Recently, the Midway Chamber of Commerce held a retreat for our board of directors. We are like many nonprofit organizations, where we have staff and also a dedicated group who serve in a volunteer capacity on our board. The board of directors help set the direction and priorities of the chamber while staff manage the daily operations. Our board consists of a good mix of people from different backgrounds, skill sets, and industries. At our retreat, thanks to our ice breaker activity, we even found out some know how to juggle, have served in the military, or been at their current employer for over 20 years. Nobody has ever lived on a farm or is an only child, though.
The retreat was a good time for us to re-evaluate our strategic directives to better serve our members and the Midway community. We created our current five strategic directives in 2019: Careers, Community, People, Commerce, and Environment. While that was only three years ago, in some ways it feels like a long time ago when you consider everything which has occurred since March 2020.
We looked back on the past three years at the successes but also the areas we need to improve. And we also looked at how we would continue to adapt to show value of chamber membership and that we are a strong community partner with the Midway’s interests in mind. Here are some take-aways from our retreat.
Defining the Midway narrative.
Three years ago we had set out to define the Midway in the hopes of selling it as a great place to live, work, and play. We aimed to highlight the positives that attract people here. While we continue to do so, we also have realized everyone values something different and we should let people define their own narrative. For many, the location in the middle of the Twin Cities with transit is part of their narrative and reason to locate here. For others, it is the diverse cultures found here. We should enhance those viewpoints rather than merely define it ourselves.
More community outreach.
In 2019 our board and staff made a point to meet with many different community leaders. They were people from the nonprofit, multi-cultural, religious, and neighborhood communities, to name just a few. Some we already knew, but many we didn’t and wanted to learn more about their priorities for the Midway. The meetings were beneficial and wanted to have ongoing meetings, but the pandemic made it difficult. The time is right to reconnect with some partners and meet new acquaintances.
While we aren’t necessarily going to define the narrative, we can and have been listening to concerns and we want to do what we can to help. We know many are concerned about perceptions in public safety, how can we help educate others and help them realize how to better keep themselves safe? For many employers, they struggle with staffing and ways to save costs. What educational opportunities can we share with them?
We discussed many ways to help build a stronger Midway, and the points above will be included in our efforts. In a way, we all juggle as we try to balance our lives and show our pride in our community.
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