Congratulations, Young Professional of the Year, Murray Devine!

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The Sarasota Young Professionals Group, a program of the Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce, is proud to announce Murray Devine as the Young Professional of the Year announced at the YPG Summit: Thrive hosted at USF Sarasota-Manatee on July 21.

This award, which in years’ past has been announced at The Chamber’s Annual Small Business Awards, recognizes a young professional in the Sarasota region that has demonstrated outstanding leadership personally, professionally, and in our community.

About Murray Devine:

Murray Devine is the Manager of Communications and Marketing at the Community Foundation of Sarasota County, overseeing the Foundation’s communications, media relations, social media, and marketing efforts for the last three years. He also directs the branding, strategic communications, and promotional efforts for the Giving Challenge, which benefits more than 600 local non-profit organizations, as well as Season of Sharing, which provides a safety-net for families living under the threat of homelessness. Originally born and raised in South Africa, Murray has been proud to be able to call Sarasota his home for the last 14 years. Murray believes in the power of results-based, strategic communications and storytelling to build movements and drive positive social change in communities. Through his work, Murray most enjoys telling the various stories of good things happening in our region and being able to give back to the community.


The 2017 YPG Summit: “Thrive” and the Young Professional of the Year Award is presented by Kerkering, Barberio & Co. Additional Sponsors include Observer Media Group as Media Sponsor; Community Foundation of Sarasota County as Foundation Partner; Boars Head Provisions Company, Cowork SRQ, and MagnifyGood as Track Sponsors; Willis Smith Construction and TriNet as Gold Sponsors; and Allegiant Private Advisors, BB&T, and Sarasota Ford as Silver Sponsors.

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From the Chair’s Corner: Small Business is Big Business

The Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce is committed to the support of business in

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Chair | George McGonagill | Questar Construction

the greater Sarasota region. As is common in most communities, your Chamber is certainly reflective of the community that invests in it. For Sarasota, that means that your Chamber is comprised mainly of businesses that carry less than 75 full-time employees. In fact, 80% of your membership is made up of those businesses.

Having worked for one of the largest employers in the region, Sarasota County Schools, and now as an entrepreneur with a small business, Questar Construction, I can say with certainty that the Chamber strongly supports the full spectrum of business sizes here in our area. However, it is the small business that drives so much of the economic engine in Sarasota and within your Chamber. It may come as a surprise to many that more than 60% of businesses in the United States have less than five employees. Furthermore, over 30% of workers in the United States are employed by businesses with less than 100 employees.

To be certain, regardless of size, business isn’t an easy endeavor. However, it is the small-business start-up that perhaps best embodies the spirit of entrepreneurialism. Roughly half of all small businesses will close within their first four years. That alone may speak to the importance of community support for small business. Those making the trek forward are our friends, family, and neighbors. It is critical for all layers of the community to support their efforts in hopes that our half is the half that succeeds, that our community be the place where small business beats the average. That’s not just something that would be nice, it is something we should strive for.

The Chamber is focused on promoting, supporting, and connecting the small businesses in our region. We are proud to include our annual Small Business Awards as a bridge across the entire spectrum of activities within those areas of focus. As we look to celebrating excellence in the small business community, I am always reminded of the fact that small business is big business in Sarasota. While your Chamber takes the opportunity to award small business excellence one day each year, it provides support for those businesses non-stop, all year long.

George McGonagill

Chair of The Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors

President of Questar Construction, Inc.


The 2017 Frank G. Berlin, Sr. Small Business Awards will take place on Friday, June 2 at the Hyatt Regency Sarasota. The event is presented by The Herald-Tribune Media Group.

Save Your Seat for Small Business Awards!

Welcome Megan Neal & Darlene Martin to The Chamber Team!

We are pleased to announce the addition of two new staff members to The Chamber Team! 

