It’s there in the numbers. Since the first of the year, the Snoqualmie Valley Chamber of Commerce has added 45 new members, bringing the total membership to 305. Readers in the Valley Record’s Best of the Valley poll knew it already, choosing the Chamber as the Best Organization to Join.
And everyone can join the chamber. We have non-profit, for-profit and individual members,” said Nate Perea, Chamber Executive Director. “Usually when we have individuals join, they’re very community-minded people. They want to be a part of contributing to the community,” he added.
For those who thought the Chamber was just an organization to help businesses promote themselves, think again. Business exposure and networking opportunities are distinct benefits of membership, says Perea, but so are opportunities to develop and improve the community, such as through service projects coordinated by Chamber groups like the Valley Young Professionals.
Plus, “We do a lot of business education opportunities,” says Perea. The newly updated website, “which I believe shatters the model,” lists many inexpensive online training courses and, “we’ve also revamped our in-person training opportunities.” Monthly breakfast meetings provide information about creating powerful presentations, the psychology of sales, and using social media to grow business, and have been getting a steady response from members.
Combined with their regular luncheon meetings and the more informal “after-hours” events, the breakfast sessions offer something for members at each time of day. It’s all part of Perea’s plans to grow the chamber to the right size.
“I was very intentional when I took over this chamber of how we wanted to grow,” he said.
It started with a new culture at the Chamber, an “abundant mindset” and a welcoming environment. He tries to make sure that all prospective new members get to meet with himself and/or Chamber staff before joining, so they can feel welcome and included. He’s also watchful for the danger of growing too big, too fast, saying growth is good, unless “you can’t deliver on what they’re looking for.”
So far, the Chamber has been delivering, both to its members and to Perea, who will have his one-year anniversary on the job on April 1.
“There’s not many jobs you can get to support the entire community, when every day you go to work to try to make the community better,” he said.
Learn more about the Chamber’s work at www.snovalley.org.