The Neponset River Regional Chamber, along with more than a dozen other employer groups and their members will converge on Beacon Hill this Thursday.
Last year at Small Business Day, business owners from across Massachusetts sent a strong message to Beacon Hill legislators that their concerns matter too.
Once again, many of the state’s leading business organizations and chambers of commerce will gather to help educate policymakers on the issues most important to your small business.
The session will include briefing panels featuring experts on topics including Restrictive Scheduling, Teen/Training Wage, Energy Costs, Paid Family & Medical Leave, Transportation Infrastructure Funding and Controlling Small Business Health Costs.
The Keynote Speaker for the day is Senate President Karen E. Spilka. Several other legislators will also be in attendance.
Too often the voice of business goes unheard on Beacon Hill as so many business owners are at work running their companies. It is important for all businesses that one day a year we are able to magnify the voice of the business community to ensure that our elected leaders understand how their decisions impact business and what the ramifications of those decisions can look like in the real world.
President and CEO
The Neponset River Regional Chamber, along with over 100 other business, community, political and civic leaders from across the Commonwealth signed a letter delivered to Governor Baker, Senate President Spilka and House Speaker DeLeo recently calling for a legislative solution on school funding that includes measures that will close achievement, opportunity and skills gaps.
The letter came in advance of a Joint Committee on Education hearing at the state house last month where legislators heard testimony on several bills that have been filed dealing with school funding.
“Simply putting more money into a system that is failing far too many young people would be reckless,” said Edward Lambert, Jr., Executive Director of the Massachusetts Business Alliance for Education, one of the lead organizations behind the letter and a partner of the Chamber. “Crossing our fingers and hoping to get better results is not a strategy. We’re hearing from folks all across the state who want to ensure that new funding closes achievement and skills gaps and who agree money alone won’t accomplish those goals.”
The letter calls for new funding to be used effectively and efficiently stating that “Experience, research, and practice-based evidence (including evidence from bright spots of success in our state) have shown that just putting more money into the system – even when expressly for the purpose of addressing achievement gaps – does not get us improved outcomes.”
Read the full letter.
I hope by now that you have had a chance to check out our new website . We unveiled it at our 125th Annual Meeting at the end of January.
There are a number of new and exciting features about the site, so I hope you will take a moment to browse through it. I would like to point out two particular features today: the Job Bank and the Coupon center.
For many years we have had members ask us if there was a way to post job openings on our website. Well now there is! Any member can go from our homepage to the "Membership" scroll down tab and click on "Job Bank" . Simply select the option "I am an Employer" and you will be directed to a page where you can quickly and easily add your job postings. You will need to login to the website. If you need your login credentials, simply contact Denise Flynne in our office.
Best of all, there is no cost to post your positions, its included in your membership!
The second feature is not new, but has been enhanced. Members wishing to offer discounts or special deals to other members, the public or both can do so easily on the website. Again, go from the homepage to the "Membership" scroll down tab and then click "Coupons" . From there you can click to submit your own coupons. Your offer can be limited to members only or members and the general public, or two separate offerings for members and others. You can add your logo and have the coupon link to your own website. You can also choose how long to keep the coupon active.
People wishing to access the coupons can print them from the website and show them when making a purchase.
We always encourage members to do business with other members and by using the Coupon feature, you can make that even more attractive to do.
Give them both a try!
President and CEO
125 years ago today, January 4th, 1894, a group of businessmen (it was 1894) rang in the new year by creating the Norwood Business Association. The initial purpose of the group was to attract business to the young and growing town of Norwood. Much of the NBA's early work focused on improving the infrastructure of the community. The organization advocated for things like electric lights, electric rail service, concrete sidewalks and streets; all vital to attracting business. 125 years later we still serve as an advocate for improved infrastructure and amenities that make our communities desirable locations for businesses.
The NBA's first President was George S. Winslow, owner of Winslow and SonsTannery on Endicott Street in Norwood (now the Norwood Commerce Center and home to Winsmith Mill Market). Two of the Chamber's original members are still members today; Norwood Bank and Certainteed (formerly Bird and Son). In 1926 the organization was renamed the Norwood Chamber of Commerce and in 1988 it became the Neponset Valley Chamber of Commerce recognizing that its membership was much more regional than in the early years. In 1980 Elberta M. Lydstone was elected the Chamber's first women President.
There is much more to the Chamber's rich history and you'll be hearing more about it throughout the year. We will begin a year-long celebration with our 125th Annual Meeting on January 31st. We will introduce our new board and officers as well present our Annual Awards to deserving members. In addition, we will be making a big announcement about our future as we look forward to our next 125 years. We hope you will join us for an exciting evening. Register Here.
Meanwhile, our 125th Anniversary Committee is putting together plans for a celebration in September that will feature an historical perspective of the Chamber with support from our local historical societies and graphic design students from Blue Hills Technical High School. It promises to be the highlight of 2019.
Best wishes for a prosperous and healthy new year!
