The Chamber’s Role in the Community
Today the chamber needs to play a more significant role in the community and that is a leadership role. My feeling is that the chamber needs to be in the center sphere of influence in the community issues and governance.
In this role, the chamber needs to win people and organizations to its point of view or issue. This is done by a willingness to work with others and build alliances, by a willingness to listen and find mutual interests points, and by brainstorming solutions.
It seems that chambers also need to become proficient in conducting focus groups to gather information. Coordinate issue forums that involve city government, businesses, chamber board, and the community to discuss issues and/or challenges facing the community. The goal is to get everyone on the same page.
Although the recognized leadership role in the community is the city council, the chamber can and should rise up and shoulder the responsibility as the community champion and advocate for businesses. Therefore the chamber needs to leverage the talents and resources of its member businesses to improve the economic opportunities for all. The concept here is that a rising tide floats all boats.
This role demands, not so much a political approach, but one of winning people over to better approaches and solutions in governance and economic growth and development for the community. It demands that the chamber work with good communication, harmony and cooperation in all of its individual relationships and alliances with the focus of building a strong local economy for the community.
Today, as businesses and communities are more dependent upon each other for their success, the chamber’s role has evolved. Chambers today help build stronger communities by keeping its membership focused and involved in top business, civic and social issues and priorities in the community.