The Chamber Lenoir 2020 committee comprised of a diverse group of community leaders continues to identify unmet needs. This comprehensive plan was adopted for the coming year based on those results along with board member and staff input. In addition, the Chamber of Commerce is expanding its efforts to promote the value of chamber membership along with a positive business, education and community image campaign through traditional methods plus and a variety of social media platforms.
2018 Chairperson Tonya Adams identified the following as a priority this year:
“As chairperson of 2018 ….I would like to hi-light our Chamber’s services, our community and our valued member’s products and services through enhanced social media platforms.”
With that said, the Kinston-Lenoir County Chamber of Commerce 2018 Program of Work is presented as follows:
Treasurer and Vice President of Financial Affairs: Lara Lang-Tribula, State Employees Credit Union
Staff: Laura Lee Sylvester, President and Brandon Donaldson, Director of Finance & Operations
Committee members include the Board Chair, Chair-elect, and Past Chair.
-Monitor the Chamber’s growth and financial accountability practices to ensure that procedures are revised and/or added as required.
-Track the budget closely to determine if mid-year revisions are needed.
-Continue to add to the Chamber’s money market reserve as in the previous years.
-Build on the success of last year’s Chamber Champions and Enhanced member listings, revenue producing programs.
-Invite additional members to join the President’s Club, a program of financial support for the year’s mission-related projects. President’s Club members will be recognized year-long as strong supporters of the Chamber’s well-defined goals.
Vice President of Membership Services: Jackie Elmore, Sugar Hill Pizzeria
Chairperson: Christa Davis, Wells Fargo
Staff: Erin Passailaigue, Director of Membership Services and Programs
Membership Services is responsible to the Board of Directors for activities and projects that will increase the Chamber’s membership and retain its current membership.
-Membership Services Committee:
In 2017 Membership Services continued working on a membership retention program. This multi-tiered program will touch new members and existing members several times a year to provide easy to understand membership benefits in order for them to value their membership and eliminate any hesitation to renew. The program has been modified for 2018 with a more targeted strategy.
In 2018 we hope to build a group of 20 to 25 active Ambassadors. Ambassadors are asked to select five Chamber businesses that will become their business buddies for the year. Each month, at the regular ambassador meeting, ambassadors will choose three to four renewals business to visit as a courtesy call. They will continue to assist with Ribbon Cuttings, Business Before and After Hours, and other events.
Each year membership development is a top priority. The Director of Membership Services has monthly/annual goals to increase the number of new members to meet our projected budget. The membership steering committee members will assist. Quarterly New Member Mixers will be added in 2018.
The retention program will communicate membership benefits to our members throughout the year. If done effectively this should result in a higher rate of membership renewals. New strategies will be implemented by the Director of Membership Services and Programs, the President, and the membership steering committee.
–Membership Services Office Duties:
Maximize your Membership (MYM) one-on-one and group membership benefits sessions will be offered to all new members and existing members as needed. Additional touch points about membership benefits will be conveyed to all our members.
Enhanced directory listings will be offered to members as a way to maximize their online presence on the Chamber’s website.
Continue to co-sponsor workshops and seminars designed to benefit the Chamber memberships in conjunction with the Small Business Center at Lenoir Community College.
Vice President of Special Projects: Dan Sale, Sale Auto Mall
Staff: Laura Lee Sylvester, President and Jan Parson, Director of Events and Erin Passailaigue, Director of Membership Services and Programs.
Special Projects is responsible to the Board of Directors for activities and special projects that give Chamber members an opportunity to network with other members and make valuable new business contacts. In addition, these activities generate non-dues income for the Chamber.
The Special Projects Committee oversees and works on the Chamber’s larger events and programs. They also determine if a new event or program meets the criteria of the mission of the Chamber.
2018 Signature Events include: Annual Awards Presentation, BBQ Festival on the Neuse, and ENC Food, Brew n’ Que Fest.
Vice President of Governmental Affairs: Craig Hill, Lenoir County Commissioner
Staff: Laura Lee Sylvester, President
Governmental Affairs is responsible to the Board of Directors for activities and projects that address public policy issues that affect the business climate and business community of Kinston and Lenoir County. In addition, these activities will inform the Chamber membership of identified public policy issues and solicit input from the Chamber membership in regards to their own concerns.
