When I interviewed for this position, one of our board members asked me, “Lauren, I want to know what you’re going to do different. What are you going to do different to make this Chamber excel?” It wasn’t a nicely phrased question; it was meant to test me. It was a question asked with what seemed like a bit of frustration behind it. Honestly – I didn’t know then, and still to this day, I don’t have a secret recipe for success – and that was my response to that question.
In the nine months that I’ve been Chamber President, I’ve thought a lot about that question. In my search for the answer, I’ve talked to other Chambers in Georgia, and from what I’ve learned, an important factor in having a successful Chamber is communication between Chamber leadership and you – the member. That is an area, to be completely honest, in which we have failed you.
How can the Chamber provide members with value without first understanding what their needs are? How can we fulfill our mission of bettering business in Bainbridge without first understanding the areas to focus on? In short, this letter is to first acknowledge the need for communication, and second, to invite you to share your experience, ideas, and opinions with us.
Though surveys are unpopular, we see it as the best option for reaching our 400 members. In this survey, which is linked below, I encourage you to share what you believe are the needs of the business community, and what you believe the Chamber should focus on in the coming year.
On December 4, the Board of Directors will meet for our annual retreat to review your responses. On that day we will determine the trajectory of the Chamber in 2020, and consequently the trajectory of our city and county. Your feedback is vital for creating a program of work that provides you with the best experience and overall return on investment for your membership.
I hope you see this letter as the beginning of a longer conversation to be had. As a relatively new Chamber staff, our goal is to be open, accessible, and involved in order to best serve you!
Thank you for your support as a member, and your investment in Bainbridge!
Lauren Minor, President