Spotlight On: Stephanie Freeman, President & CEO, Dunwoody Perimeter Chamber

Spotlight On: Stephanie Freeman, President & CEO, Dunwoody Perimeter Chamber

By: Max Crampton- Thomas

1 min read April 2020 — Dunwoody, a city in DeKalb County and a northern suburb of Atlanta, has faced the same challenges as other cities fighting the COVID-19 pandemic. Stephanie Freeman, president and CEO of Dunwoody Perimeter Chamber, whose goal is to advance economic prosperity, relayed to Invest: the chamber’s efforts to assist the business community through this unprecedented crisis.

 

How is your organization working to assist the business community in mitigating the challenges and impact felt from the COVID-19 pandemic? 

 

At this time of social distancing, the Dunwoody Perimeter Chamber is working diligently to be the steady voice of reason and reassurance for all businesses and the entire community. While our normal plan of work may be on hold, we are here to help businesses during this time of crisis. As they work to thrive during the current economic conditions, we are here for them; providing education, assistance, resources, and if needed a confidential outlet in which to discuss the future. We have developed a web page, are communicating daily with our members, and have developed an Engage Dunwoody Facebook group encouraging the entire community to communicate during this time. 

 

Do you feel the business community is receiving enough state and federal support? 

While the business community is receiving support from both the state and federal governments, the guidelines and regulations are ever changing. As this pandemic and its affects continue to vary, this is somewhat expected; however, businesses and community leaders look forward to a time when standards become more finalized. 

 

How can the local community best assist your efforts in this time of need? 

During this time, the local community may best assist the Dunwoody Perimeter Chamber by communicating their specific needs. While we can’t fix all issues, we are here to provide resources and advocate on behalf of the business community.

 

To learn more about our interviewee, visit: 

 

https://www.perimeterchamber.com/

 

 

Networking at Noon, webinars keep Burlington Regional Chamber members informed

Networking at Noon, webinars keep Burlington Regional Chamber members informed

By: Felipe Rivas

2 min read April 2020 — The novel coronavirus forced a global halt to major international, regional and local events. From the NBA season to networking conferences, all gatherings of any size stopped abruptly in an effort to flatten the curve and prevent COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, from spreading further. However, as the population at large becomes accustomed to social distancing, stay at home orders and self quarantining, many events went from a hard stop to full speed ahead virtually. As the business community adjusts to the challenges of the disruption caused by the coronavirus, many institutions are building value and maintaining relationships with patrons by maximizing the use of webinars, online classes, video conferences and even virtual happy hours.

 

In its “Staying Connected” series, Invest: is talking to leaders in various markets about their efforts to, well … stay connected.

South Jersey institutions like the Burlington Regional Chamber of Commerce are shifting to video meetings to stay connected and provide value to members and nonmembers alike in the current landscape. “We are providing as much digital content and opportunities as possible to both members and nonmembers. Our goal is to be a partner and resource for the business community at large,” President and CEO Kristi M. Howell told Invest: South Jersey. “We are offering several different options. Networking at Noon takes place every Monday and it is strictly a virtual business card exchange. We are providing webinars, both live and recorded, on issues and benefits around COVID-19. Most importantly, we are providing educational webinars to strengthen professional development. It’s important that we keep our eye on the future and continue to educate our members on essential business tools so that we all pull out of this stronger.”

For the chamber, it’s all about doing “what we do best for our members on a different platform. We have moved everything that we can online and it’s business as usual for most things, but remotely. We have modified communications and have suspended normal newsletters in favor of those that are pertinent to this ever changing situation. We are focusing on highlighting five to seven members a week in our Meet Our Members series and we continue to make introductions for those who are doing business or modifying their business model for today’s climate,” Howell said.  