The Governmental Affairs Committee follows a procedure to identify and monitor issues relevant to Chamber members. Ongoing discussions with City, County and State officials will increase awareness and build relationships. The goal is to work as partners for the betterment of our community.
Special Projects include:
-Wake-Up Lenoir series offering the opportunity to dialogue with our City, County and State government officials and community leaders on topics relevant to the business community.
-Involvement in the NC Eastern Alliance Chamber Executives Legislative Agenda
-Identification, education, and involvement with local issues
-Increase support for public education
-Ongoing communication with our State Representatives about legislative issues affecting our membership
-Participation in the Lenoir County Transportation Committee
Vice President of Diversity Affairs: Courtney Patterson., Kinston Community Health Center
Staff: Laura Lee Sylvester, President
The Diversity Affairs Committee is an extension of the Chamber of Commerce that works to identify and pursue projects that will result in developing and expanding the economic prosperity of diverse businesses within Kinston and Lenoir County.
In 2013, the Chamber’s Lenoir 2020 Committee identified the need for a community lead Human Relations Committee. In 2014, the Chamber, with the help of City and County government, formed the Human Relations Council which acts independently of the Chamber. The appointed group will be responsible for promoting equal opportunity and fair treatment among our residents. As we move forward, the VP of Diversity Affairs with be the liaison between the Council and the Chamber reporting council activities to the Chamber’s Board of Directors. The Chamber Board may also make suggestions or inquires to the Council through the VP of Diversity Affairs.
Vice President of Agri-Business: Tammy Kelly, Lenoir County Cooperative Extension Service
Staff: Laura Sylvester, President and Jan Parson, Director of Events
Agri-Business is responsible to the Board of Directors for activities and projects that address Agri-Business and the Farming Business Community and associated industry. In addition, these activities should promote increased membership and participation in the Chamber from this sector of the business community.
The Agri-Business Committee will review and define its goals and mission. This committee will consider new projects as they communicate with various agri-businesses, educational institutions, and organizations (i.e. Farm Bureau, Farm Credit Services, Cunningham Research Farm, etc.).
Other possible projects include:
-Chamber involvement and support of the annual Coastal Plains Livestock Show & Sale
-Enhance the Got to Be NC involvement at the BBQ Festival on the Neuse
-Farmers Market Season Opening Celebration, special events, Business After Hours, and year-long e-post updates and newsletter
-Encourage Tourism Development Authority to develop an assortment of Explore Lenoir Agri Tours
-Strengthen Agri-Tourism awareness through Tourism Development Authority and visitkinston.com
-Help public officials and business leaders to realize that promotion of local farm products is good public policy and local economic development.
Vice President of Community Development: Molly Taylor, Partnership for Children Lenoir Greene Counties
Staff: Laura Lee Sylvester, President and Brandon Davis, Marketing and Outreach Coordinator
Community Development is responsible to the Board of Directors for activities and projects which lead towards improvement of the physical and environmental elements of the community so that it will become a better and more attractive place in which to live, work, shop, and invest.
The Chamber is partnering with other local groups with similar goals to work collaboratively towards positive outcomes.
Possible projects considered for 2018 are:
-Eleventh annual Livability of Kinston-Lenoir County website update and advertising opportunities
-Update Chamber’s website to be the community’s visitor, relocation, and economic information resource destination
Lenoir 2020 mission: To convince businesses and industries located here to expand their existing operations and recruit new businesses and industries to locate here. To make our city and county attractive to diverse group of residents, visitors and new comers of all generations so they and those who work and manage our businesses and industries choose to live, shop and prosper here.
In 2012, community leaders examined topics critical to economic growth in Lenoir County. The group reconvened Lenoir 2020 in 2016 and continued its work to identify gaps that were prioritized such as: education, public safety housing and amenities, technology, infrastructure, energy and internet, transportation, jobs, tourism and religion. The committee will continue to prioritize issues and examine solutions in an effort to support local economic growth and sustainability.
