Looking back at 2018 … so far
Nearly 500 Chamber members joined us for a midweek trip to the Caribbean on July 25: our Annual Membership Luncheon. Our volunteer leaders offered a progress report for the first half of 2018 and took a deeper dive into the importance of each of the Chamber’s four Strategic Areas of Focus.
Doug Neff, chairman and CEO of Commerce Bank in Springfield and the 2018 Chairman of the Chamber’s Board of Directors, offered highlights of the Chamber’s work in each of the four areas.
“I started out the year at our Annual meeting, talking about how a bold belief in ourselves and our assets is so important to realizing our vision for the future,” Neff told the group gathered at the Oasis Hotel & Convention Center. “I’m really encouraged to hear others saying the same thing – how our ‘swagger’ and pride in living here can really drive our continued efforts to support job creation and business development.”
His presentation complemented the printed Midyear Accountability Report, which goes into greater detail about the Chamber’s work thus far this year.
“This has to be a highly desirable place to live if we want to attract and develop the workforce that will result in growing jobs, investment and our economy,” he added. “And you are helping us achieve that vision when you invest in the Chamber.”
A deeper dive
Following his report, Neff led a panel with the board’s four vice chairmen. Each one talked about how their area of focus has shaped their experience as a Chamber member, and vice versa.
Charity Elmer, the vice chair for public affairs, talked about how learning the various ways the Chamber advocates for its members has given her a new appreciation for the organization – specifically in the length of time it can take efforts to come to fruition.
“It’s sort of a tortoise and hare issue, and the Chamber is definitely the tortoise,” she said. “It’s a very long-term approach, constantly reinforcing priorities and building relationships, and it can take months or years to see the results.” She noted that this year was one in which the Chamber saw our long-term hard work rewarded with passage of a number of high-priority bills that will benefit our members.
Vice Chairman of Workforce Development Catherine Bass talked about the Chamber’s continued efforts to tell the story of why Springfield is a great place for people to come and work. She noted the new Workforce Event series and its focus on workplace culture and innovative approaches to retention, as well as the recent national award the Chamber received for its talent attraction initiative.
Robin Robeson, vice chairman of economic development, gave a look at the continued efforts of the Chamber’s economic development arm – the Springfield Business Development Corporation – as well as our continued need to grow our population if we want to compete with similar cities for new jobs and businesses.
And Marshall Kinne, vice chair for membership, discussed the Chamber’s continued shift toward a more value-oriented approach to membership, with more one-on-one engagement with members and specific interactions tailored to their needs.
One way to tailor our approach is through The Reach Campaign, which is set to enter its third year in 2018. The campaign begins in mid-September, and Joe Reynolds of CSI will serve as chairman for this year.
The Reach Campaign is built around customization – it offers multiple ways for members to increase their visibility by supporting the Chamber programming that most directly aligns with their own mission. Last year, more than 250 Chamber members took advantage of The Reach Campaign to secure their sponsorships for 2018.
A large team of volunteers will contact Chamber members in the fall about opportunities for all of 2019, instead of approaching members throughout the year to support individual events and programs. This lets members take a more strategic yearlong approach to how they choose to maximize their Chamber investment.