The video conference platform, Zoom, has quickly become ubiquitous across the virtual events space. Across economic sectors, different institutions are taking advantage of Zoom and similar platforms. To host a successful virtual event, event planners must decide between hosting a virtual meeting or a webinar. “If you expect attendees to mostly just listen,” the best option is a webinar, Zoom advises as part of its digital event best practices. “When you need more back and forth between the audience and the host,” planners should choose a virtual meeting, the platform advises. 

Once the type of digital event has been narrowed down, hosts should hardwire the internet connection to prevent any Wi-Fi-related hiccups or virtual lag. In terms of audio, hosts should test speakers and audio prior to the meeting and minimize any background noise, according to Zoom. Additionally, hosts should dress to impress and make sure to start the virtual event on time. It is important to set the tone of the event and encourage Q&A’s during the virtual meeting or webinar. As a best practice, Zoom recommends the use of the Chat function to keep track of questions and comments. For larger webinars, Zoom offers a Paypal integration to charge the registration fees seamlessly. 

For the time being, social distancing will be part of the mainstream business landscape until at least May. However, many institutions are adjusting and pivoting more and more to the virtual hosting model to build value, share information and regain a sense of community in a time where residents are being asked to self-isolate as much as possible.  

To learn more visit: https://blog.zoom.us/wordpress/2020/03/04/best-practices-for-hosting-a-digital-event/

https://www.bcrcc.com/

Maintaining unity through webinars and industry-specific virtual talks

Maintaining unity through webinars and industry-specific virtual talks

By: Felipe Rivas

2 min read April 2020The novel coronavirus forced a global halt to major international, regional and local events. From the NBA season to networking conferences, all gatherings of any size stopped abruptly in an effort to flatten the curve and prevent COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, from spreading further. However, as the population at large becomes accustomed to social distancing, stay at home orders and self quarantining, many events went from a hard stop to full speed ahead virtually. As the business community adjusts to the challenges of the disruption caused by the coronavirus, many institutions are building value and maintaining relationships with patrons by maximizing the use of webinars, online classes, video conferences and even virtual happy hours. 

 

In South Florida, a region known for its events and conferences, different institutions have embraced virtual meetings to build value and maintain close relationships with clients in the midst of social distancing. For the Coral Gables Chamber of Commerce, a chamber known for its networking events focused on covering top-of-mind issues for its members, virtual meetings and webinars have become the go-to instrument to stay connected to its members and coach them through this new business landscape. “At this point in time, in an era of social distancing, we are gearing our efforts toward creating webinars that give our membership and beyond a chance to find out what resources are available to them, how to maintain their business in this socially disconnected economy and coaching them on how to bounce back when that time comes,” Spokeswoman Morgan Mongelia told Invest: Miami. “All our regularly scheduled monthly programming had to be moved to a virtual platform and format,” she said. As part of its virtual offerings, the chamber has a full slate of virtual webinars, in addition to industry-specific teleconferences. “We are also using this time to support fellow community organizations and businesses via personal phone follow-ups to ensure the long-term success of the Coral Gables business community as a whole,” Mongelia said. 

The video conference platform, Zoom, has quickly become ubiquitous across the virtual events space. Across economic sectors, different institutions are taking advantage of Zoom and similar platforms. To host a successful virtual event, event planners must decide between hosting a virtual meeting or a webinar. “If you expect attendees to mostly just listen,” the best option is a webinar, Zoom advises as part of its digital event best practices. “When you need more back and forth between the audience and the host,” planners should choose a virtual meeting, the platform advises. 

Once the type of digital event has been narrowed down, hosts should hardwire the internet connection to prevent any Wi-Fi-related hiccups or virtual lag. In terms of audio, hosts should test speakers and audio prior to the meeting and minimize any background noise, according to Zoom. Additionally, hosts should dress to impress and make sure to start the virtual event on time. It is important to set the tone of the event and encourage Q&A’s during the virtual meeting or webinar. As a best practice, Zoom recommends the use of the Chat function to keep track of questions and comments. For larger webinars, Zoom offers a PayPal integration to charge the registration fees seamlessly. 

