehigh Valley saw Carbon the same way,” Iannelli said. “We’re hoping to increase business-to-business relations and have an impact on public policy, getting attention in Harrisburg like Pittsburgh and Philadelphia.”

The GLVCC has been growing its presence in the region, partnering with more than 20 chamber and civic organizations. Learn more about the partnership and what it means for both organizations here.



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Need Professional Networking Help?

Tania Kohut on Friday, June 28, 2013 at 12:00:00 am 

With the largest networking event for chamber professionals—the ACCE Convention—coming soon, this recent article from Bloomberg Business Week is a must-read. It shows how one woman made it her job to be your networking buddy, or your “professional wingman.” If you consider yourself a so-so networker or simply hate the process (you’re not alone), you can hire her for $250. She’ll accompany you to a networking event, and do the work that so many find difficult or just plain awful. The article offers important networking tips.  Read it here.



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The Coming Jobs War

Tania Kohut on Monday, June 24, 2013 at 12:00:00 am 

The email below from Janet Steele, ACE, IOM, president of the Albany Area (OR) Chamber of Commerce, alerted ACCE about her chamber's effort to raise awareness of the impact of creating jobs and job opportunities.

I thought I'd brag a little about our Chamber. This past Monday [June 10], seven Board members and I delivered the book The Coming Jobs War by Jim Clifton, CEO of Gallup, to every Oregon House and Senate member, plus the Governor's office. The initial reaction was very positive and we learned today that the Governor is going to read the book.

This is a book I first heard about at the WACE conference this past February. Upon finishing it I asked my Exec Board to read it, they thought so much of it that in turn they asked every Board member to read it for our strategic planning retreat in April. They spent much of the retreat discussing the relevance of the book and how our mission/vision/programs could be directed more in line with pro-job strategies. I started giving out the book to other community leaders - the president of our community college had his key leadership staff read it, our key manufacturers have read it and shared it with staff. I gave it to our City Council and County Commissioners and the list keeps growing. We know  the book doesn't have all the answers, nor should it, each chamber/community needs to decide what their vision and mission should be. But,  this book continues the conversation we've been having with our members and community around jobs. "Business is a 4 Letter word - Jobs", and "Without Business there is No Community". They are more than tag lines they are a message that needs to go out to everyone.

I know I'm preaching to the choir but - someday we hope everyone will understand how important Jobs are to our communities and how we need to work together to bring jobs back to Albany, Oregon, and the USA.

Read more about the effort here:

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Is your chamber social media friendly?

Tania Kohut on Friday, May 31, 2013 at 12:00:00 am 

The staff at recently published its ranking of the top 100 most social media friendly chambers of commerce. In compiling the list, this social education community searched the most popular social media sites and recorded the number of followers, likes, pins, etc. for around 550 chambers of commerce that met their minimum requirements for consideration. Did your chamber make the list? View the rankings (and the requirements for consideration) here.

Bonus! If your chamber is included in the top 100, you are invited to post a badge promoting your achievement on your website or your social media accounts.



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