Megan Neal croppedMegan Neal joins us as our new Membership & Events Coordinator. Megan will assist the Membership Team as the go-to person for your event and member related questions. She is the friendly face you will see at registration and at our upcoming networking events. Raised in Sarasota, she spent most of her days growing up on our gorgeous Gulf beaches and is a graduate of the University of South Florida. Outside of her professional pursuits, she spends her time writing, enjoying time with her wonderful husband, traveling to her favorite Disney parks, and being a proud aunt to 17 beautiful nieces and nephews.

“As a true Sarasotan, it’s rewarding to be at the forefront of the growth and development that is flourishing throughout our amazing community. I am grateful to have the opportunity to serve an organization that truly looks towards bringing together a greater good within our city and am excited to dive into my role here at the Chamber!”

You can contact Megan at mneal@sarasotachamber.com or (941) 556-4031.


Darlene Martin croppedDarlene Martin joins us as our new Membership Investment Representative, responsible for bringing in new Chamber members. Hailing from New York originally and growing up in Atlanta, GA. Darlene is a graduate of Kennesaw State University in Georgia with an associate’s degree in Business Administration and comes to us with over two decades of sales and business-to-business experience working to increase value to customers. She resides in the Sarasota/Bradenton area and enjoys the beaches, water and practicing hot yoga for the past 5 years.

“From being a member of The Chamber in my past role, I am excited to be an ambassador in the community to new and existing businesses in the Greater Sarasota area!”

You can contact Darlene at dmartin@sarasotachamber.com or (941) 556-4029.


Please join us in welcoming Megan & Darlene to The Chamber team. We are excited to have both of them onboard!

Congratulations Scott Rimmer, Ambassador of the Quarter!

Congratulations to Scott Rimmer, our Ambassador of the Quarter!

Scott Rimmer is an Advisor with SVN Commercial Advisory Group specializing in the lease and sale of industrial properties throughout Sarasota, Manatee and Charlotte Counties with a focus on helping companies expand or relocate in Florida. He also handles othOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAer commercial property types such as Office and Retail.

Prior to joining SVN, Scott was Vice President of Business Attraction for the Economic Development Corporation of Sarasota County (EDC), a public/private partnership focused on growing and diversifying the economy of Sarasota County. At the EDC, Scott helped companies of all sizes relocate and expand in the area requiring a strong knowledge of the local commercial real estate environment, the regulations and many benefits affecting businesses and their owners in Florida, and the incentives offered to companies by State and Local government.

Earlier in his career, Scott held senior executive positions with JPMorgan, State Street Bank & Trust Company, Siemens, and Digital Equipment Corporation (now Hewlett-Packard). Scott uses his extensive knowledge of the corporate environment, and the many industries he became knowledgeable about while working at these firms, to better serve his clients in the decision-making process.

Scott moved to the City of Sarasota in 2003 from Boston and enjoys sailing, surfing, and other Suncoast activities with his wife, Rita.  He is a graduate of the Rochester Institute of Technology.

Congratulations, Scott! We greatly appreciate the dedication that you give to The Chamber and to the Ambassadors. His knowledge of the community and engagement with the Chamber Ambassadors, welcoming and on-boarding of new members makes him a great representative of The Chamber. Thank you, Scott, & keep up the awesome work!


Interested in being a Chamber Ambassador?

Contact Craig McGonigal at (941) 556-4034 or cmcgonigal@sarasotachamber.com, for more information on The Chamber Ambassadors program.

Get The MOST Out Of Chamber Expo

As we near Chamber Expo 2016, the largest “Business After Hours” in the area, in partnership with the Manatee Chamber of Commerce, exhibitors and attendees, alike, want to know how to get the most out of the trade show. Here are a few ways to get involved in Chamber Expo.

Exhibitors:

You’ve registered, put it on your calendar and are now preparing your booth and attend. Now what? We are here to give you some tips and feel free to use this as your checklist for the event.

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1. Get your pitch down.

Use your pitch to engage the attendees. You may have a demo or giveaways but don’t let that distract from what you’re really there to do, make connections! But, it is recommended to have a give away to invite attendees to drop off business cards for you to follow up on later.

