Monday, January 7, 2013

New Year, New Chamber

Happy New Year to our members, friends, and followers!  Today seems like a perfect day to stop, take a breather, and spend a little time updating our blog -- something I plan to do as often as possible in 2013.

If you know me or if you've seen me from a distance, it's probably pretty clear that I speed along at 60 miles per hour every second of every day.  This is true (just ask the Chamber staff!), but as I've settled in here over these last several months, I've realized that if I'm going to accomplish my entire "to do" list this year, I'd better store up some energy.  More on that later...

Looking back over the monumental year we've had here at the Chamber, I'd like to share my Top 5 Proudest Moments of 2012 (cue sweeping theme music):

1. ADVOCACY: Launching our Business Summit program in January 2012 which will heretofore allow us to set our annual advocacy priorities with input from our members, elected officials, City representatives, and the larger community.  Hear a progress report from this past year and help us set NEW priorities at our 2nd Annual Business Summit on January 31st.

2. ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT: Becoming a leader in local economic development efforts and projects.  Our 2012 Business Summit was instrumental in the development of the City's draft Economic Development Action Plan and we are a lead voice in all conversations regarding business retention programs and services.

3. NEW LOOK, NEW ATTITUDE: Re-branding the Chamber with a fresh, colorful, and positive new logo, web site, and vibe.  We're proud of our 100+-year legacy and we're heavily investing in the future of our organization, our member businesses, and our young professionals.

4. VISITOR CENTER: Moving our offices and Visitor Center to the Old Municipal Building.  Nothing freshens things up like a move, and we're much lighter and leaner now than we've ever been.  If you haven't seen our new location, stop by 441 Main Street and check us out!

5. MEMBERSHIP: Revitalizing our member programs and services. The entire Chamber staff, our Membership Committee, and our Board members have been involved in rethinking how we relate to the business community and our members.  We've got our ear to the ground and we hear what you need, want, and think.  We know your business has changed and so have your priorities.  My door is always open and so is my inbox.

6.  CLEAN & SAFE: Okay, I know I said Top 5, but I'll squeeze this one in, too.  Businesses and community leaders have rallied around the significant economic impact of cleanliness and safety in our community.  To advocate for business interests in these conversations, we've met with the City Manager, the Chief of Police, leaders at the DCBA and other organizations, local services providers, and representatives from CSUC.  In December, we went before the Chico City Council to help shape the discussion and to share our priorities.  Look for initiatives to come out of these conversations within the next few weeks.

Now on to 2013....

In January alone, we are hosting two of our largest events of the year: our 75th Annual Dinner on Thursday the 17th (purchase your tickets now!), and our Business Summit on January 31st.  We're also preparing the 2013 Forecast issue of our Business Voice Quarterly (new this year!), and promoting our "Coffee Break with Mayor Goloff"  event on January 24th from 3:30-4:30pm here at the Chamber.

Registration is free for our Summit and Coffee Break.  Don't miss these events designed to help businesses make a bigger impact on local decision-making.  Email me to RSVP.

This month, we're also thanking our outgoing Board members and Chairman, Roger Hart, and welcoming several new members to our Board of Directors, as well as our new Chairman for 2013, Valerie Reddemann with SynMedia and PostMaven.  Our leadership continues to grow and strengthen.

What to expect from us throughout the remainder of 2013?  Well.... A LOT!  We'll continue to host Chamber Business Connections each week as well as ribbon cuttings, open houses, and anniversary celebrations throughout each month.  Look for additional opportunities for casual Q&A with our elected officials each month, as well as workshops and power lunches.  We'll host our annual educational event in April, and our Community BBQ in June (new location and Friday date this year!).

I could go on and on, but I'd better save something for my next blog post!

With that, I'd like to thank you for your continued support of the Chico Chamber and for your involvement in our efforts to make Chico the best place to do business.  Join a committee if you'd to get more involved, or send me your thoughts on how we can do what we do even better.

In the same spirit we used to hear "wear a sweater!" as we headed out into the cold as children, I'd like to encourage you to "use your membership!" in 2013.  Not a member?  Join today.

Wishing you great success this year,