On December 6th, we held our Annual Holiday Party at Michaels on the Grove. We had Hors d’oeurves, a cash bar and music by One Plug Entertainment. Please be sure to join us next year.
Paul Finck, Life Mastery Coach, recently spoke to the Brookfield Chamber of Commerce at their November 2015 Lunch ‘N Net held at Hacienda Don Manuel’s new location in Brookfield.
His talk was on ’20/20 Vision – Where will our business be in the year 2020 and what we should be looking out for in our business needs going forward. Do we have a business plan in writing for the next 5 years? Do we have a business plan in writing for just the next year? What are our business priorities and are we following through on those priorities.
Paul brings to the table a vast array of skill sets including 30 years in sales, marketing and entrepreneurial experience. He has consulted in a great many industries, including the medical, dental, financial, retail, informational marketing, direct sales and speakers/coaches/trainers.
“Those Who Can, Do…Those Who Can Do MORE, Volunteer”
Those Members of the Brookfield Chamber of Commerce who have donated their time and talent were honored at an Awards Breakfast generously provided by the Village at Brookfield Commons. Giving support to enable the Chamber to pursue its vision of providing Education, Visibility, Connection and Service over 40 Members were noted for their contributions. From Venue Hosts to Board of Directors, Speakers, Newsletter Contributors, Committee Members, it truly takes a core of dedicated members to provide the Brookfield Chamber Experience.
Mistress of Ceremonies, Linda McCaffrey, noted that last year over 62.6 million people in the United States volunteered which accounted for 27% of the total population. This accounted for 7.7 billon hours of service with a value to the economy of $173 billion. She noted that volunteerism among church and educational group are increasing while involvement in civic, political and professional organization are declining thus making the chamber volunteers especially appreciated.
Benefits of volunteering were noted and include personal benefits such as improved health, stress reduction, learning opportunities, increased self esteem, development of empathy, discovering hidden talents, and finding resources. In the community, volunteering saves resources, improves schools, supports families, beautifies the community and supports local initiatives and causes. Volunteering encourages civic responsibility and is an investment in our community and in the people who live in it.
Our 2015 Volunteers represent business professionals as well as school administrators, and government officials. Thank you to Lisa Allaby, Scott Benjamin, Judy Brackenrig, Candee Caldwell, Chase Caldwell, Ellen Cavahlo, Helen Curtin, Jon Dupree, Marie Dupree, David Fernandez, Mark Gerber, Dipak Ghosh, Sharon Gialo, Matthew Gioglio, Michale Goldstein, Susan Hallman, Mark Jewett, Patty Kane, Hal Kurfehs, Marty Landgrebe, Carlos Lara, Joan Locke, Rebecca Lollie, Kevin McCaffrey, Linda McCaffrey, Susan Merlo, Kurt Miller, Marie Miszewski, Jon Monro, Karl Noivadhana, Patty Passarelli, Judith Pennington, Jacqueline Salame, Devon Scanlon, Leigh Schultz, Richard Starkins, Chris Taylor, Lauren Texiera, Melanie Turner, Marcie Tweedy, Linda Wagner, Drew Wagner, Lori Zezza.
At meetings of the Business Before Breakfast of the Brookfield Chamber of Commerce, we always throw out a “Challenge Question”. The Networking Calendar for September and October was handed out and it was 2 full pages of events comprising of the events held by the five local Chambers of Commerce as well as several other events. It raised the obvious question….
“HOW DO YOU DECIDE WHICH GROUPS AND WHICH EVENTS TO ATTEND?”
- Large vs Small– Some attendees make their decision based where they could meet the most number of new people while others preferred smaller groups where they weren’t so overwhelmed and they could form deeper relationships with those in attendance. If bigger groups are your preference remember that referrals do not come from a onetime meeting. Decide who and how many people you want to meet and make arrangements with them for an additional meeting away from the crowd. In either case try to work the room as you never know who someone might know. These decisions are based on CONNECTIONS.
- Business Groups vs.. Interest Groups– If you play on a softball team or in a golf league, if you volunteer at your Church or belong to the Lions Club….these are all networking opportunities. People get to know your CHARACTER through sports or volunteer activities. These people make their decisions based on who and what they enjoy. Make sure you present yourself well and take a Leadership role. In both groups it is about VISABILITY and SERVICE.
- Social vs. Structured Groups– Some just like to unwind with likeminded business acquaintances and others wanted to learn something from a meeting. At the monthly Chamber Gatherings you can deepen existing friendships and find new resources or potential referral partners. In the structured groups such as BNI, or the Lunch and Learn Series, the attendees sharpen their skills to improve their businesses. The more structured groups also tend to give more visibility to those in the room as there are usually opportunities to share ideas or to introduce yourself to the entire group. The keys here are VISABILITY and EDUCATION.