President and CEO
Chamber members make a difference in our communities in a variety of ways. First and foremost they provide products and services that people need and want for their own personal or business reasons. They create jobs that employ thousands of local people. They provide needed tax revenue to our communities. But most do much more than that through their community support of local organizations, non-profits, sports groups, cultural institutions and many others.
Each year, we get to recognize a few of those members whose success in business and support of the community stands out among others. We are currently accepting nominations for our Annual Awards which are presented at the Annual Meeting in January. I encourage you to consider nominating a member business or individual whom you feel is worthy of such recognition. Simply download the nomination form and return to it to the Chamber office.
Several Chamber members were making a difference for local high school students last month at our "Business, Marketing and Finance Seminar" in cooperation with the School To Careers Partnership. The program was held at Canton High school and included 175 students from area high schools.
Chamber members in the fields of business, marketing and finance shared with students insights into their professions; how they got to where they are; what a typical day is like; what they love about their work, etc. Students were given the opportunity to ask questions and even role play in a few instances.
The student feedback was great and included comments such as:
"Being able to connect with and learn from other people who are not teachers is so valuable."
"Presenters messages of having a plan; be social (network); don't give up; recognize opportunity and don't be afraid to ask were universal and inspiring."
The Chamber is grateful to our members who participated by sharing their time and wisdom with these young people as they begin to make decisions about their futures. You are making a difference.
President and CEO
The Neponset Valley Chamber of Commerce, whose members include Norwood Hospital and Brigham and Women's/Mass General Health Center along with numerous eldercare centers, rehabilitation facilities, and doctor's offices, has joined the Coalition to Protect Patient Safety in opposition to the proposed nurse staffing ballot question.
After reviewing the ballot question and the anticipated impacts it would have on area medical facilities, patients and consumers, the Chamber board voted to oppose the question. There is also concern about legislating, by popular vote, what is essentially a human resources issue. The result being staffing levels being determined by government mandate in a one size fits all manner.
The ballot question, proposed by the Massachusetts nurses' union, which represents less than a quarter of nurses in the Commonwealth, would require that hospitals across the state, no matter their size or specific needs of their patients, adhere to the same rigid nurse staffing ratios within all patient care areas. The petition does not make allowances for rural or small community hospitals, holding them to the same staffing ratios as major Boston teaching hospitals.
If this were to pass, most hospitals, including Norwood Hospital, would experience vastly higher costs to deliver lifesaving care with no evidence that it would improve patient quality or outcomes. Conversely, these mandates may reduce the safety of patients who are in need of emergency or urgent care by forcing them to travel to hospitals outside of their own communities. Furthermore, the added expenses would prohibit hospitals from investing in new technology, equipment and staff.
This measure is projected to cost the Massachusetts healthcare system more than $1.3 billion in the first year, and more than $900 million each year thereafter, according to an independent study by MassInsight and BW Research Partners. Patients would feel it in the form of higher premiums, deductibles and taxes at a time when many Massachusetts families are already struggling to pay for health care. Hospitals will be forced to cut vital health programs, such as cancer screenings, opioid treatments, mental health services, early childhood intervention, domestic violence programs and pre- or post- natal care.
The Neponset Valley Chamber joins numerous other Chambers, the American Nurses Association Massachusetts, the Organization of Nurse Leaders, the Massachusetts Health and Hospital Association, the Massachusetts Council of Community Hospitals, the Conference of Boston Teaching Hospitals, and other health care leaders in protecting the state's healthcare system and its patients from the consequences of this rigid, costly mandate that will go before voters on November 6th.
Learn more about the Coalition to Protect Patient Safety at http://www.Facebook.com/ProtectPatientSafety and www.Twitter.com/MAPatientSafety.
President and CEO
For most of us getting to work is a fairly easy task. Typically, if we work in the region, we drive and park in a nearby lot. For those commuting to Boston it can it bit more cumbersome whether its taking the commuter rail or driving through the inevitable traffic.
However, there is a reasonably large population of people who commute into our region to work, for whom the journey can be not only lengthy, but somewhat dangerous. Many workers come to the area to work at retail locations like Legacy Place, Patriot Place, The Mall at Walpole and hotels and restaurants along Route 1. The MBTA's 34E bus brings people from Boston to the Neponset Valley along Route 1A. Getting from Route 1A to employer locations on Route 1 can be tricky as there are no connections for commuters, other than walking. In the winter time, with snowy roads, this can be a nuisance at best and hazardous at worst.
With a strong economy and full employment, many of our retailers and hospitality businesses are struggling to find workers to fill out their staffing needs. Attracting people from outside the region can be effective, but only if we can find creative ways to help these people get to their jobs, often at off-peak hours.
For the past few years, the Chamber has been working with the Neponset Valley Transportation Management Association (TMA) and others to address this issue and more relating to moving people around the region.
Recently we formed a Suburban Mobility Working Group consisting of a broad range of stakeholders including local municipalities, large and small employers, councils on aging, health care institutions, human service agencies and others.
