Thank you for following along with our monthly Chamber Camaraderie series, which highlights outstanding and hardworking team members from Chambers of Commerce throughout Massachusetts.
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Introduce yourself! Who are you and what do you do at your Chamber of Commerce?
I am the Senior Project Lead for South Shore 2030 (our Chamber’s regional economic and community development plan). Like most chamber professionals I wear a few hats outside of that role, but my primary goal is to drive more conversation about planning for the future South Shore. We do this through conversation, collaborative connections and advocacy on important regional economic development priorities like housing, infrastructure, transportation, water capacity and workforce challenges. These issues are all connected and they require regional thinking and planning. I also manage at the Chamber’s Women in Local Leadership Series (alongside my colleague Heather McCall) and serve as the staff liaison to the South Shore Young Professionals.
What made you want to work for the Chamber of Commerce?
I’ve worked for membership organizations since the beginning of my career, first in the international development space, then in the state legislative space. We had just moved to the area from Washington, DC. and it seemed like there were some natural synergies between my prior work and I knew it would also give me the opportunity to get to know the area better. It was one of the best decisions I have made.
What do you love the most about the area where you live in Massachusetts?
Hard to pick just one thing. It has some of the most natural stunning landscapes, trail networks and beaches. It’s also full of vibrant little neighborhood centers (many undergoing revitalization) that are full of passionate and committed businesses and residents.
Why do you think it’s important for everyone to be a member of a Chamber of Commerce?
This is a tough question. I could answer it two ways.
1. Not everyone is a good fit for chamber membership. You have to have a growth mindset, be open to learning, be open to sharing your own struggles, experience and business insight. You have to be ready to build relationships, not just look for an immediate transaction (there are other networking groups for that purpose). In my experience, chambers are not transactional. Yes, business deals are made and your rolodex of contacts grows, but it’s often because the chamber has laid the platform for a relationship to form first.
2. Everyone should support their local or regional chamber through membership because chambers do incredible work for their communities and for that simple reason everyone should be a member of at least one chamber. Chambers work behind the scenes to advocate for businesses, work with municipalities and government to help plan and vision for future generations, and support building more vibrant neighborhoods, towns and regional areas.
What has been the biggest lesson you’ve learned throughout your career?
The biggest lesson I’ve learned (and am still learning) is that you need to advocate for yourself, you need to find people who will also advocate for you and you also need to advocate for others. It’s important to draw from mentors and guides but your colleagues all around you have a lot of experience to draw on so don’t overlook this. Develop your own voice. And it’s ok to speak up and push back if you disagree, just be thoughtful about your reasoning. Not everything’s an argument – there is such a thing as healthy debate and not everyone is always going to agree.
If you weren’t in your current position, what would your next dream job be?
Hmm… that’s a tough one. I have a lot of ideas, but I always go back to this one dream which is owning my own design and staging company. I’d love to be able to help design and cultivate spaces in people’s homes, businesses and the community that drive connection and warmth.
When you’re not working, what activities do you enjoy?
Chasing my 3 year old, helping my husband with his painting business, taking walks/hikes, traveling to see family. I wish I could say reading, but it’s more like binging shows these days. 🙂
Thank you for sharing more about yourself! Tell us how we can get in touch with your Chamber of Commerce or find it online.