Our theme for the 2008 Annual Meeting of the Upper Arlington Area Chamber of Commerce is "Take It to the Extreme." Some of you might be wondering where that came from and what it might signify. While sitting with a few of our board members gathered around the conference table at the Chamber office earlier this year, we began discussing all the extreme changes we had made thus far in 2008. Henceforth, the name "Take It to the Extreme."

Our theme for the 2008 Annual Meeting of the Upper Arlington Area Chamber of Commerce is "Take It to the Extreme." Some of you might be wondering where that came from and what it might signify. While sitting with a few of our board members gathered around the conference table at the Chamber office earlier this year, we began discussing all the extreme changes we had made thus far in 2008. Henceforth, the name "Take It to the Extreme."

Although the news media all around us remind us we are officially in a recession, I believe we have the power to make a difference. This organization we call the "Chamber" is a reflection of all of the individuals and all of the area businesses that constitute the Upper Arlington Area Chamber of Commerce. We have the potential to tap into hundreds of individuals utilizing their knowledge, strengths and areas of expertise to help our Chamber develop new products and services that will benefit everyone. The Chamber's actions are directly related to our members' input as to what they believe will help our area businesses today in our current market place and economy.

The staff and board of trustees have been hard at work all year long to develop and approve an action plan for 2009. Our committee members and volunteers are the glue that holds everything together and the engine that creates traction and keeps things humming along. I find it personally very gratifying to work with so many of our members in these committees we've formed. Relationships are cemented and business growth occurs. I want to thank our board of trustees for their time and commitment paving the way for a successful year in 2009.

This action plan is carried out through the work of our committees. These include: The Business Advocacy Committee (BAC), Golf Classic, TASTE of UA, Tech UA, Professional Coffee Series, Entrepreneurial, Business Network Exchange (BNE), the Communication & Membership, and the Retail committees.

We are creating new alliances with area businesses, the city, schools, and library. The Chamber has recently been appointed a seat on the City Improvement Corporation (CIC), allowing us the opportunity to lend an ear and share in the local business developments. We continue to form and build on new partnerships such as: ThisWeek Community Newspapers to create our own UA Chamber Business Monthly newspaper delivered to more than 23,000 households, WUAR Radio Talk @ Ten on Thursdays with our first local radio podcast, SNP with coverage of the Taste of UA, Tech Columbus and SBDC Small Business Development.

The City of Upper Arlington and the Chamber have long partnered to promote the importance of supporting our local service and retail community. The City and Chamber are already making plans to take Live in UA? Shop in UA! to a new level in 2009 and beyond. We will continue to bring people together and strive to help our members grow their business exponentially. Our B 2 B discount program offers discounts and savings among our member businesses and organizations.

So what will the Chamber do for you in 2009? We'll continue to pool our resources and strive to cut costs. We are committed to offering programs and services that, with your participation, can have a profound and positive impact on your business. It's time to take get involved with the Chamber and "Take It to the Extreme."

Becky Hajost is the President of the Upper Arlington Area Chambe of Commerce.

Becky

Hajost