- Anna Borgeas, Vice President and COO of the Fresno Chamber
When you walk into the Chamber’s Board Room (the Gottschalk’s/Lyle’s Diversified Room) you walk into Fresno’s history. All four walls are ringed by black and white pictures that date back to the Chamber’s founding in 1885. In each is the name and photograph of a former business person who represented the Chamber in that year as the volunteer President or Chair of the Board. It’s a virtual who’s who of our community.
The Chamber is still is blessed with great volunteer leadership. Each year we invite these former leaders to join us at a luncheon to remember what happened in their year and how we can improve moving forward.
On another occasion, each year we gather together companies leaders that comprise, what we call our Chairman’s Circle – a group of elite businesses who believe strongly in the mission of the Chamber and go above their member dues by making a higher cash investment in our programs. Their encouragement and generosity contributes to almost 20% of our annual budget, so you can see how valuable they are to the organization.
At each of these annual luncheons, the current Chair, the Vice-Chairs and I share what the present state of the Chamber is and the programs we are deploying to serve our vital mission.
Obviously it would be great if you became a part of either one of these exclusive groups. Hopefully that’s in your future. But in the meantime I thought you might find of interest what these two prestigious gatherings will be hearing.
Our presentation will be about your Chamber’s accomplishments that are basically made up from five categories: (1) represent and advocate on behalf of business; (2) help create a strong local economy; (3) deliver programs that help businesses grow; (4) provide networking opportunities and (5) enhance commerce through community stewardship.
They will hear about the numerous member activities that are implemented throughout the year. Based on these five pillars – they will hear information ranging from reviewing legislation, to communicating with elected officials and interviewing potential election candidates. We will report on leadership programs we have conducted; the networking that has taken place between businesses, our social gatherings at member locations and the ribbon cuttings for new entrepreneurial efforts. We will detail the seminars to help member organizations grow; the honoring of great community leaders and methods that help educate our members regarding our area’s natural resources. And through a lunch filled with history, accomplishments and laughter, we will talk about the future of the Chamber five years from now.
Here was my revelation! It wasn’t until I moved from the member side of the ledger to the hired-gun side that I realized the depth and energy being put forth by the membership and the staff of this Chamber. All of this with the sole focus of attempting to create a strong financially-vibrant area that enhances the community in which we live.
Someone once made the following observation. “The Chamber does things people think just happen.” I like that saying. And as you can see, there are a lot of things “just happening” at your Chamber. Come join the fun.