The Crossroads Regional Chamber of Commerce held another successful Coffee, Community, and Connections event on Thursday, July 28. Local business members bonded over coffee and bagels while guest speaker Celina Weatherwax shared some of her expansive knowledge on nonprofits. Everyone in attendance was grateful for the opportunity.
“The Crossroads Chamber Commerce Coffee, Community, and Connections events are a great way for some networking while you learn! Celina did an awesome job today, and it is great to see people I know in the community and meet new people I hadn’t met before. It's a perfect mix of education, networking, and breakfast with friends,” said Jenny Craig-Brown, Executive Director of GreatNews.Life.
The Crossroads Regional Chamber of Commerce started holding these coffee socials about three years ago when its team decided that they wanted their chamber members to have a space to learn more about their businesses and meet other members of the community.
“We thought it was important for our businesses to be able to come in and learn about topics they can get for their chamber membership without having to reach out and potentially pay for these types of services. We thought it was a good opportunity for our members to have these education opportunities,” said Deann Patena, President and CEO of Crossroads Regional Chamber of Commerce.
Each event is designed to educate members on a different aspect of their business. Every fall season, the Voice of Business Committee meets and chooses topics they think will be relevant, helpful, and interesting for their chambers members. Oftentimes, they bring in guest speakers from the community to share what they know about the subject. There’s always something new to be taken away from these events.
“Our coffee community events are full of information related to small and mid-sized businesses. They're a great opportunity for those types of businesses that are members of the chamber to learn about different topics and help them with decisions that they may have to make in their own business. We have an upcoming topic related on HR law. We've had topics on business succession planning. We've had topics on budgeting for your business and how to put together a business plan. They're just very informative sessions for our members,” said Patena.
These coffee events are about more than educating chamber members, though. Patena’s hope is that chamber members walk away from these events feeling like they have enriched their lives both professionally and personally. Networking with fellow chamber members at these events is just as important as learning something new.
“There’s value on the education side, but we also have about a 15-minute networking opportunity with the coffee community before the meeting starts, and then we also have each one of our members stand up and introduce themselves so they can get to get to know other chamber members that they might be able to do business within the room. It connects people and is a networking opportunity for them as well,” said Patena.
Not only do the coffee events give members the chance to connect and learn, but they also allow chamber members to promote their businesses and show other members in the community what they have to offer.
“We do offer sponsorships with the coffee and community. For $200, people can sponsor that and they get to stand up and introduce their business so they have a little bit of floor time to introduce their business. Then they can introduce the speaker as well and bring any promotional material that they would like to pass out to the attendees,” said Patena.
With all that said, the Coffee, Community, and Connections events are an opportunity that chamber members should take advantage of if they are seeking out benefical information and chances to connect with their community.
“I just think it's a nice, informal group. It's usually between 25 and 35 attendees. And so it really is an opportunity for them to, in a smaller setting, feel comfortable to ask questions and engage with members that they might not normally get to meet or see,” said Patena.
Coffee, Community, and Connection events are held every fourth Thursday of the month. The next event is scheduled for August 25 and will feature a human resources discussion panel.To learn more about the Crossroads Regional Chamber of Commerce and its monthly Coffee, Community, and Connection events, visit https://www.crossroadschamber.org/.