Jackson chamber membership grows by 18 percent since late 2008

Wednesday, April 28, 2010
The Jackson Chamber of Commerce has experienced an 18 percent increase in membership since executive director Brian Gerau came on board in November 2008.

When Brian Gerau first came on board as Jackson Chamber of Commerce executive director in November 2008, membership stood at 380 as chamber staff were recovering from the death of executive director Marybeth Williams only months earlier.

But thanks to social media, e-mailed newsletters and other methods of communication with members, overall membership has increased by about 18 percent since late 2008.

"There's a synergy going on," Gerau said.

Among the 450 chamber members is Jeff Martin of the Martin Group of Realty Executives of Cape County. Martin said he believes membership has grown because of more networking and leadership opportunities that have been added since Gerau became executive director. New initiatives in 2010 include the Ambassador program, in which some members serve as advocates for the chamber at various functions.

"The value of the chamber has become more attractive," said Martin, a member of the chamber for six years. "Networking is as important as ever.

"When things get a little bit tougher regarding the economy, folks have to work harder in business. The chamber affords them the opportunity to do that."

Gerau said the chamber's Facebook page as well as weekly e-mails have been key in keeping members informed about various scheduled events, including its Business Breakfasts, Business After Hours, golf tournament, banquets, seminars and ribbon cuttings.

To increase the method of communication even further, Gerau said the chamber plans to launch a new website by late May.

The redesigned website will feature videos promoting upcoming events, a daily blog on various business events in the community and easier navigation on the site, which will maintain its current address of www.jacksonmochamber.org. Relentless Media Productions of Jackson is handling the redesign.

"Social media seems to be the hot thing now," Gerau said. "We feel like implementing these types of features will bring even more traffic to our site and awareness of the chamber."

Another initiative set to begin in May is an effort called Donuts and Dialogue. Scheduled for a yet-to-be-determined midweek morning, the meeting will allow for chamber members to offer ideas or voice concerns to chamber staff.

"These events are just some of the ways we're trying to increase our awareness in the business community," Gerau said. "We want people to take advantage of what is offered and continue to give us ideas on how to make their chamber that much better."

bblackwell@semissourian.com

243-8600

Pertinent address:

125 E. Main St., Jackson, MO

Map of pertinent addresses

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