By Dave Correll
The recent change in leadership at the Rutland Chamber comes at an exciting time for the Chamber and the Rutland Region, and allows us to take stock in how well-positioned we are for the future.
Most importantly, the state of the Rutland Chamber is strong!
The Rutland Chamber remains among the strongest in the state. It is growing at a healthy pace, and provides substantial value to its members and to the region, from marketing to advocacy.
Our social events, fundraising opportunities and networking events are very well attended. Some new ones are in the planning stages, and some legacy events are being reviewed for change and freshness.
The Chamber website, which has been redesigned and rebuilt to provide a modern, interesting view of the region and Chamber, generates over 250,000 visits annually, and growing. It serves as a resource to our local community while providing a high level of exposure to our members, and provides effective and measurable advertising opportunities to promote member businesses.
During the strategic planning process that we began to plan back in January and started in March, we began looking at opportunities to continue building upon collaboration with our other area organizations. Our objective is to explore ways to further strengthen the good work and positive messages coming from the Rutland community, and to make it even more effective.
There is much work to be done, from economic development and growing our community, retaining our youth and attracting people to move to the Rutland Region, to creating events and networking opportunities that strengthen the business and community at large — but we are coming from a good place.
Over the past three years, the Chamber’s board of directors prepared and strategically positioned the organization to withstand the challenges set in motion 14 months ago by the Affordable Care Act. The ACA changed the way health insurance was sold through Chambers in Vermont. We saw its impact coming far in advance, planned for it and acted accordingly to emerge from that transition even stronger than before. This has been no easy feat, but certainly is a success story our entire community can be proud of.
That effort by the board and staff, including departing Executive Director Tom Donahue, provides us with the opportunity to further grow the Chamber, our members and the region.
We are excited about the ongoing rebirth in the region, and look forward to an even greater role in the revitalization as we complete our new strategic plan in the coming months.
Dave Correll is President of the Rutland Region Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors.