Q&A With Acting President Rick Russo
Q: As Acting President, you and your team began the new year with much good news to report last week: the 1,000th enrollee in Brooklyn Healthworks, the Chamber’s health coverage program, and the launch of a new, upgraded website to serve members. Could it be said that services provided by the website alone can justify a small business becoming a member? Does the Chamber send out regular emails to members with updates and links?
A: The Chamber’s slogan is “We’ll Connect You” and we have three distinct pillars through which we help businesses across Brooklyn achieve their goals — promotion, business support and advocacy. These services include our brand new, state of the art Website, networking events, seminars, conferences, and an array of business development programs which all work in tandem to serve our members. Another key asset of the Chamber is the NYC Business Solutions Center, which is a suite of services offered by the New York City Department of Small Business Services including business planning, financing, procurement opportunities, technical assistance, training programs, and more.
Regarding your question, our new Website does offer a plethora of opportunities to members such as listing in our exclusive member directory, increased page views for Chamber members and unparalled networking opportunities.
Additionally, we regularly communicate with members via our monthly newsletter, Brooklyn’s Progress Express, and our bi-monthly newspaper, Brooklyn’s Progress. The Progress reaches 26,000 Brooklyn businesses each issue and offers promotional and advertising opportunities exclusively to Chamber members.
Q: Another service that we have seen work very effectively for new members is the series of business networking events sponsored by the Chamber. Can you give us some examples of a couple of upcoming events that you recommend any business owner should attend?
A: We’ve started a new series that has been very well received, Monthly Member Roundtable, which addresses a wide variety of topics in a focused, intimate format. Our next Roundtable will take place on February 23rd and is titled, The Aging Family: How Caregiving Affects Your Bottom Line. Our Annual Black History Month Celebration returns to the Akwaaba Mansion in Bedford-Stuyvesant on Feb. 28. We are delighted to be honoring Pamela Green of the Weeksville Heritage Center, the landscape architect Elizabeth Kennedy and the Magnolia Tree Earth Center. For an overview of Brooklyn Chamber programs, we encourage individuals to attend the Member Orientation on March 1st at the Brooklyn Business Library. All of these upcoming events, and others, are listed on www.ibrooklyn.com, where one can also join the Chamber.
Q: Small business owners benefit greatly from the lobbying efforts of the Chamber, both on state and national levels. How do individual members let the Chamber know what is important to them?
A: The Brooklyn Chamber conducts a survey wherein members identify the most pressing issues to the Brooklyn business community. The Chamber also has an active Government Affairs Committee which brings these concerns to the attention of our elected officials during two annual lobbying trips, to Albany and Washington, DC. Our aggressive advocacy agenda also includes communications outreach, research, surveys, testimony before elected officials, and much more.
The Chamber is on the move!