Social distancing will be part of the mainstream business landscape until at least May. However, many institutions are adjusting and pivoting more and more to the virtual hosting model to build value, share information and regain a sense of community in a time where residents are being asked to self-isolate as much as possible.  

To learn more visit: https://blog.zoom.us/wordpress/2020/03/04/best-practices-for-hosting-a-digital-event/

https://www.facebook.com/CoralGablesChamber

https://site.coralgableschamber.org/events

https://coralgableschamber.org/

 

 

Spotlight On: Ruby Wake, Vice President, Tampa Bay Latin Chamber of Commerce

Spotlight On: Ruby Wake, Vice President, Tampa Bay Latin Chamber of Commerce

By: Max Crampton-Thomas

2 min read November 2019 — At first glance it may seem that there are more than enough chambers and business organizations in the Tampa Bay region to service the needs of the business community. The newest entry into the market, the Tampa Bay Latin Chamber of Commerce, would beg to differ. Created with the goal of promoting and aiding new and established Latino and Hispanic organizations in the region, the new chamber is looking to make a quick and significant impact within Tampa Bay. Chamber Vice President Ruby Wake spoke with Invest: about its mission, Tampa Bay as an emerging international hub of business activity and how the chamber will be addressing the greatest needs for this sector of businesses. 

 

How did the Latin Chamber of Commerce come to fruition? 

We noticed that there was a gap between the various Latino and Hispanic organizations. In this region, we have amazing organizations that cater to small businesses and startups by providing them with legal and accounting services, but there is no organization that caters to the professional services industry or the technology-driven industries. This was one of our main rationales for wanting to create this new chamber. We are in the process of developing a chamber that brings more than just monthly meetings and luncheons. We want to develop a chamber that is going to facilitate and assist in the development of new industries and companies within Tampa Bay. To accomplish this, we have created a board of directors that is very diverse, ranging from attorneys, to public administrators, to news anchors, with the purpose of figuring out what we can do for the Latino business community within Tampa Bay. 

How is Tampa Bay establishing itself as a hub for international business? 

Tampa Bay is going to continue to emerge as a hub for both national and international businesses due to our location and easy access to economic essentials. We have our ports and we are centrally located in Florida. We also have a booming economy, and we are slated to surpass New York City from a population density standpoint, which is amazing. Being in Florida also means that we are close to our Central and South American counterparts and having that access gives us the ability to introduce industries from different parts of the world.

What is the greatest need from the Latin business community to help grow their businesses? 

We have noticed a lack of education from a financial standpoint. Unfortunately, most Latinos are not instilled with financial literacy at a young age. Even for those individuals with a higher education, it is not something that is taught in most universities, colleges or even in graduate schools. Programs are starting to emerge for high-school students, which is great, but what about adults who are already working full time in an industry or starting a business? These professionals have questions related to things like obtaining additional funding, creating a succession plan for their businesses or expanding on an already amazing business structure. How can they create an adequate business plan and then pitch that business plan to a potential loan officer or an investor, when they lack the education and resources? While, we contribute $300 billion to our nation’s economy, our businesses remain stagnant for the most part because of a lack of funding and a lack of education related to obtaining this funding. It is a vicious cycle that we are hoping to break.

How will the chamber assist in promoting Latino businesses and residents in Tampa Bay? 

We hope to assist with the disparity by establishing two accelerator programs and a Latino leadership program. One accelerator will be a technology accelerator that will be hosted in conjunction with Tampa Bay Wave and the second accelerator will be a professional services accelerator. The Latino leadership program will assist Latinos who are interested in becoming involved in the political arena. We hope that by providing these additional resources, we will propel not only the Latin community within Tampa Bay, but Tampa Bay in general.

 

To learn more about our interviewee, visit: 

https://www.linkedin.com/company/tampa-bay-latin-chamber-of-commerce/