by Tim Hughes, Bean, Kinney & Korman P.C.
It is somewhat startling to write, but I have spent fifteen
years as a member of the Arlington Chamber. Over that time, my participation has evolved depending on schedule,
interests, opportunities and relationships. Hindsight creates a fine sense of the obvious, but maybe sharing my rear
view mirror will help some readers utilize their Chamber membership more
effectively and, in turn, help the Chamber to be an even more impactful organization.
Photo - (L-R) Michael Foster of MTFA Architecture, Tim Hughes of Bean, Kinney & Korman, John Murphy of Washington Workplace, and Sean Hosty of Morgan Stanley LLC at the Chamber's Fall Golf Outing on October 22, 2013.
Your Membership Goals
Different members have different goals from their
membership. While potential goals may be
legion, the basic lesson is singular – you need to have an idea of what you want
to accomplish via membership to reach that goal.
2. Have a Plan
Spend time strategically defining the means to your end. If
you are a financial planner looking to meet potential clients and referral
sources, that goal may point towards specific activities. If you are looking to have an advocacy voice
on local business legislation and regulation, that goal may point in a very
3. Use the Chamber Resources
Chamber staff, the Board of Directors, committee chairs, and
volunteers are all excellent available resources. USE THEM.
People volunteering with the Chamber will not look at this as an
imposition – remember, they are looking to meet folks and develop relationships
too! Chamber staff members know better
than anyone about all of the events, opportunities, and people
that may be fundamental to your goals and plan.
Woody Allen once said, “Showing up is 80 percent of
life.” Maybe this explains why I am not
a Woody Allen fan. For the vast
percentage of members and potential members, just joining the Chamber is not the
path to reaching your goal. Instead,
implement your plan through meaningful, consistent, and extended engagement and
5. Spam = Bad, Meaningful Relationships (and
Fun!) = Good
Developing authentic friendships has been the heart to the
Chamber being a vital part of my life. Paying it forward for your friends is a
great way to making the Chamber work as an organization and the path to true
success for virtually any member’s goals that I can think of. How much better is it to have fun helping your
friends than to sporadically show up to a couple happy hours and carpet bomb
the room with business cards given to strangers? Whether you are a nonprofit looking to
increase community awareness, a governmental agency looking to increase
communication with the business community, a business entity looking for
greater advocacy influence, or any business looking to expand it client or
customer base, developing deep relationships is the key.
From the vantage of fifteen years of volunteering, events,
and a whole lot of fun, I can concretely say: the Chamber is full of really
great folks who are warmly looking to connect, do business together, and do
great work in this business community.
As a starting point, please feel free to contact me if I can help with
your efforts to make the Chamber work!