- Hit Multiple Groups vs Concentrate on a Few– A few members indicated that they rotate events between the multiple chambers to meet more people. Others found it easier to schedule a few on a repeating basis. Consistence of event schedules is important. Here it is about CONVENEINCE.
- Time of Day– Peoples priorities determined the time of day that worked best for them. Juggling work, family and personal obligations made some times of the day better for some and impossible for others. Again CONVENIENCE was key.
- Makeup of the Group– There was a lot of discussion around this topic. Being around positive, passionate people who had a large sphere of influence was critical. Either groups of professionals with similar businesses or those who are their target market the chemistry of the group was one of the major factors driving decisions.
Whatever your preference and whatever you have found effective and convenient for you, there is one overriding theme. Networking outside of the business is crucial to business development and emotional happiness. You need to know WHY you network and then come up with a plan and goals associated with these activities. Interestingly NO ONE mentioned venue or price. It was all about the people and perceived gain. Do you network to get leads, ideas, learn a skill, find resources, develop friendships, find emotional support, or have fun? A couple of parting thoughts…
You will rise to the level of those with who you associate.
No one succeeds in a vacuum.
The 2015 Brookfield Wellness Festival was held April 8th at the Brookfield High School. This new venue enabled the Chamber to work closely with the resources offered through the school, such as the robot eblast to all parents for marketing, the help from the various custodians and sports teams for set up, and the opportunity to engage the DECA Students in the planning and implementation.
Working in conjunction with Brookfield High School, the Health Fair was rebranded and combined with the Health Day annually put on by BHS to create the Brookfield Wellness Festival. Proceeds were to be split between the Chamber of Commerce and BHS for their HOSA Team (Health Professionals of the Future) to fund their trip to the National Competition. 48 vendors participated.
With exposure to over 1,000 students and faculty during the first time slot and another 200 participants from the general public, the response from the vendors was overwhelmingly positive.
A highlight of the day was the Networking Luncheon sponsored by Chick-fil A of Brookfield, who provided the food. Keynote Speaker and Chick-fil-a owner Devon Scanlon spoke on the topic of “Developing REMARKABLE Customer Service.”
Below are just a few of the comments from our vendors:
“Made excellent contacts with other Vendors!”
~ JMK Training
“We were able to get our name out to many children and adults about what we offer!”
~ Route 7 Music
“We built connections in the business health community. Lovely people!”
~ AXA Advisors
“Got our name out into the community and met members of the health community.”
~ Carlson Physical Therapy
“Reconnected with people I hadn’t seen in a while. More exposure for the Mary Kay brand!”
“I got lots of leads from the students, LOVED the networking luncheon with Devon.”
“Great opportunity to introduce the Brookfield Health Department to the public.”
“Parent and faculty of HS-aged children are usually between 45-60. This is my target!”
“LOVED being at BHS!”
~ Riva’s Rides
“I was able to get contact info for a lot of new people. Loved the lunch talk. It made the entire event.”
~ Hand and Stone Massage
The organizing team for the event consisted of Sue Troupe and Lauren Texeira of Brookfield High School, Linda McCaffrey of Coldwell-Banker McCaffrey Realty, Marie Miszewski of the Regional YMCA of Western CT and Susan Murphy of the Brookfield Chamber. The team was later presented with a proclamation from First Selectman Bill Tinsley.
HARTFORD — This week State Representative David Scribner (R-107) successfully pushed for the establishment of a Connecticut Port Authority – an entity that will overlook the profitability and improvement of our underutilized water ports.
The Connecticut Port Authority will be a quasi-public agency that aims to:
- coordinate port development, focusing on private and public investments
- pursue state and federal funding for dredging and other infrastructure improvements to increase movement of cargo
- market the ports’ advantages to domestic and foreign shippers
- coordinate the planning and funding of capital projects promoting the ports’ development
“Connecticut’s waterfront assets are a valuable but untapped resource, and this bill creates a path toward determining the appropriate structure, powers and functions to help make our ports successful,” said Rep. Scribner, Ranking Member of the Transportation and Transportation Bonding Committees. “The Port Authority would be a self-sustaining, financially autonomous entity that gives us opportunities to fully utilize our waterways for industrial and other purposes.”
Rep. Scribner, who is the longest serving member of the Transportation Committee, was the chief proponent of the legislation which passed the General Assembly unanimously.
The three state ports under the Authority’s purview are in Bridgeport, New Haven and New London.
The bill (HB 5289) now awaits the Governor’s signature, and would go into effect October 1, 2015.