Michael Schoedinger on Jan. 12 will advise chamber members on how to keep their business from going 6 feet under.

Michael Schoedinger on Jan. 12 will advise chamber members on how to keep their business from going 6 feet under.

The Schoedinger Funeral and Cremation Service employee will give a motivational speech at the Gahanna Area Chamber of Commerce's annual "State of the Chamber" event, slated for 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. today (Thursday, Jan. 12) at the Creekside Conference and Event Center, 700 Creekside Plaza. "Schoedinger has been a chamber member a very long time, and he came highly recommended," chamber president Leslee Blake said. "He'll provide a motivational uplift. We're excited to hear him."

Blake said the annual meeting and luncheon would be "power-packed and very informative."

"We try to make it as exciting and informative as possible, summing up what we've done in a year in 15 minutes," she said. "There will be lots of visuals. It gives longstanding and new members a chance to reflect on our accomplishments and hear what to look forward to in the future."

Chamber board chairman Ron Wolfinger of LegalShield will lead the program and provide a report on the state of the chamber. Along with other highlights in 2011, a record-breaking 14th annual Taste of Gahanna was held Oct. 13. About 800 people took part in a three-hour event designed to promote consumer awareness and business development for chamber restaurants.

The chamber also will recognize the 2011 large- and small-business award winners Jan. 12.

"The objective of the awards is to recognize members who are actively involved and have a commitment to community service," Blake said.

AT&T Ohio will receive the chamber's 2011 large-business award, and website design firm Fourth Floor Interactive is set to get the small-business award.

AT&T Ohio also is the winner of the chamber's referral award for recruiting the most new members for 2011.

A new award - the ambassador award - also is being added to recognitions this year.

"The ambassador program is our goodwill arm of the chamber designed to boost member involvement, member retention and to reach out to nonmember people," Blake said.

The recipient of that honor will be a surprise at Thursday's meeting.

"We'll also review and share our objectives and accomplishments," Blake said. "It's our official business meeting and our opportunity to share with members the highlights of 2011. We'll touch base on our goals through strategic planning."

Gahanna Mayor Becky Stinchcomb also will help install the 2012 board of directors.

For more information about the Gahanna Chamber, visit www.GahannaAreaChamber.com.