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Sunday, Jun 4, 2023

One Chamber Has Appeal In Survey

The results of the Business Journal’s quarterly leadership survey are in and while most respondents praised the local chamber community, the concept of having one or two large Valley chambers rather than several smaller ones was popular. Additionally, respondents were split on the question of whether or not their chamber does a good job of recruiting new members. Each quarter, the Business Journal surveys local business leaders on a different business topic. Focused on chambers of commerce, this particular survey elicited 45 responses from 300 initial queries. The polling data revealed that the majority of the respondents came from small businesses, were above 51 years old and belonged to more than one chamber. Fifty-three percent had served as a chamber board member and/or officer at some point. 46 percent did not attend chamber events on a regular basis. 80 percent felt that their chamber dues were reasonably priced while only 51 percent believed that they got their money’s worth from their chamber. Fifty-five 55 percent believed that their chamber was well-run and 42 percent of all survey respondents said that they supported the “one chamber” solution, with 31 percent voting no and 17 percent having no opinion. Only 17 percent of all survey-takers believed that their chamber does a good job of recruiting new members, with 17 percent saying that they felt the chamber did not do a good recruitment job and another 17 percent saying they had no opinion. Finally, 22 percent of respondents felt that the main thing that chambers needed to provide more of was legislative affairs. Martin M. Cooper, the chairman of public relations and marketing relations firm, Cooper Beavers Inc. discussed the process of conducting the survey. “Our company compiled a list of approximately 300 San Fernando Valley business leaders from across the area. We talked to big and small companies from a list that we update sporadically to ensure that it is current with the times,” Cooper said. Attorney Gerald E. Curry was one of the people surveyed by Cooper Beavers. A member and past president of the Woodland Hills Chamber of Commerce, Curry believes that he gets his money’s worth from his chamber membership. “I absolutely get my money’s worth. I first joined in 1983 and was just starting to practice law and meet contacts and meet people for business,” Curry said. Immediately, I got business from my connection with the chamber. Over the years, as I got to know more and more people, I got a lot more referrals. It was worth the time and the investment.” Seeking membership in a body more focused on legislative affairs, George Stavaris, the associate vice president of commercial real estate firm Collier Seeley International Inc., opted not to join a chamber, instead he joined and currently serves on the VICA board. “I don’t think that the chambers do a good enough job of enticing businesses. Businesspeople usually say ‘what’s in it for me.’ They see the costs and they see some of the intangibles of meeting people and networking, but people are frustrated that they can’t put a number to its benefit,” Stavaris said. “VICA is involved heavily in legislative affairs and that was more of the arm that I was looking to be involved in.” While many of those surveyed felt that there should be one Valley chamber, Jay Aldrich takes a contrarian viewpoint. The tourism and public relations director for the Autry National Center believes that the Valley already has similar organizations. “I disagree with the one chamber concept. There are specific organs like the Valley Economic Alliance and VICA that take care of that. Additionally, the UCC serves similar functions, as well as helping local businesses and forming partnerships with the Alliance, VICA, the VEDC and the chambers,” Aldrich said.

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