Inside the Chamber column: Belonging to and gathering with an organization |

Inside the Chamber column: Belonging to and gathering with an organization

Joni Bates

I enjoy belonging to organizations, supporting their mission, and of course taking advantage of the associated benefits. But, as most of you, when I attend one of the organizations’ meetings or sessions at a conference I sit there wondering what my takeaway is going to be, so I can prepare a report of what I learned when I arrive back at my office.

At one such conference I attended recently, there was a lot of conversation regarding belonging and gathering. The discussion was around joining associations and gathering together for meetings or events and even conferences such as the one I was attending at the time. How is this type of engagement going to change in the next 20-25 years or even the next decade? The Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives, in 2015, came out with a report called the Horizon Initiative. The report was created to inspire ideas for chambers of commerce to ensure that their best days are yet to come.

One of the influences that came out of their research was The Nature of Belonging and Gathering. Belonging is to be a member of a group, and gathering is to assemble for something such as a meeting. The Glenwood Springs Chamber is a convener; we bring business leaders together to create change, build relationships, and create energy and thought-provoking conversations.

If you are interested in finding out for yourself how the chamber is creating change in our community, please join us at one of our gatherings. We have something for everyone to belong to:

Munch, Move and Market Leads & Fitness Group 

meets the third Tuesday, noon to 1 p.m. Get healthy and network at Midland Fitness: Wear your workout gear and get fit; network; enjoy healthy shakes; pass out your business cards and participate in conversations on how to live a healthy lifestyle to keep you engaged in your personal and business life. Let’s Do Lunch 

meets the first Wednesday of every month at various restaurants from noon to 1 p.m.

The Coffee Clutch Group

meets second Tuesday 8-9 a.m.: Grab a cup of Joe, network, advertise your business at the Village Inn

Build relationships with other businesses, support our local restaurants and enjoy interesting presentations from other businesses.

Other ways that the chamber precipitates change is through our Economic Development Meeting and newly formed Business Advocacy Advisory Board, and in 2017 we hosted a seminar “Up Close and Personal with Your Legislators” and a Quarterly Seminar Series. We gathered the community and business members together through our monthly Business After Hours, W.I.N. (Women Interacting & Networking Group), international tours and Ambassador’s Committee, and we honored businesses and community leaders at our Annual Awards Gala.

What will I gain by belonging to the chamber and gathering at a chamber meeting?

Build long lasting relationships with other businesses; pass and receive referrals and leads; make presentations to encourage deeper understanding of each member business; become educated through member expertise; and experience and gain business knowledge from guest speakers.

At the next meeting you attend please go back to your office and create a short bullet list of the things you just learned by attending the meeting or add the business leaders you just met to your prospect or contact list. Would you have made those connections or learned something new that day if we stopped belonging and gathering?

Horizon Initiative: Chambers 2025 — “Belonging and Gathering are not the same thing, but through the history of chamber, the two have been difficult to separate.” What do you think? Let’s talk about it next time we convene.

Joni Bates, IOM, is vice president of membership development at the Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association and can be reached at or 970-945-1514.

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