Many years ago, I moved from one chamber of commerce executive position to another that was more than twice the size of my first chamber. I was overwhelmed with the duties of my new role—suddenly I was handling issues on a much larger scale, along with issues with which I had no experience. I knew I needed help.
I had heard of W.A.C.E., but I hadn’t been a member in my first chamber. Lucky for me, my new chamber in Lake Havasu City supported its executive with membership. I quickly learned about the many training opportunities that W.A.C.E. offers, especially the annual conference held each February. I wanted to go—but, at that point, did not have funding for the registration fee. That’s when I learned about the W.A.C.E. Foundation and the scholarship opportunities it provides to help people like me, and hundreds of others, learn more about the chamber profession.
Since that time, I’ve become proud of my chamber journey, and after nearly 24 years as a professional chamber executive, I attribute a great deal of my success to what I’ve learned at W.A.C.E. conferences. These opportunities have been nothing short of amazing and have helped me lead my chamber to success.
Participate in W.A.C.E. Auction
That scholarship funding, however, doesn’t just grow on trees. It is raised through the hard work of many W.A.C.E. Foundation volunteers who have a passion to see other chamber executives grow through their own chamber experiences.
This is partially accomplished through a major fundraiser at the annual conference, the Scholarship (live and silent) Auction. This auction is typically held during the Thursday evening conference celebration. Nearly 100 items are usually available in the silent auction, and we will also have around five to eight amazing live auction items—like trips to the wine country or the beach, or even abroad. This year the auction will be promoted and produced by the W.A.C.E. Emerging Leaders Council led by the amazing Jessica Welch from the Greater Irvine (CA) Chamber.
It is critical that we all participate in the auction. Anyone who has received a scholarship in the past, or plans to apply for one this year, is required to provide an item.
How You Can Help
That participation is multifold. We need you to:
• Provide an auction item with a value of at least $100 (weekend stays, wine, fitness trackers, gift baskets);
• Encourage your chamber colleagues to do the same;
• Volunteer to assist with the auction; and
• Buy items at the auction!
A strong W.A.C.E. organization is dependent on strong chamber executives, and that strength comes from the training programs we support: the annual conference and ACADEMY. As this year’s Foundation chairman, I hope you’ll join me in supporting our members and the chamber industry with your heartfelt support.
Lisa Krueger, ACE is the president and CEO of the Lake Havasu Area (AZ) Chamber and current president of the W.A.C.E. Foundation.