While many business people know the mission and programs of the Savannah Area Chamber of Commerce, some have no idea what the organization does, or even worse, they have the wrong idea.
The Chamber is a business organization — not a government agency — compiled of dues-paying members focusing on issues affecting our local and regional commerce community. Our mission is to provide quality customer service and programs that meet the needs of members, improve the economic environment of the community and build a legacy of leadership for the next century.
The Chamber is an essential investment for the future of every business. Its main objectives can be broken down into three categories: networking/exposure for business members, advocacy and tourism.
The Chamber’s events provide members with opportunities to make new contacts, meet potential clients, gain exposure and get educated on trade topics essential to success. We recently surveyed our 2,200 members and found an amazing amount rated the No. 1 benefit of membership as networking provided by the Chamber.
The phrase a “watch dog for business” is often used to describe the Chamber’s approach when handling local, state and federal regulations and legislation affecting the business community.
There are several economic drivers in our region ranging from the local military, who direct $5 billion a year into the local community, to the Georgia Ports, who not only is a major player in the economy of Chatham County but also of the entire state.
Advocacy is of major importance to the business community, although the Chamber’s work in this area is done quietly without much fanfare.
The Chamber’s role in tourism comes through its convention and visitor’s bureau known as Visit Savannah. With more than 12 million tourists spending almost $2 billion annually, tourism is a key piece of the economic pie in our community, making it and Visit Savannah a major priority in the Chamber’s agenda.
From connecting them to the right clients to advocating for policies that foster and advance the business community, the Chamber works on a variety of levels to create a ripe environment for our members to build their companies.
The Ambassador’s Council of the Chamber understands the importance of these objectives, and its members volunteer their time to promote and achieve them. Ambassadors serve as goodwill representatives who work for business and community interests in the Savannah area.
All ambassadors are nominated by current ambassadors, Chamber staff, the board of directors or trustee members. These hard-working volunteers perform a key role in member relations and retention by working as a liaison between the Chamber and the public.
They inform members of ways to maximize their membership by providing information on opportunities and upcoming events. They also inquire about participation and record feedback.
Ambassadors serve as the welcoming committee and helping hands at several special events such as Business Connections, luncheons, ribbon cuttings and other Chamber functions.
Hopefully, by understanding the Chamber’s purpose and taking advantage of the individual and community-wide benefits provided by the organization, businesses can position themselves to succeed in this ever changing economic climate.
Those interested in learning more about becoming a part of the Chamber and Ambassador’s Council should contact me at THinson@SavannahChamber.com or 912-644-6407 or Membership Relations Manager Susan Smith at 912-644-6434 or SSmith@savannahchamber.com in the Chamber’s member services department.
Tina Hinson is the business development manager for the Savannah Area Chamber of Commerce.
CURRENT AMBASSADOR’S COUNCIL MEMBERS:
Sabrina Adkins, Apollo Staffing
Cecilia Arango, Thomas & Hutton Engineering
Allison Arroyave, Anytime Fitness
Jeremy Auker, Savannah Sand Gnats
Debbie Barker, Ambassador Personnel
Jana Biggins, SpringHill Suites Savannah Midtown
Jennie Brewste, The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society
Damien Butler, Derst Baking Company
Jodi Clark, Belfor Property Restoration
Emily Dickinson, Wet Willie’s Management Corp.
Lou Duggins, Comcast Spotlight
Carrie Egerton, Tanger Outlets
Collin Ezzell, FlexiCrew
David Flock , Culligan Water Services
Garth Gabriel, Gulfstream Aerospace
James Gamble, New York Life
Trey Greene, Comcast
Kelly Harley, Chatham Emergency Management Agency
Khristine Hartman, First Data
Lorrian Heard, BB&T
Kym Hogan, Sticky Fingers Catering
Isa Holloway, Coastal Acupuncture
Kristen Hughes, Courtyard Savannah Marriott
Rhett Hutcheson, Savannah Surfaces
Wanda Jackson, Savannah State University
Tal Johnson, Dabbs, Hickman, Hill & Cannon
Anne-Marie Jones, First Citizens Bank
Kim Jones, Sullivan Group/SavannahJobs.com
Preston Laird, Colony Bank
Mandy Livingston, Paula Deen Enterprises
Candis Lott, Saint Leo University
T.C. Madison, III, Liberty Mutual Insurance
Joe Marchese, Marchese Construction
Harris Martin, Bouhan Falligant, LLP
Jim Mathews, Heartland Payment Systems
Chase Mouchet, Alpha Financial Management
Wesley Olliff, Colony Bank
Jerry Onyskiw, Tybee Post Theatre Board-Retired
Christopher Player, Stevens Hale & Associates
Brittany Riddick, Hancock Askew & Co.
Jason Rockwell, Northwestern Mutual Financial Network
Bobby Schorr, Kelly Services
Ryan Sewell, Bernard Williams & Co.
Steve Sherman, Freedom Boat Club & SavannahFitnessPro.com
Kim Standridge, Sapelo Insurance
Mandy Starling, WGSA CW 13
Pat VanHouten, Aerotek
Beth Ann Walker, Spine & Sport
Beth Wasdin, Coastal Center for Developmental Services
Kathy Whitehurst, YMCA of Coastal Georgia
Christopher William, Savannah Technical College