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Focusing on the chamber’s three buckets

Our Chamber board and staff recently held our annual strategic planning retreat (virtual, of course, but it worked thanks to Sandhya Tillotson). Our annual retreat is our opportunity to review last year, strategize for this year and long-term visioning so we are all on the same page.

This might not qualify as the clichéd “bucket list” for folks, but as a team we determined three “buckets” on which we intend to focus as we move forward this year and beyond.

In our first “bucket,” the chamber intends to take a more active role in advocacy. We hear regularly from local businesses about the challenges they’re enduring, asking us to do something by way of working with elected officials and government entities. So, our team discussed how we will be the big voice for small business. This is especially important as we ease our way into economic recovery in the wake of the virus. Our task force is reviewing our policy guidelines and action items.

Your chamber will be working to respond quickly to state and federal policies for the benefit of our local businesses in a variety of categories. We were active during the pandemic even though we often feel isolated down here in our corner of paradise. But with all that’s going on, we realize we need to be more actively engaged, and your chamber board and staff are stepping up to the task.

Secondly, we’ve revaluated our dues structure. Traditionally, the dues levels have been based on number of employees at a business, but our team thought it would be more beneficial to create a tiered membership based on what you want as services from your chamber. Think of it as an exceptional salad bar where you can pick and choose what is needed by you and your business. Those needs are packaged and you invest based on those needs (benefits). Developing a tiered dues structure will take some time and we are targeting first quarter 2022 for implementation.

Third, we’re looking at three to five year planning, by-laws and our chamber (staff) policies. The by-laws were updated a couple years ago, but with the evolution of everything in the last year, we know we need to take a hard look. The bylaws are, of course, a guiding document for our board and staff, so we’ve seriously stepped up to work on this and do it in a timely fashion. We also will be reviewing our staff policies and make sure our small team is as efficient and effective as possible. I welcome our members to send me their ideas, which we may incorporate into this updated document.

Each of your chamber board members are now assigned to a specific task force related to the aforementioned and more. Timelines are being established, and we’ll keep you posted on the progression of our “three buckets.”

Find information about all these things on the chamber’s website, www.durangobusiness.org.

Jack Llewellyn is executive director of the Durango Chamber of Commerce. Contact him at jack@durangobusiness.org.