Chamber is mission driven, member focused

BY LORI MATTSON PRESIDENT & CEO, TRI-CITY REGIONAL CHAMBER OF COMMERCE March 28, 2010 

Although Americans have become increasingly concerned about the economy, their faith in the free enterprise system remains strong, according to a survey by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. While government efforts to stimulate the economy are considered useful in the short term, Americans believe it's the free enterprise system that will grow our economy and create jobs over the long term.

The Tri-City Regional Chamber of Commerce supports free enterprise by providing member businesses countless opportunities to make connections, stay current on business issues, access business resources and participate in innovative programs -- all to assist their efforts to effectively grow their business.

Our members are our existence. The Chamber is committed to recruiting and retaining a strong member base, which reflects the region's business community. In 2010, a great deal of energy will be placed on member retention through improved and pointed communication. To achieve our retention goals, we've implemented a targeted communication plan that includes multiple contacts and personal invitations throughout the year.

The Chamber is committed to keeping members informed in respect to proposed legislation and issues, which affect the economic and business climate of the Tri-Cities and the surrounding area.

We are working diligently to be the voice of business (of your business), and we're accomplishing this goal through member outreach, increasing the number of members who request our assistance in advocating their issues, continued relationships with our elected officials, participating in coalitions, and creating grassroots groups to advocate for specific issues.

We plan to launch a "Chamber Image Campaign" during the second quarter of 2010. The goal of the campaign is to better communicate what we do, to tell our story and to further articulate the value we bring to this community. In addition to promoting the Chamber, we will be placing greater emphasis on our major event sponsors, developing a "Tri-Cities" culture within the Chamber, and continuing our GO Local campaign.

The Tri-City Regional Chamber strives for organizational excellence, evidenced when we went through the rigorous process of applying for accreditation with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Accreditation consists of reviewing the nine critical areas of our organization (Governance, Human Resources, Finance, Government Affairs, Program Development, Technology, Communication, Facilities and Benchmarking). We are awaiting review of our application and expect our award at mid-year.

With the support of sponsors, the help of volunteers, and the partnerships with Kennewick and Richland, we will continue the tradition of providing Cool Desert Nights and the River of Fire Festival -- two great community events! In addition to these long-standing events, we are exploring an exciting new festival that is unique to our agriculture industry.

The Regional Chamber continues to offer members innovative opportunities for obtaining education, utilizing resources and accessing business services. We have a calendar full of programs and events designed to meet the needs of our diverse membership. In addition to the outstanding business leaders on our board of directors and large volunteer base, we have a professional staff of eight talented individuals who are eager to assist our members, be involved in the community, and make a positive impact on the region's growth and prosperity.

The entrepreneurial spirit and the drive to succeed are stronger than ever. Clearly there are challenges, yet opportunities abound for those ready and willing to ride the waves. While our community remains an attractive option in recruiting new businesses, it is just as critical to retain those that are providing jobs and contributing to our tax base. As an advocate for its broad and diverse member businesses, the Tri-City Regional Chamber leverages the talents and resources of its members to create a climate of growth and success for free enterprise in the Tri-Cities.

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