Wednesday, July 31, 2013

"Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

In a recent meeting, I overheard someone say, "the Chamber doesn't do anything," and I was stunned.  My staff and I run at top speed every day representing the needs of business to government, advocating for business interests in nearly every community discussion, producing meetings and events that connect businesses to each other and to policy makers, engaging young professionals in civic leadership opportunities...the list goes on and on.

But, I hear the question behind the concern: what is the Chamber actually making?  What can a member hold in their hands that the Chamber has produced?  What is the ROI on membership dues if the outcome isn't tangible?

We are fortunate that so many of our local policy makers are watching the Chamber and listening to what our Board of Directors, our members, and our staff have to say.  We've created the kind of presence that is undeniably influential.  We should be proud of this.

It's clear to me, however, that this kind of influence can't be seen or felt at times.  We can't hold it in our hands.  The outcomes associated with our work connecting business to business, business to government, and business to the community are profound and immeasurable but they're largely first.

Consider this:  we helped lead the Clean & Safe Chico
Katie, Bill Such with Jesus Center, Peggy Mead with Chico Association of Realtors
Community Forum in May which led the Chico Association of Realtors to create the House of Hope, a new women's housing facility in Chico, which opened its doors today.  You certainly can't say that the Chamber created this house which will move women off the streets and into safe and clean shelter (a better scenario for the entire community), but if you look closely you'll see that the trail of this amazing project started with Clean & Safe Chico which started, in part, with us.

Thank you, members, for making the invisible possible.  We're all better off for it.

~ Katie 

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