Confession time: I probably spent way too much time 'Googling' and 'consumer reporting' vacuum cleaners before I bought new one. It was the same story when I purchased a hair dryer, a refrigerator and a camera. I come from a long line of thrifty Finns that taught me to take the time to assess the value of what I was getting before I made the decision.
This trait has seeped into my current role and it's why I've been on the road meeting with Chamber members to find out what they value in membership. Some of them have fallen victim to my "pop-ins" while others have sought me out. Because our membership varies so widely, I've been interested to find out the best opportunities for the Chamber to provide support.
I'm going to spend some time over the next few weeks highlighting how Chamber can help and I encourage you to tell us what you need.
This week I'll focus on service clubs, because I've had the opportunity to speak at a few. As President of the Zonta Club of the Marquette Area and former membership committee chair I can say that finding members is one of the most important organizational goals we have every year. Last year our district had just chartered a new club in the Ann Arbor area and I heard the incoming president proclaim, "I realized I'd ALWAYS been looking for a club like this I just didn't know what it was called!"
When I talk with people from the Ishpeming Rotary, Ishpeming (Noon) Kiwanis and Pioneer Kiwanis, and the Lions Club, (to name a few but there are many more), I know this is an issue that all clubs face - how to get their message out and find new members. To me, there is nothing as inspiring as a person who commits to serve -well, to serve outside their normal duties of working, taking care of children, taking care of parents -the list goes on. I've also fielded quite a few calls at the Chamber from people wanting give back to their community and find the right club. We'd like to connect them with you.
To serve is truly something special, even in the midst of a busy life. But, I've never woken up in the morning and said, "Man, I regret not getting that laundry done yesterday," or "I really feel fulfilled by my ability to mow the lawn." On the other side, I know I would regret if I got to the end of my life and asked, "Did I help?" "Did I become a part of something bigger than myself?" "Did I work with my friends and neighbors to serve a larger purpose?" and the answer was no.
If your answer is to these questions is yes then I encourage you check out the Chamber Directory for the multitude of clubs available. These include chapters of international service organizations or regional clubs specific to our area. Call the Chamber to inquire on meeting times and locations or contact information. We'll do what we can to find what you have been looking for, but you just didn't know what it wascalled.
As a last minute reminder - don't forget to come to Negaunee from 5-7 tonight for the Open House on Iron Street. This great event is hosted by Midtown Bakery, Grand Effex Salon, and Hanna's Tea Times and will include food, beverages, a chance to win prizes -and more importantly, a chance to get to feature great businesses in our own backyard.
Editor's note: Kori Tossava is director of the Greater Ishpeming-Negaunee Area Chamber of Commerce.