I would like to share with the Upper Arlington Area Chamber of Commerce members, residents and all of our strategic partners a summary of the work we've done in 2009 while highlighting some of the new initiatives for 2010.

I would like to share with the Upper Arlington Area Chamber of Commerce members, residents and all of our strategic partners a summary of the work we've done in 2009 while highlighting some of the new initiatives for 2010.

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. With renewed relationships and continuous efforts to leverage the work of the chamber through our strategic partners, we have the ability to add strength and more value added services as our member benefits grow.

These efforts allow us to 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.

I'd like to thank the board of trustees for their support and perseverance during one of the most difficult times in our economy since the depression. The continued efforts by our members serving on chamber committees are a real testament to the strength of the area business community.

I am proud to announce this year our chamber grew by 130 new members. Our volunteers are the glue that holds everything together and the engine that creates traction with one of the highest member retention rates. 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.

So what will the Chamber do for you in 2010? We'll continue to pool our resources and strive to cut costs. We are committed to offering programs and services that, with your participation, will have a profound and positive impact on your business. This year we will begin transitioning our membership to a Tier Membership structure offering our membership the ability to pick and choose the products and services that best fit their individual needs for business growth.

Join the chamber today and "Get in the FAST Track."

Getting involved with the Chamber
In addition to providing a chance for members to affect the direction of the chamber, committees are an ideal way to network and develop leadership skills. Chamber committees also develop programs to increase member benefits, provide education, attract new members, enhance the local business climate and improve the organization's financial strength.

Ambassador Committee
This is the chamber's welcoming committee. They visit member businesses and help host events. Ambassadors play a crucial role in recruiting prospective members by advocating on behalf of the chamber to area businesses and organizations. Becoming an Ambassador provides an opportunity to be involved in the community and connect with other professionals.

Annual Meeting & Business Expo
This committee assists the chamber with its annual membership dinner and business expo in January. This event was created for its members to showcase their products and services to the community.

Business Advocacy Committee
An important aspect of the chamber's work focuses on enhancing the assets businesses need to be successful. A business-friendly tax environment, infrastructure and workforce are just a few of the priorities the chamber strives to develop.

Advocacy on behalf of businesses is a core focus of the chamber. Working with city, state, county and federal government leaders, our chamber promotes a pro-business legal and regulatory environment in which business can grow and thrive. The chamber's Small Business Council is instrumental in identifying key business issues, such as taxes and workers compensation, that guide advocacy efforts.

We're ever vigilant in looking out for your business, but you set our agenda. You also participate in events that take you into government halls. You set the agenda for our governmental relations and participate in events that affect your business and your home. We unify the voices of our business leaders to influence policy.

Business Development Committee
Serves as a think tank for new initiatives to help members grow their businesses through education and opportunities to make business connections. Plans and develops the new "Ask the Expert" series of events.

Economic Development
The Upper Arlington City Improvement Corporation (UACIC) accomplishes its mission by building partnerships, identifying and evaluating economic development opportunities, making recommendations to city officials and advocating for and participating in projects that bring economic vitality to the community. By having a well thought-out economic development program in place, as well as leaders who believe in the importance of economic growth, Upper Arlington is poised to continue its legacy of providing an excellent quality of life to residents, employees, and business owners alike.

Together the UACIC and the Upper Arlington Area Chamber of Commerce work together on business expansion and retention, collaborating to establish a division on labor and business development assistance and business resources.

Entrepreneurship Program
Students enrolled in the entrepreneurship and management class at Upper Arlington High School are participating again this year in a business plan competition. Students are asked to create an idea for a start-up business and will complete all the necessary steps to form a business plan based on their idea. The top three to six proposals at the end of the semester will be honored at the Upper Arlington Area Chamber of Commerce Business Expo dinner Jan. 30 at Hastings Middle School.

To help create an authentic learning experience for the students, local members of the Upper Arlington business community are volunteering their time and expertise to serve as mentors throughout the semester to the 17 students in the class.

Finance Committee
This committee works to evaluate and improve the chamber's financial standing. It meets twice a year.

Golf Classic Committee
This committee plans and administers the annual Golf Classic, including soliciting sponsors, collecting door prizes and promoting the event. It meets May through September.

Leadership UA
Leadership UA creates positive change in the Upper Arlington area by inspiring, developing and connecting leaders dedicated to enhancing the quality of life within our community. Established in 1988, Leadership UA provides programs that strengthen leadership skills, broaden understanding of local issues and connect participants with others in the community. The Upper Arlington Area Chamber of Commerce, City of Upper Arlington, Upper Arlington City Schools and the Upper Arlington Public Library are working together in partnership to help create strong leaders.

Master Minds Alliance Group
Join the chamber's Master Minds Alliance Group and become a trusted adviser. This group of like-minded people meets on a regular basis to combine their perspectives and experience and generate truly creative ways to reach a specific goal. These goals could include business success, a charitable project or solving a specific problem. In business, this can be a vital resource. Other benefits of group membership include:

A trusted group of advisers A team of people promoting member business and referring business to you A sounding board and brainstorming team Offer best practices and tips for dealing with business situations Access to their contacts

Membership Committee
The Membership Committee of the Upper Arlington Area Chamber of Commerce continuously works to develop new initiatives that strengthen our business community. The chamber and its members rely on your participation and support to guide our efforts. More than ever before, the chamber is a sound business investment. The chamber is working hard to increase the value of your investment (ROI).

Nominating Committee
Chaired by the first vice-chairman, this committee selects candidates for the board of trustees. It meets monthly.

Older Adult Life Care Resource Group Committee
This committee focuses on programs geared toward supporting the needs of community seniors.

Public Relations Committee
Marketing and communications professionals on this committee help promote the chamber and its programs. It meets monthly.

Retail Committee
This committee meets once a month and works to maintain a year-round "shop local" awareness campaign via a partnership between the city of Upper Arlington and the Upper Arlington Area Chamber of Commerce. The purpose is to encourage Upper Arlington residents to show support for the retail and service companies in the community by using these services whenever possible. In 2010, the retail committee will launch a program that focuses on driving more traffic in the door of local businesses.

Taste of UA
Members for this committee begin planning in March for the chamber's largest annual event, the Taste of Upper Arlington. Meets February through August. Planning this annual community fair/business trade show takes a lot of coordination and promotion from this committee. The Taste is a showcase for all member businesses and a chance for the chamber to interact with the community. The event features food from local restaurants and caterers, and annually attracts more than 12,000 people and 120 exhibitors.

Upper Arlington School Finance Advisory Council
This committee works to help the schools continue to be fiscally responsible and help fulfill the district's mission and objectives for all of the stakeholders in this remarkable, award-winning school district.
If you're interested in contributing to a committee or creating a new one, please call the chamber office at (614) 481-5710.

The Power to Make a Difference!