Business and Tourism Development
Vice President of Business and Tourism Development: Patrick Holmes, Lenoir County Public Schools
Staff: Jan Parson, Director of Events/Assistant Executive Director Tourism Development Authority and Brandon Davis, Marketing and Outreach Coordinator.
The Business and Tourism Development Committee’s responsibility is to work towards improving the total economy, specifically directed toward commercial, retail and industrial development while supporting agriculture and tourism.
The mission of this committee will be to achieve economic growth for our community through quality of life and business development as well as tourism development.
Projects for 2018 include:
-Update the TLC (Think Lenoir County) program encouraging local shopping and purchasing of services and create a coalition of participating Lenoir County businesses that can, as a group, take advantage of opportunities to advertise under the TLC banner.
-Continue the Red Carpet Gift Card program that welcomes individuals relocating to our community by presenting them with a welcome gift card package. Expand the catalogue of participating businesses and promote this program to HR Managers, Realtors and the public.
-Create awareness with Human Resource managers, realtors and the public about the importance of a live locally program. Work with Committee of 100 on updating the ExecuStay list of available temporary housing to be available to HR managers.
-Be the link for the Chamber’s administration of the Tourism Development Authority (TDA) and VisitKinston.com and the delivery of services as mandated by legislation and the agreement between the TDA and the Kinston-Lenoir County Chamber of Commerce
-Partner with TDA to offer ongoing Explore Lenoir Bus Tours for community/government leaders, hospitality industry employees and business owners.
-Work closely with Lenoir County Economic Development as opportunities arise.
Manufacturing and Industry
Vice President of Manufacturing and Industry: Mike Afarian, Field Controls.
Staff: Laura Lee Sylvester, President
The Manufacturing and Industry Committee is responsible to the Board of Directors for activities and projects that address the manufacturing sector of the business community and associated industry. In addition, these activities should promote increased membership and participation in the chamber from this sector of the business community.
-Provide manufacturers a list of Chamber benefits that is quick and easy to read and inform them on how the Chamber can benefit their employees. Also provide an updated list of temporary housing for their new employees.
-Work closely with the Lenoir County Manufacturers Association (LCMA)
-Offer relocation packages and the Red Carpet program to all manufacturers
-Communicate to HR directors the wealth of local information on the Chamber’s Livability website
-Continue to work with Lenoir County Economic Development, and Lenoir Committee of 100
Young Professionals of Lenoir County
Vice President of Young Professionals of Lenoir County, Richy Huneycutt, Lenoir Community College
Chairperson: Kristy Harrell, CIC Financial
Staff: Erin Passailaigue, Director of Membership Services and Programs
This Chamber-sponsored group mission is to connect with young professionals, enrich their lives through leadership development, and empower them to be the leaders of tomorrow.
-The ultimate goal for YPLC will be to cultivate a diverse leadership group that will benefit the Kinson/Lenoir County community by offering programs and activities that address professional development, social networking, personal growth, community outreach, and mentoring.
-Reignite active participation by developing a hard calendar of events that balance community service projects, professional development, team building skills, and most importantly, fun.
-Connect YPLC with Kinston Teens & Rotaract to build a bridge of support and work together towards common goals.
-Provide the opportunity to connect with alumni business owners in the Kinston Lenoir County community in order to provide mentorship and professional development to young professionals.
-Market and promote this group with a continued updated web presence on http://www.kinstonchamber.com and through various social media platforms.
Lenoir County Education Foundation
Chairperson: Chamber Chair-elect, Judy Jones, State Farm Insurance, Judy O Jones
Staff: Laura Lee Sylvester President and Brandon Donaldson, Director of Finance & Operations
The Education Committee and Foundation is a catalyst for educational excellence and an improved quality of life in Lenoir County by connecting the business community and all levels of education through related activities and awareness.
-Support and assist the Lenoir County Public School’s vision, mission, and goals.
-Host the Adult Spelling Bee, The SuperBall Golf Tournament and a speaker luncheon event to fund the annual teacher mini grant program.
-Assist the Lenoir County Public School system with Build-a-Backpack project which helps provide school supplies to help children in need.
-Support school’s awareness efforts connecting to community, work force development, and businesses.
-Provide a Junior Leadership Lenoir program in collaboration with all local schools.