The New Albany Chamber of Commerce prepared for 2014 by asking its board and members to determine how the chamber can best serve them.
New executive director Courtney Orr said the chamber board held a retreat Jan. 8 during which members formed small groups to study communications, membership, events and economic development.
The groups will be asked to offer feedback through a survey so the chamber knows how to move forward, Orr said.
"We need a several-pronged approach to be a valuable membership organization," she said. "Obviously, we want to be an excellent chamber to address the membership's needs and interests."
She said the board is talking about ways to communicate with members.
The chamber produces a paper newsletter and an electronic newsletter. Orr said the chamber needs to determine if both are still needed.
She said the chamber also will study the use of social media and other ways it can communicate effectively.
The chamber has 500 members, more than half of whom are businesses and organizations located in New Albany. The other half is made up primarily of businesses in Gahanna and Westerville, with a smaller percentage of businesses in Licking and Delaware counties, Orr said.
Many of the events the chamber hosts are well supported, Orr said, and will continue. She mentioned the Business Exposition: A Taste of New Albany, which provides food and beverage vendors a place to showcase their wares; and the Delta awards, given out at the annual holiday meeting each December.
"We're continuing to look at ways to improve on what we've done and find new opportunities," she said.
One of the newer events proposed is a legislative breakfast, at which local elected officials could share information that will affect chamber membership.
"We want to watch legislation that could impact businesses, things specific to our businesses that could affect them, whether it's good or bad," she said.
Health also is a hot topic in New Albany, Orr said, so the chamber might look at providing some sort of health education this year.
"We want to bring into the mix things that we think will work well," she said.
The board will meet again Feb. 11 and continue talking about the direction for 2014.
"I'm very excited and I think this was a wonderful opportunity for me to come in and be able to help reexamine everything," Orr said.
Orr started her job as executive director Nov. 18, 2013. She replaced Eileen Leuby, who resigned to become membership director of the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission.
Orr was working as vice president of government affairs for the Clearwater Regional Chamber of Commerce in Florida when she accepted the position in New Albany.
The chamber board includes chairman Charles Dankworth of UBS Financial Services; treasurer Robert Harris of Huntington National Bank; secretary Sandy Diggs of Sandy Diggs Insurance and Financial Services; past chairman Craig Fullen of the Law Group; Tara Abraham of Accel; Ron Cadieux of the Raines Group HER Realty; Andrew Cooke of Cooke, Demers and Gleason; Rolando de Aguiar of Tween Brands; Mike Durik of MLD Consulting; Brad Fischer of Aetna; Greg Ford of One Church; Brad Griffith of Buckeye Interactive; Tonia Irion of e-Cycle; Jason Koma of Mount Carmel Health; Jacqueline MacLaren of MacLaren Law; Mark Moorehead of Big Red Rooster; Cherie Nelson of Kelly Services; Mike Puskas of State Security; Stacey Sampson of Telhio Credit Union; Tony Shill of the New Albany Country Club; Lewis Smoot of Smoot Construction; Amy Wagner of Animals R Special; and Hope Wolman of Insurance Office of Central Ohio.
Ex-officio board members are: Jennifer Chrysler, New Albany's community development director; Ben Collins, Plain Township administrator; and April Domine, New Albany-Plain Local Schools superintendent.
The next chamber meeting is at 11:30 a.m. Jan. 16, at Winding Hollow Country Club and the featured speaker will be Joseph Testa, Ohio's tax commissioner.
Admission is $25 for members and $35 for nonmembers.
For information on the chamber of commerce, visit newalbanychamber.com.