Wendy’s Water Cooler Chat

Hillary JonesACPA News, Water Cooler Chat

Wendy-Jo Toyama, MBA, CAE headshot

Wendy-Jo Toyama, MBA, CAE

When I started working at ACPA, I quickly became active in the Chapel Hill Chamber of Commerce. Chambers typically provide member benefits and local networking opportunities. The Chapel Hill Chamber is a vibrant and active chamber. Last month I attended “the” event of the year, the “State of the Community” breakfast. Many local government officials and business people attended to learn about social, environmental, and economic indicators about the health of our community. I was joined at my table by Congressman David Price.

Through various chamber activities, we have raised our profile locally. We were highlighted as the nonprofit spotlight in 2015, won a free booth at The Business Expo in 2017, and just this week our Wonder screening was included in an email to members.The Chamber has also helped us make connections to spread awareness – with the Mayor’s office for a proclamation and the local radio station to record public service announcements. It was through the Chamber that I first learned of the Executive Service Corps of the Triangle (ESC), an organization that provides professional, affordable non-profit consulting to area nonprofits to help them fulfill their missions. ACPA has engaged ESC consultants on a few projects with positive results, including the creation of a development plan and assistance during the merger.

Last month I played in the Chamber golf outing, and I was randomly paired with a retired commercial realtor whose family owns a local haberdashery, his adult son who manages the shop, and a local arts nonprofit executive. All three were longtime, local families, and none had heard of ACPA. More importantly, the father has a cousin who was born with a cleft and whose child was also born with a cleft. It was a personal and powerful opportunity to share our work with patients and families with a local leader, who had no idea that the national headquarters is in his backyard.

It is hard to imagine where we would be without the support of our local chamber. I would encourage you to see what your own chamber is doing in your community. There might be a future partnership in the making.