Chamber work is not for the faint of heart and the last few years have been especially difficult. What are you most passionate about and/or what is your favorite part of your job that keeps you going?
Julie Pastrick, IOM
Greater Flagstaff (AZ) Chamber
There’s no industry as dynamic as the chamber industry! Where else can you be at the center of commerce engaging daily with so many leaders and influencers who care about your mission; being the first to know about what business is coming, which one is leaving, who is moving up the career ladder?
Serving as a huge hub of business information in the community opens doors to many collaborations and relationships with many leaders that you otherwise might not even get to know.
Acting as a liaison between your member investors and elected leaders at the local, state and federal levels creates a lot of excitement and energy. Who else brings those elected officials face-to-face with key business stakeholders? Bringing up the next generation of leaders is a space that not many other entities get to fill. It’s gratifying to facilitate emerging leaders gathering and serving the community in our Young Professionals Club. I really believe that most of us don’t truly grasp how much our organizations are respected and trusted. How large our voice is when representing the interests of business before government.
And finally, it would take me a week to extol the passion I have for our work as job creators, helping families keep their wealth local, developing youth into the employee your companies want to hire, and facilitating community events and awards that no one else can just because of the sheer depth and breadth of your chamber!
Keep those cash registers ringing, keep those employees in the saddle and grow the next gen to retain your existing businesses. Today, businesses need chambers more than ever before and we have the distinct honor to serve them.
Anne Glasscock, ACE
Kaufman (TX) Chamber
Our county is the fastest growing county in the country (by %), so our environment is ever-changing. There are a number of things that keep me charged on a regular basis.
First, our membership is growing as the community is growing. It is exciting to introduce our new members to the community and to see them welcomed in and embraced. With the growth, there is also the desire to make sure we are retaining our current businesses, so business retention and expansion is a big focus. Advocacy in this environment is critical and the lines of communication with our representatives in Austin are open and busy.
My favorite part of my job in all this growth is our Leadership Kaufman County Program. It is energizing to see the difference this program makes in people’s lives and being able to help plug folks into this community where they best fit, to continue the success of the county.
Greater Kitsap (WA) Chamber
The last two years have been challenging, but the pandemic gave many chambers a much-needed jolt of energy because we knew there was so much work to do for local businesses.
For our chamber, it also presented us with the opportunity to take on a task that had been discussed for 20+ years — the merger of two local chambers to become what is now the Greater Kitsap Chamber. Bringing together business communities from across our county has given us many more opportunities in Kitsap County and the Puget Sound Region.
I love representing the Greater Kitsap Chamber at community meetings and events. We are excited to share a greater voice in matters that directly impact them with our members. Knowing that we are changing the lives of business owners through opportunities like our Washington Department of Commerce “Growing Better Businesses in Kitsap” grant and knowing we can give counsel and support to businesses keeps our entire staff motivated each day.
Kona-Kohala (HI) Chamber
I like people. I believe in the power of coming together to do great things. Yes, the pandemic was difficult, but the circumstances required intense focus and collaboration at a whole new level. Through this experience, we forged trusted relationships. Chambers can and must create a welcoming space for our members to convene and consider tough issues. We provide the foundation and framework to develop solutions.
As chamber leaders, we further those messages through advocacy — this is my favorite part of the job. I find purpose in communicating what we stand for and why it’s important.