Vail Valley Partnership column: What defines a good chamber of commerce?
Chamber of commerce groups generally fall into two categories: 3C chambers and 3P chambers. Three C chambers are catalysts, conveners and champions; meanwhile, three P chambers focus their efforts on parades, pageants and parties.
While all chambers are different in focus, one common thread of successful chambers is that they continue to step up to the greatest challenges in our communities. We have no shortage of challenges — even with 1.7 percent unemployment (or perhaps due in part to 1.7 percent unemployment).
Vail Valley Partnership’s board recognizes the need to tackle issues that prevent business growth, including issues related to workforce housing, transportation and transit, workforce development and broadband access. We’re working hard to be a 3C chamber.
Some background on chambers: In most countries, the use of the term “chamber of commerce” is regulated by statute, though this is not the case in the Unites States. Only trademark, copyright and domain name rules protect a chamber’s identity — only state corporation law defines their existence and reason for being. While most chambers work closely with government, they are not part of government, although many consider the process of appropriately influencing public policy to recognize the needs of business to be one of their most important functions.
We’re fortunate in Eagle County to have numerous chamber of commerce groups actively working to benefit our business community. Vail Valley Partnership serves a regional role and actively advocates for good public policy on a regional and state level, while the Gypsum, Eagle and Vail chambers each provide benefits at a more localized level.
If you’ve seen one local chamber, you’ve seen one chamber. Each group works hard to provide value to its members in different ways. It is safe to say that our valley’s chamber groups share a common belief that a strong business community is necessary to our continued success and that our quality of life in Eagle County is driven by our businesses. Our missions, programs, events and focus areas might vary to best serve our constituents, but our support for our businesses is consistent and steadfast.
The Vail Valley Partnership’s efforts in the community include three distinct yet connected roles: Regional chamber of commerce, destination sales and marketing and economic growth and advocacy. In simple terms, we work to provide the valley’s businesses with networking, educational and collaborative opportunities with the goal of strengthening our local business community and to advocate for our business community at a regional and state level.
The question remains: Are chamber groups stepping up to the greatest challenges in our community? In the Vail Valley, collectively, the answer is a resounding yes.
In the theme of being a 3C chamber, you are invited to join us as we explore workforce housing at the NIMBY Jamboree on Aug. 2-3. This two-day event is a collaboration with the Vail Symposium, Vail Valley Partnership’s Workforce Housing Coalition and concerned citizens.
The jamboree will explore the current housing situation in Eagle County and look at pathways for moving forward, featuring national speakers on housing, town hall meetings and site visits. Consider joining and helping us to frame the future (http://bit.ly/2tjkH06).
Chris Romer is president and CEO of the Vail Valley Partnership, the regional chamber of commerce. Learn more at http://www.vailvalleypartnership.com. Content for this column was pulled from the Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives (ACCE) and Western Association of Chamber Executives (WACE).
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