On Thursday, the Hobart Chamber of Commerce hosted the 2017 Business & Community Expo at Ambassador Banquets in Hobart. Businesses and organizations from around Northwest Indiana gathered for the exciting half-day event that featured a luncheon, guest speaker, and networking sessions as well as providing the over 60 vendors in attendance with the opportunity to connect with each other, and members of the community.
“We kicked things off with a delicious luncheon,” said Lisa Winstead, Executive Director of the Hobart Chamber of Commerce. “We had over 80 people here for lunch so it was a great crowd and our speaker, Robby Slaughter from Indianapolis, came and spoke about failure being the key to success. It was a really great presentation.”
“After lunch, we held a speed networking session with all of the businesses, and then we had a business to business session,” Winstead said when describing the day’s Expo. “After that, we opened the doors to the public. We really want to bring businesses and organizations together to educate the community about all of the great resources that are out there.”
New to this year’s Hobart Chamber Business & Community Expo was the idea of having businesses and organizations open to accepting resumes and applications from those in attendance. The Chamber also decided to involve Hobart High School in the event in the hopes of allowing businesses to connect with students who might be seeking summer jobs or internships.
Marsha Plesac, Hobart Chamber board member and Chairperson for this year’s Expo, was excited about the diversification of the event and the inclusion Hobart High School students.
“This year we encouraged Hobart High School to come,” described Plesac. “We got on board with Dr. (Peggy) Buffington and the guidance counselors at the school, and they promoted the event with announcements. This year we brought in a different caveat to the event where we added the word ‘community’ to it so we wanted the kids to come and talk to potential employers. It’s not a ‘job fair’ but we wanted to open the event up to more and newer possibilities.”
For Plesac, the highlight of the event was the in-depth networking time that was allotted for businesses and organizations to connect with one another.
“You, as a business owner, manager, or director, can get your message out in a personal way to every other single person here,” Plesac added. “You really don’t get that at a lot of other Chamber Expos. We do that networking for about two hours and then we open things up to the public. It’s really the best of both worlds looking at it from an inter-personal and a public perspective.”
The mingling of businesses, organizations, and members of the community that the Hobart Chamber Expo facilitates is an invaluable way of connecting and establishing relationships in the greater Northwest Indiana community.
“It’s always a great event,” said Hobart Mayor Brian Snedecor. “I think what’s really important is that, not only do businesses get to network in a more relaxed atmosphere, but it allows the public to come in and interact with businesses and organizations to get to know what they're all about, and what services they provide.”
“The key is that you can find out, through talking with other businesses, what you may have in common,” Snedecor added. “And, what you don’t have in common, you may have the ability to interact services or to make recommendations for a business that’s here. Along with networking, it’s also informational from one business or organization to another.”
For Candace Arvin from Jacob’s Ladder Pediatric Rehabilitation, the 2017 Hobart Chamber Expo served as a great way for her to meet other business and community leaders as well as to get the word out about Jacob’s Ladder.
“The event was fantastic,” Arvin said. “The speaker was very motivating and, afterward, we had some speed networking. That’s always fun and a great opportunity to get your product, your cause, your brand, and whatever you’re passionate about in front of a great number of Chamber members.”
“One of my favorite things though is that it’s always open to the community,” added Arvin. “At Jacob’s Ladder we always come from a place of education and letting people know who we are, what we do, and why it’s important. Hopefully, by the end of the day, we find some people whose philanthropic values align with our mission and can help us serve more children in need.”
This year’s Expo featured entertainment from Tom Lounges as well as free giveaways and raffles.
To find out more about all of the great events that the Hobart Chamber of Commerce hosts throughout the year, go to:www.hobartchamber.com
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