The Working Group has identified three issues on which it will focus to achieve its mission which is - to address mobility challenges in the suburban Neponset Valley region through multi-modal infrastructure improvements. The group will collaborate and advocate for reliable, affordable, cost-effective, efficient, and accessible innovative transportation solutions that serve all needs.
The three issues are:
The success of these efforts will depend largely on the input we receive from local businesses about the challenges they face in getting employees to and from work. Please let me know if you would like to be part of this process or if you have any input you would like to share regarding these issues by contacting me at 781-769-1126 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Neponset Valley Chamber of Commerce will celebrate its 125th Anniversary in 2019!
In preparation for the anniversary, the Board of Directors is forming a sub-committee of members who would be interested in helping to put together a plan to appropriately celebrate the year. This could include a special event or events, member recognition opportunities, video or other media programs.
If you are someone with a creative mind, a party planner or just want to help out, email me at email@example.com and let me know of your interest.
One way that we'll be commemorating our big year is with a new visual image. Our Branding sub-committee has issued an RFP for members to bid on re-imaging the Chamber's logo, color scheme and overall brand image. Thanks to the great response we had on our recent member survey, we gained an understanding of how the Chamber is and isn't viewed by members. Our goal is to present a visual image that reflects best how we are viewed as we move on to the next 125 years.
This work will occur over the summer and ultimately lead to us incorporating the new image into our print materials and most importantly an updated website.
In separate news, you read here last month about a Member Recruitment Breakfast on June 15th. I am happy to say that in June we had 12 members join the Chamber. You can see them below in the left hand column.
Many thanks to Little Bird Events for hosting the breakfast. Also to our sponsors, Bacon & Flaherty, Murphy, Hesse, Toomey & Lehane, Wegman's and Brigham & Woman's/Mass General Health Center.
We also appreciate those members who brought along a guest to learn about Chamber membership and its benefits.
Have a great Fourth of July!
President and CEO
Thank you to all who completed our recent membership survey! It's been a while since we've taken the collective pulse of the Chamber membership and we are very pleased that we had more than 100 responses to the questionnaire. The Chamber's Branding Task Force is currently reviewing the results which will help inform our programming, initiatives and future branding efforts. There is a great deal of information that you all provided which will ensure that we are meeting your needs as local businesses.
You can view the overall responses here.
We were particularly pleased to see that when asked to rate the likelihood
of referring another business to the Chamber on a scale, members responded with an average answer of 6.1 out of 7.
So now we'd like to ask you to act on that. Our Membership Committee led by Rob Ferrini, McGowanPro, is hosting a Member Recruitment Breakfast on Friday, June 15 at Little Bird Events in Norwood.
The price of admission for members is free, provided you bring a non-member with you. You and your guest will be treated to breakfast and have the opportunity to meet other members and learn about the benefits of Chamber membership.
There is no obligation for prospective members to join. If they decide the Chamber is not for them, that's fine. However, we will offer a number of incentives to those who do decide to join us and we will have several drawings for those who attend with a guest.
Think about all of the businesses that you deal with in your business or personal life and consider whether there are some who could benefit from the Chamber. You'll be doing them a service by exposing them to what the Chamber has to offer.
Most importantly, you'll be helping to strengthen the Chamber by aiding in its continued growth and vitality.
You can find all the details of the breakfast meeting here. If you would like to send an invitation to a prospective member, you can find one here.
We hope to see you there!
President and CEO
We are pleased to announce that Governor Charlie Baker will be joining us for Small Business Day on Tuesday, April 10th. Don't miss this great opportunity to hear from our governor and ask him about the issues most important to your business. Learn vital information, meet key legislators, and make your voice heard on Small Business Day!
Along with the keynote speaker and a forum with members of the Labor Committee, we will also be joined by staff from Division of Unemployment Assistance to help answer member questions on the new health assessment that businesses are required to pay.
To ensure your voice as a job creator is heard, the Chamber and our ally business organizations (other Chambers from across the state, Associated Industries of Massachusetts, NFIB, the Retailers Association of Massachusetts, Massachusetts Restaurant Association, Mass Package Stores Association and Massachusetts Food Association) are hosting Small Business Day on Beacon Hill as an opportunity to educate policy makers on the effects of legislative proposals that increase the cost of doing business and prevent your business from growing and creating more jobs.
This year alone Massachusetts small businesses potentially face:
• 26 weeks of paid medical leave and 16 weeks of paid family leave (partially employer funded)
• $15 minimum wage
• A 4% income tax surcharge for pass-thru entities (the so-called millionaires tax)
• A newly imposed MassHealth assessment
• Double-digit health care premium increases
• Highest in the nation energy costs
In addition to our guest speakers, our agenda includes an update on key legislation from our expert panel, a chance to provide feedback to key legislators, and meet with your elected officials.
All business owners are encouraged to attend and bring guests. There is no cost to attend the program, but reservations must be made by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Registration will begin at 9:30 a.m. with the program to follow shortly after, concluding at noon. The event will be held at the Omni Parker House Hotel, 60 School Street, Boston.