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Chamber Change: What I Learned During My Secondment with the Canadian Chamber
As most people know in the chamber world, people working at chambers are a multi-talented bunch who are thrown into many unique tasks to meet the demanding, diverse needs of our members. The Truro and Colchester Chamber of Commerce, with a membership of about 440, has three staff managing those needs, so like many small chambers, we wear many hats to accomplish our goals.
When the opportunity presented itself to spend a few weeks on a Network Secondment at the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, learning from their playbook and tapping into the vast knowledge of their dedicated staff, it was irresistible.
Arriving with an advocacy wish list to seek help and guidance from the policy team on how to address specific issues that would assist my members, I was welcomed whole-heartedly by the national #TeamChamber. I had also brought with me a list of questions for other departments, corporate relations, human resources, membership, communications, finance, governance and document certification.
After five weeks of intense learning and inclusion in national projects, meetings and events, I returned to my own chamber feeling refreshed and inspired, carrying a full tool box of new ideas and information gleaned from this experience that will have a long-lasting positive impact on my community.
While I was at the Canadian Chamber’s headquarters, we collaborated on an issue which is rooted in my home community but tied to a national policy. To have received that level of support during my secondment was exceptional.
This priceless experience reinforced with me that our voice matters regardless of our size. The Canadian Chamber works for all its members and wants to hear from all chambers on issues relevant to their memberships. Communication needs to continuously flow both ways to benefit everyone and strengthen the network. I look forward to building our relationship and using the new tools in my box to support my members.