They were an integral part of your leadership at one time. Are they still involved or have they “retired” from your chamber? If they’re no longer actively involved, is it their choice or yours?
A member of the Chamber of Commerce Professionals Group on Facebook asked:
Do any of your chambers engage your past presidents/chairs in any type of organized effort? Was thinking of starting a quarterly Past Presidents breakfast club but wanted to think about doing MORE than just having them come and eat. I wanted to see if any of you use your past chairs for anything specific?
Many times continued involvement is slow to take root because former chairs aren’t sure if they’re welcome. The first step to getting them involved in a different capacity is ensuring they still feel a part of things. This is done through giving them something to do and a way of connecting.
The Danville Area Chamber of Commerce hosts a Past Chairs lunch quarterly. This event prompts great discussion on past — but mostly present — issues. Their attendance is 20-25 people. It’s now on the event calendar so past chairs look forward to reconnecting with one another even if they’ve been too busy to make it to other events.
The Pikesville Chamber of Commerce created an Advisory committee for past chairs. They don’t have voting powers but do feel very vested in the process because of their committee position. They are invited to all board meetings.
Select a Topic
One chamber mentioned they tried to host a coffee gathering but it fizzled out after a few events. Discussion is key to this sort of group taking off. If the coffees become a trip down memory lane or a “here’s what needs to be done” session, no one will attend more than a handful of them.
To bolster conversation, choose a topic of focus and let the attendees know ahead of time what it will be. They’ll be more apt to bring suggestions to the table and a hearty discussion should arise.
Is your chamber doing something special to keep past chairs involved? Share it with us here.
Guest post by Christina Green
Image credit: Norma Davey
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