Thursday, February 28, 2013
In July I was named as the new Chairman of the Georgetown County Chamber of Commerce. Our chamber is the third oldest chamber in the state and has been a fixture for more than 90 years. That being said, I am amazed at how an organization with such a deep history can re-invent itself so quickly in an effort to better serve its members and the overall community.
The Chamberís mission has always been to serve its members through promotional, educational and advocacy efforts, but how we deliver these services to members has to be as fluid as the times in which we live. The most noticeable changes include our expanded Board of Directors, our new Food For Thought series, and two new Small Business Roundtables.
The Chamber Board has been expanded to include representatives from Andrews and Murrells Inlet to round out the geographic representation. The new Board members also bring experience in manufacturing, tourism and the seafood/restaurant industry. Our new, well-rounded Board of Directors offer a broader view of the business community in the county and will be better able to determine our strategic direction moving forward.
The most obvious addition to the Chamberís programming is the new Food For Thought series. The first two luncheons were very well attended and, based on the reviews, the members found the programs to be very informative and beneficial. We have been somewhat surprised at the number of members attending for the social component as for the program itself.
The addition of the two Small Business Roundtables may be less visible, but no less impactful. The Roundtables are geared to provide the owners of small businesses the opportunity to share experiences and best practices. Most all small business owners share a common set of challenges and can learn a great deal from one another. We have started a group in Georgetown and a group in Pawleys Island.
As mentioned earlier, the Chamberís mission has always been to advocate for its members. We are currently conducting a survey of our membership on a broad spectrum of local and state issues. We are the voice for our members, but to do so effectively, we have to understand what our members believe to be important.
We are also refocusing our attention on our next generation of leaders. PILOT, our young professional programs, as well as the Leadership Georgetown County program are going through a major overhaul to ensure that we are meeting the needs of our young professionals and our up-and-coming leaders. We have no future if we have no leaders.
All of the above changes will have a very direct impact on our members and on Georgetown County, but the most important change is the renewed sense of partnership and collaboration through every corner of our county and the broader Grand Strand and Low Country regions of our state. These strategic partnerships cover education, workforce development, the tourism industry, economic development, infrastructure, our environment, etc. The Chamber is everywhere.
We are here to serve and support our members and to grow Georgetown County. To our members, thank you for your support and investment. For businesses in Georgetown County that are not members, you should be. The Chamber wants to help you strengthen and grow your business and build a better Georgetown County.
If you are interested in joining the Chamber or have suggestions on ways for us to make more of an impact, please call the Chamber at (843) 546-8436.
Opinions that appear on this page in Letters to the Editor or in columns do not necessarily reflect the opinions of this newspaper.