My first assignment as a new board member for the Vail Chamber and Business Association was to write an article. I was given plenty of lead time to come up with a topic and put pen to paper. The other board members knew I would need it. After all, I’m a banker, not a writer. Truth is, I had no idea where to start. As I sat through the next several meetings a couple of themes started to become clear to me. The board’s desire to communicate with its members and cooperate with other organizations became a consistent message.
During the next several weeks, I began to pick up on the continuous use of words beginning with C-O at our meetings. We discussed the needs of the business community and how we could collaborate with others to provide real value to our members. Should we co-sponsor events? How can we be sure our actions are compatible with the desires of merchants and local government? We certainly do not want to appear combative. The good news is the Vail Chamber and Business Association is on a course of coalescent activities.
I discovered even better news when I recently attended a panel discussion featuring representatives from each of the county’s other chamber and merchant associations. The questions were engaging and, I believe by design, mildly divisive at times. I listened to answers from members of the Lionshead Merchants Association, Minturn-Red Cliff Business Association, Eagle-Vail Merchants Association, the Eagle Chamber, Beaver Creek Merchants Association, Gypsum Chamber, Vail Chamber and Business Association and the Vail Valley Partnership. It turns out they too had been bitten by the C-O bug. In years past, these organizations often viewed each other as rivals, with little compassion for one another. But much to my delight, the eight panelists representing these organizations, from Gypsum to Vail and Minturn to Red Cliff, were consistent in their messages. They were committed to collaboration and coexistence in our county.
This is great news for everyone as the future of promotional events, community programming and even expanded air service at the Eagle County Regional Airport will be aided by a spirit of cooperation. Tangible evidence of this comes in the form of a countywide calendar of events and meetings being maintained by the Merchant Alliance Association. This will allow organizations to avoid overlapping meetings, networking events and promotions. This may seem like a small thing to some, but to others who have had to choose between a concert and a mixer, this is a big step.
No one is advocating a new coalition among the various chambers and associations. Each one has evolved to this point because of a clear need for services and representation best handled through each localized group. What has me so excited is the cohesion of thoughts that the independent groups have.
So spread the news by calling your colleagues and cohorts, emailing your connections and talking to your co-workers — life is great in C-O!
Stay involved and stay informed. If you are not already receiving the chamber weekly e-newsletter, all you need to do is email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to start receiving it.
The Vail Chamber and Business Association is the leading business advocacy group in Vail and is a communications outlet for businesses that want to have a voice in community affairs. If you are interested in finding out more about the Vail Chamber and Business Association and what we have to offer to business in and that do business in Vail, please contact us at 970-477-0075 or email email@example.com. Based in Vail Village, our office is located on the top level of the Vail transportation center. Stop by and say hello!
Larry Cavanaugh is president of Centennial Bank located in West Vail. He is the newest member of the VCBA board.