This week's Boston Business Journal had a feature story on Chambers of Commerce in Massachusetts. In it, several Chambers were interviewed and asked how they deal with changing dynamics in the business community.
Cited were a variety of external factors such as the rise of online retailers versus traditional brick and mortar storefronts. Social media has opened a variety of opportunities for networking that never existed before. An aging workforce is beginning to challenge the ability of businesses to fill jobs, in particular those requiring technical skills.
Consequently Chambers of Commerce have had to adapt and find ways of supporting the business community based on what its changing needs are. You read here a few months ago how this Chamber's board of director's spent an afternoon retreat discussing these issues and planning for the future. Several initiatives have already begun as a result of that day; we've launched a Women's Leadership Alliance, formed a Communications Committee to revise our communications strategy and we've begun work on a member engagement strategy.
However, as the BBJ article points out, some elements of what Chambers do have not changed and continue to play an important role in our relevance to members. Chief among them are networking and government affairs or advocacy. The primary reason that new members join the Chamber continues to be for its networking opportunites.
A less-stated, but equally important reason for Chamber membership is the Chamber's ability to advocate for its members on issues that impact them. The most effective way to do this is to build and maintain strong relations with our state and local leaders in government.
To that end, our Government Affairs Committee meets regularly with state and local leaders as well as with leaders of other business or advocacy groups in order to be well informed on the issues of the day.
We will be hosting our Annual Legislative Reception on Thursday, September 28th at the Endicott Estate in Dedham. Invited guests include our region's state Senators and Representatives, Town Managers, Boards of Selectmen, Economic Development directors and planners.
This is your opportunity to get to know the people who make decisions that impact your business. It's your chance to share with them your thoughts on what issues you face and what you need (or don't need) from your community and the state.
Please mark your calendar and plan to join us for an evening of drinks and appetizers and take advantage of your opportunity to get to know the area's public officials. You can learn more and register here.