The Tri Town Chamber is wrapping up a very successful 2011 that saw the chamber grow membership by 20% in a very challenging economy. We are excited to welcome dozens of new members and the infusion of fresh insights and perspectives that they will bring.
While 2011 has been great, we have even bigger plans for 2012! In only two weeks, Executive Director Kara Griffin and I will lead VPs of Economic Development, Community Relations, Membership Development and Events in the creation of our operating strategy for the next year and beyond. Armed with substantial new resources and terrific talent at the VP level, Kara and I are chomping at the bit to get started on the new agenda.
So let’s introduce the officers:
Kurt Wheaton of Epoch Senior Living in Norton returns as Vice President of the Economic Development Committee. Thanks go out to this group for arranging for and hosting a terrific breakfast event with Gregory Bialecki, Governor Patrick’s chief economic development advisor, at the Mansfield Holiday Inn last month.
Interest in the economy is so high that the chamber has already decided to expand to two public events this coming year. Dr. John Mullin, Professor of Regional Planning at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst will share his profound expertise regarding Mansfield’s first ever school/town strategic plan. Millin has spoken to the town before about the impacts of a growing child population. The event will be held on Feb. 7 at Showcase Live in Foxborough. Full breakfast will be included in the $10 admission because of the generosity of sponsors Betro & Company and Foley & Foley. Check the Chamber website to sign up.
Outgoing VP of Community Development Teresa Hacunda from Covidien played a key role in attracting Josh Kraft, President of the New England Patriots Charitable Foundation, to speak at the Chamber’s annual awards luncheon Jan. 27 at the Mansfield Holiday Inn. Many awards are handed out, but the two that always draw the most interest are Business of the Year and Business Person of the Year. Last year the Holiday Inn earned the business award while Ellyne Fleshner from WS Development (Mansfield Crossing) was voted top business person. Thanks again to Invensys for sponsoring the event!
While we will miss Teresa immensely, our CD Team will be in good hands under the leadership of Foxborough Brigham and Women’s Cynthia Peterson. In her new role, Cindy will orchestrate the Chamber’s charitable involvement in 2012. Community food pantries, elder living organizations and children’s groups will all continue to benefit from their relationships with Tri Town and its member businesses. Our Oktoberfest event alone produces over $6,000 each year to feed families in need throughout Foxborough, Mansfield and Norton.
As another way to serve our local communities, several Chamber members have become very involved with area school financial literacy programs. I, for one, was excited to contribute my Job Guy career coaching skills to help Norton schools with their School to Career Partnership program and Foxborough schools on their Exchange City initiative in 2011. Cindy Peterson, Sharon Credit Union’s Ingrid Williams, Tim Kenneally of Foley and Foley, PC, and several other Chamber officers and members have supported these efforts and are planning to do so again in 2012.
Robin Clapp of Web Design by Robin wraps up her tenure as Vice President of Membership Development on a high note. Not only is new membership on the upswing, member attrition is at an all time low. Credit a robust Ambassador program and business networking events for helping Tri-Towners realize value from their annual contributions. But never fear, new VP Greg DeSimone of Focal Point Coaching has already come up with a slew of great new ideas to help members gain an even greater return on their investments next year!
Cindy Thorp from Showcase Live returns for a second full year at Events VP. In addition to hosting our annual Monte Carlo fundraiser each May at her own venue, Cindy can always be counted on to contribute very creative and effective ideas to generate interest and reinforce the Chamber brand at all its events throughout the year.
On the subject of events, Sharon Credit Union in Mansfield will be hosting the first of our 2012 monthly Business after Hours from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 24. Attendance is free to members and only $10 to not yet members. Contact the Chamber at 508 339 5655 or by email to sign up.
And don’t forget about our annual Home Show slated for Sunday, March 11 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the .
It is always fun to welcome new Directors to our board. Michael Epstein from Horizon Beverage and David Santoro from New York Life bring new company representation to the group, while two other long standing member companies will be staying on, but with new emissaries. Thanks very much to Barbara Lema from Wheaton College and Eric Baldwin from Deutsche Bank Championship for your strong contributions! We promise to take great care of your colleagues Tracy Fredrickson and Rich Brady, respectively, as they take over those seats in 2012.
We at the Chamber would also like to bid a fond farewell to two departing Directors. Jim Conant of USA Marketing Associates and Ed Viar of Edward L Viar CPAs will be missed! Jim inspired, among other things, a series of exciting local business events that dramatically increased exposure for our new suite of offices in 2010. Ed donated his time to do our taxes the last few years. Much appreciated!
The third group is now up and running. TREX provides a forum for group members to meet on a biweekly basis to collaborate on business development opportunities, share leads and mastermind ways to improve their businesses. The groups are popular because, while groups do require specific membership, we do not charge members an additional fee to join.
The Chamber has two offices available for rent in our facility, behind Kohl’s, conveniently located near the intersection of routes 95 and 495. Utilities and limited use of the Chamber’s Job-Guy conference room are included in the rent. Email or call the chamber at 508 339 5655 for details.
As President of the Board for the , I invite residents and local businesses reading the Foxborough, Mansfield and Norton Patch pages to come to visit us during a chamber event or charity function. If you can’t make it in person, please join our groups on LinkedIn and on Facebook. We want to hear what you have to say!
John Bates is the President of the Tri-Town Chamber of Commerce and operates Job-Guy, a career coaching practice in Mansfield. Since joining the Chamber in 2005, John has also helped out as an Ambassador and as Vice President for Membership Development.