With excitement, I am humbled to be the 2019 President of your chamber. As the Treasurer the last several years, with admiration, I have witnessed the growth and transformation of this chamber. I have been preceded by not only outstanding business leaders, but outstanding people who have a great and deep appreciation for the GBCC, what it does and the communities it serves and represents. These people; Al Temkin, Susan Weeks, Matt Schroeder, Karen Nascembeni, Gerald McKillop and Jason Maxwell, provided the chamber with vision, energy and purpose.
John Somes, who served as Executive Director from 2011 until April 2018, moved on to become the CEO at the Danvers YMCA. John provided outstanding leadership during his time with the GBCC. He provided stability in steering the chamber, both financially and through its growth into an organization that now includes Beverly, Danvers, Hamilton and Wenham. The Chamber will be forever grateful!
With changes come opportunities, ideas and excitement. That is exactly where we are with the hiring of Leslie Gould as our new Executive Director. Leslie brings experience and knowledge having been the Executive Director of the Marblehead Chamber and most recently the Lynn Area Chamber. Anyone who has worked with, met or come into contact with Leslie realizes the passion, desire and commitment she brings to the GBCC. This is the genesis of the excitement which the Board of Directors brings into 2019.
We live and work in an area that is robust, growing and thriving. Economic opportunities and challenges are before us on a regular basis. Each of the communities we service has prospered over the last several years. It is within the local business community real economic growth and entrepreneurship thrive and this is what will sustain this community long term.
As we know, a chamber is a form of business network, a local organization of businesses whose goal is to further the interests of business and advocate on behalf of the business community. The thing is a chamber of commerce has no authorized power. It is not an elected body. It has no ability to tax and it receives no direct assistance. What it does have is the power of membership!
Membership brings credibility to your business. It increases your visibility in the community, creates networking opportunities, makes available business contacts and generates referrals while gaining a voice in local government. Research points out consumers are more likely to do business with a company if it’s a member of a chamber of commerce. This research points out that by being a member, consumer awareness of your company can increase up to 54% and future patronage up to 66%. By being an active member, serving on a committee, hosting an event, sponsoring an event and/or attending chamber events, provides you and your business access.
If you are a member, thank you. If you are thinking about membership, let us convince you. Let us both (you and the GBCC) find ways to grow this great, vibrant community.