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Lancaster Chamber Named Chamber of the Year
August 2013

I’d like to start off this month’s message with a big thank you to all of our Chamber members. Last month, The Lancaster Chamber was named America’s Chamber of the Year by the American Chamber of Commerce Executives, our industry’s professional organization….and we couldn’t have been more thrilled.

This annual designation recognizes top chambers of commerce for their work in leading businesses and communities, and is judged on excellence in operations, governance, member services and community leadership.

Yet, despite the stated criteria, we know that none of the national accolades would be possible without you, our members. So thank you again.

This award was earned by the work of many, starting with the strategic vision and direction of our Board, and implemented by the collective efforts of our staff and volunteers. It is an example of the success we can realize when the entire membership works together to build a prosperous community.

The Chamber of the Year award involves a multi-stage process, which includes an operations survey, detailed application and interview.

Participants in the first stage, the Operations Survey, must meet a minimum threshold to advance on to the application stage of the process. Earlier this year, we learned that we had met the threshold, so we continued on.

In the Application Phase, Chambers are evaluated on their financial and membership performance, as well as their communications, community programs and impact.

We made the decision to apply because we strongly believed we had a compelling story to tell, backed up with many successes and impact we could demonstrate. Our work in the areas of member involvement and engagement; member communication; volunteer reorganization improvements; business model review; and strategic planning were all seeing results at the same time we were working on collaborative efforts like the Prosperity Indicators report, Sustainable Communities initiative, business-education partnerships and numerous advocacy issues. We were also beginning to see the impact and value of programs like Think Local, Young Professionals Network and the High School Mentoring Program for young women. In other words, we were making strides in measuring and quantifying impact and results for our community, rather than measuring mere activity and, quite frankly, we were proud of the results….and your role in making it a success.

Once the applications are in, they are judged by a panel of chamber executives from around the country. We were obviously thrilled when we learned the news in June that we were one of the top three finalists.

The last stage of the process was an in-person interview with a panel of judges. Our Vice President and COO, Cheryl Irwin-Bass and I represented The Chamber in the interview, which covered everything from operations to programming to philosophies. Let me tell you, the interview process was made far easier by the fact that we had so many successful programs and initiatives to share.

In the end, we were successful in receiving this recognition due to the vision, dedication, innovation, hard work and engagement of so many. And, we want to thank you for your continued support –not just to The Chamber, but to the broader business community, as well. Your efforts to strengthen your individual organizations help to accomplish our mission — building Lancaster County into a model of prosperity for 21st Century America…..and, in this case, help Lancaster County receive national recognition. Until next time, stay informed, stay engaged, and stay with us, At the Center.

And now a word from our sponsor, Constellation.

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