2. Make your booth inviting.

Don’t over pack your booth with lots of inventory and large items. Leave room for people to engage with you. Try placing your table on the side or in the back of your allotted space to invite them in. And visually, sometimes, less is more with a clean, simple booth that is eye-catching. Plan it out beforehand in your office space with tape on the floor if you need!

 

3. Cut costs & not corners – know when to embellish.

When planning for a trade show, make sure you are investing in materials that you can use for the long haul that will save you money over time.

4. Follow up and evaluate.

Made some new contacts from Chamber Expo? Make sure to follow up with those people! Look for opportunities to share upcoming news on your business. Following up with those you’ve made connections with isn’t just about closing the sale, it’s about determining your return on investment. Think about referrals, retail leads, media hits, etc.

Haven’t registered for your booth yet?

Hurry, there are only a few spaces left. Contact Brittany Lamont to secure your booth today.

Attendees:

Network.

This is why you are there! Talk to everyone – even on the way to the restroom. A simple “hello” and being nice can go a long way. Meet your neighboring booths and exhibitors because you never know when or where your next referral may come from.

For Exhibitors: Don’t leave your booth unattended, you may miss your best future customer!

Engage With Exhibitors.

Drop off your business cards with exhibitors and engage with demos. Make meaningful connections with businesses across two counties! After the Expo, make sure to follow up with those you have connected with.

 


We hope that you have found this article helpful in attending & exhibiting at Chamber Expo 2016, hosted by The Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce and the Manatee Chamber of Commerce. To attend, there is a $5 entrance fee at the door.

Chamber Expo 2016
November 9, 2016 | 5 p.m. – 8 p.m.
Bradenton Area Convention Center
One Haben Boulevard
Palmetto, Florida 34221

Sponsored by: Sam’s Club

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Visit SarasotaChamber.com for the most up-to-date Chamber Events.

Welcoming Chair of the Board, George McGonagill

As I begin my year as Chair of the Board I want to first off thank Lisa Krouse for her

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Chair | George McGonagill | Questar Construction

leadership as Chair of the Board this past year.

The Chamber has come to mean so much more to us: from readying our workforce for the jobs of tomorrow to preparing our future leaders to engage in this community. I am honored to be this year’s incoming Chair of the Board. I know I have — “tall heel”s — to fill. I want to take a moment to thank our volunteer leadership, in particular, our Executive Committee, who has diligently and wisely guided our Chamber to this point, and whose support I will continue to rely on in this coming year.

The goal has been clear. To leave the Chamber in the strongest position possible to move forward with its new President. The team that will be supporting our new President is dedicated, knowledgeable and just chomping at the bit to create new opportunities to represent, support and be responsive to our members’ needs.

Our adoption of Chamber membership tiers will transform the way we deliver benefits and services for our members. Customized. Resonant. Relevant. It’s complex, not complicated, and in the best possible way. This new framework will ultimately allow each member to get the most of what they want out of their membership and maximize unique growth opportunities for their business.

I look forward to working with each of our members, volunteers, and staff to continue to bring benefits and support to our members and the community.

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George McGonagill

2016-2017 Chair of the Board

The Downtown Beat with Norm Gollub

In today’s feature, we invite you to get to know our Downtown Economic Development Coordinator, Norm Gollub.

Norm Gollub (2)There’s no shortage of community organizations to join in Sarasota. If fact, there is an organization to satisfy just about any interest a person may have. You name it, flowers, singing, woodworking, the environment, politics, whatever your fancy may be. Of course, for obvious reasons my favorite organization is The Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce. That’s because I work there! But aside from that, it’s a fantastic location for me to be based out of to do my work as Downtown Economic Development Coordinator. It provides me with excellent access to the business community through its many councils and activities. It enables me to become involved in a variety of initiatives that affect businesses and residents alike. Then there are the not so obvious reasons why I like this organization, such as having a great staff to work with. I can honestly say that this is a group of people that strive to work together as a team and they do a great job of it. Plus, they don’t even mind my wry sense of humor. Continue reading “The Downtown Beat with Norm Gollub”