Quote of the month that has inspired me:
“Don’t worry about how we divide up the pie, there is enough for everybody. Let’s just build a bigger pie!”
I love this motto. It always cheers me up and gets me motivated! A new year is here, lush with new ideas percolating. There is something for everyone at the chamber; we have a lot of “pie” to offer our members and the community.
For our members we have 15 complimentary networking events this year! Come out and meet your fellow business owners and let’s share who our ideal customers are, so we can refer some business to each other. The chamber is a great resource for advertising, business education, community outreach and involvement. Be sure to check out your Newsbyte newsletter for all the upcoming events.
For the community and businesses, our first event speaks to all our residents in Dearborn and Dearborn Heights, “A Tale of Two Cities.” Dearborn Mayor John O’Reilly Jr. and Dearborn Heights Mayor Dan Paletko will detail a business recap of 2013 and forecast for 2014. This event is a great way for residents, business owners, and city officials to hear what is happening in our communities. Join us at 11:30 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 14, at Dearborn Hills Golf Club. Call the chamber at 313-584-6100 to reserve your tickets.
Another great winter event for everyone to enjoy is the new indoor Center Market. The city of Dearborn and the chamber are pleased to partner on this once-a-month indoor event. Our next date is 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 19. Hosted by the Ford Community & Performing Arts Center in the Hubbard Ballroom, admission is free and will continue the third Sunday of each month. Our goals are to bring people together in a community activity and to support local entrepreneurs and small businesses. Gifts, gourmet edibles, candles, crafts, glassware, jewelry, choirs, cooking demos; there will be something there for everyone. Come, visit, and enjoy our local talented artisans.
2013 was the first year we self-published our directory, to huge acclaim and savings. It’s a community resource that is utilized by both Dearborn and Dearborn Heights residents, as well as serving as our Chamber Directory. Chamber members are listed as well as city resources for both communities.
Area attractions and history are highlighted, and the chamber processes more than 2,000 visitor packages each year. This is a directory that showcases our area beautifully. Renee Aloe, our membership director, championed this cause; she took the ball and ran with it, and it was a rousing success! Watch for our 2014, 70th anniversary edition coming soon.
The Young Entrepreneurs Academy is a groundbreaking program that transforms local middle and high school students into real entrepreneurial success stories through an exciting, projects-based approach. Complete with the involvement of successful entrepreneurs as guest speakers and field trip hosts, students learn how to launch and run their own real businesses through this dynamic program.
YEA was founded in 2004, with 50 programs around the United States, and the Dearborn Area Chamber is the first and only chamber to host this prestigious program in Michigan. University of Michigan-Dearborn graciously is hosting the students each week until May, when we will get to see a trade show from the next Bill Gates or Martha Stewart!
A little known fact in the United States, but protocol across the world, Certificates of Origin are needed to ensure exports are received and documented as U.S.-made and meet shipping and importing standards. We’d like to thank Wendy Fichter, our director of small business development, for championing this program, as chambers of commerce are the only entities that can provide this documentation.
We’ve forged a very successful relationship with Ford, Schenker and other companies to provide these services, with electronic processing and low rates for chamber members. Wendy is educating other chambers in Michigan, who may use our services as a turn-key solution for their membership as well. This has been a start-up year, and the program is moving forward very successfully, with kudos from the International Chamber of Commerce, in Paris, the world expert on this process.
I’ve been enjoying my role as president. I’m currently serving on the West Dearborn Downtown Development Authority board, The Dearborn Education Foundation board, Friends for the Dearborn Animal Shelter board, and the newly formed Parks and Recreation Board. I have relationships with the American Arab Chamber, the Detroit Chinese Business Association, the Girl Scouts, and numerous other organizations.
The welcome I’ve had this year in Dearborn excites me for 2014; thanks to you all for your support and participation in our events. Let’s toast health, wealth and happiness for our communities, and continue our growth together!