Raising the Profile of Local Businesses: Prince William Chamber of Commerce
By Katherine Gotthardt
Photo: Shavonda Turner and Kris Johnson of the Prince William Chamber of Commerce welcome members and guests to the “MB3” held Friday, February 6, 2015 at Uno Chicago Grill in Manassas.
The aim is to promote and support local businesses, and the Prince William Chamber of Commerce does it by offering networking, educational and advocacy events for businesses of all sizes. And based on the membership and participation, it’s clear the Prince William Chamber is doing something right.
One of the Chamber’s bi-monthly events is the MB3 – Morning Business Building Breakfast. This free, early morning networking opportunity comes with a hot breakfast, compliments of Uno Chicago Grill in Manassas on first Fridays, and Glory Days Grill in Woodbridge on third Fridays.
This past Friday’s MB3 at Uno was well attended by more than 60 members and guests. Sponsored by Duvall Wheeler CPAs and Consultants, the breakfast brought together a diverse group of professionals from the for-profit and nonprofit sectors.
Networking and breakfast were followed by a brief presentation by the sponsors. Attendees were then asked to introduce themselves by giving their name and the name of their company. Door prizes such as gift certificates for free wine tasting, gift cards for rock climbing and discounts at local businesses were awarded.
At one point, members were asked to take “selfies” with other members and post the pictures on Facebook. The request was part of the “I Belong” campaign.
Kris Johnson, Membership Development Director of the Prince William Chamber, says the “I Belong” campaign is designed to promote pride in membership and raise the profile of Chamber members and the Chamber itself. Members sport pins that read “I belong.” Members are also encouraged to post pictures of themselves at Chamber events and other happenings in the community. When they post, they use the hashtag “I Belong #pwchamber.”
Debroah Trnka of Edward Jones Investments, who took part and posted her “selfie,” said of the event and the Chamber in general, “It is a great opportunity to network with others and build relationships with networking partners.”
Frank Milihran, The Grounds Guy of Gainesville, said for him, joining the Chamber is not only a way to network, but a way to get brand recognition.
Co-chair of the Chamber Ambassador Program, Shavonda Turner, said, “The Chamber brings long-lasting business contacts, while also bringing you great, real friendships.”
The Chamber believes there are many benefits to membership. First, relationships are built, allowing businesses and community leaders to develop new customer bases and share ideas. Second, the Chamber says, is knowledge. The Chamber aims to help members keep ahead of competitors by providing news and information on industry trends through events, business resources and communications. The Chamber also says members have influence, since they are part of Northern Virginia’s largest Chamber. Members gain visibility, reaching new markets because the Chamber promotes member businesses. Finally, there are cost savings associated with being a member of the Chamber. Member-to-member discount and partner programs are offered to Chamber members.
The Prince William Chamber of Commerce is currently accepting applications for membership. Find out more at www.pwchamber.org.