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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Congratulations, Janet & Sharon as Ambassadors of the Quarter!

Congratulations, Janet Arena!

Janet Arena HeadshotJanet was born in Philadelphia.  Lived most of her youth on a farm in Bucks County. Went to Penn State—majored in business education. Very active in a service sorority, cheerleading, and the theater. Went on to Pittsburgh where she taught two years before going to Dar es Salaam, Tanzania in East Africa where she taught business procedures to government employees. While there, she took the challenge of climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro which she did in three days—19,340 feet (with no oxygen).

Came back to the U.S. where she taught at Suffolk Community College and Nassau Community College on Long Island. At the same time, she completed her Master’s Degree at Columbia University.

Janet moved to Connecticut where she accepted the position of Chairperson of the three high schools in Milford, CT. In 1979, she became President and co-owner of Stone Academy, a business and medical training post-secondary institute.

She moved to Florida in 2003. After working at various jobs throughout the area, she accepted the position in the Marketing Department at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall. She is presently involved in various committees for four Chambers, ushers at seven venues, house manager at Venice Theater, serves on the Gala Committees for Goodwill, Save Our Seabirds and the American Cancer Society, works Meals on Wheels every Saturday; Vice President of the Penn State Alumni Association; Executive Committee member and treasurer for the Big Ten Alumni Group.


Congratulations, Sharon Litchfield!

 

Sharon Litchfield HeadshotSharon has lived in the Sarasota community for over 40 years and has been married to Andy for 32 years, with one son, Adam, both of which keep her grounded. They have two rescue dogs, Levi and Ziggy, who are inseparable and a joy every day. Sharon enjoys all activities that Sarasota provides, from walking the Ringling Bridge to exploring what downtown has to offer on a regular basis and all the festivals that Sarasota brings to our community. She loves traveling and exploring other areas outside Sarasota and look forward to many fun trips this summer.

Sharon will be celebrating 27 years at one of the finest private golf clubs in Sarasota, FL, home to the Champions TOUR from 1986 through 2001 as part of the PGA TOUR Golf Course Property Inc. clubs for over 17 years at TPC Prestancia in Sarasota.

Sharon’s involvement with The Chamber is extensive as she serves on three different councils within Thc Chamber: Chamber Ambassadors, Member Services & Small Business Support Council, and the Finance Committee.

In 2014, she returned to USFSM to pursue her Masters in Hospitality and Technology Leadership and graduated in April 2017. Her involvement in many fundraising charitable organizations over the past 25 years includes United Way, Susan G. Komen, MDA, BBBS, Southeastern Guide Dogs and Be The Match Foundation as a Registered Bone Marrow Donor.

Sharon’s philosophy that you need to give back to your community and give to those in need to have a meaningful life.


Congratulations, to both Janet & Sharon! We greatly appreciate the dedication that you give to The Chamber and to The Chamber Ambassadors’ program. Janet and Sharon’s longstanding commitment through The Chamber Ambassadors and other Chamber Programs, make them excellent representatives of The Chamber and its’ programs. Thank you & keep up the great work!

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For information on the Chamber Ambassadors program or to join, please contact Megan Neal or Craig McGonigal

Partnering to Build Your Business

The Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce

1945 Fruitville Road | Sarasota, FL 34236

http://www.SarasotaChamber.com

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!

Celebrate the Tropical Way at Hob Nob

hobnob-fb-cover-1Join us at Hob Nob for tropical luau – a member showcase featuring unique cultural experiences from Chamber member businesses. Looking to join in on the fun? Showcase your business or attend and expand your network to over 400 Sarasotans, elected and business officials.

Hob Nob 2017

Thursday, March 23, 2017 |  5 p.m. – 8 p.m.  |  Phillippi Estate Park
5500 S Tamiami Trail  Sarasota, FL 34231

We invite you to get your ticket and join in on the fun and get involved. How?

1.)  Sponsor. Get your name out to the community and in front of our 400 attendees. Receive recognition on all Hob Nob marketing materials, signage at the event and the opportunity to do giveaways at your booth.

2.)  Exhibit. Showcase your business by participating as a Food Booth, decorate your booth like the tropics, hula and all, and provide a food item. This is a great way to meet contacts and make connections.

3.)  Attend. Bring your staff and connect with other attendees while enjoying complimentary food and drink from over a dozen Chamber Member Teams.

Click here to see Sponsorship and Ticketing options!

Live reggae music from Jah Movement Reggae Band!

Jah Movement Reggae Band specializes in the Best top 40 Reggae, Dancehall, Soca, R&B, Funk, Soul and Old School Hip-Hop to keep you dancing and feeling Irie! Jah Movement was recently voted ‘2016 Best Reggae Band‘ by Tampa Bay Creative Loafing ‘Best of the Bay‘ and Sarasota voted lead vocalist, Shantel Norman, ‘Best Entertainer‘ in the Herald-Tribune’s 2016 Reader’s Choice Awards.


Click Here to Register. For more information on Sponsorship Opportunities, please contact Brittany Lamont at blamont@sarasotachamber.com or (941) 556-4040.

Meet Our Members: Kerkering, Barberio & Co.

Future Focused

Since the early 1970s, Kerkering Barberio & Co., CPAs has served the Sarasota community and beyond with the highest quality accounting and business consulting services. From the firm’s earliest days, founding members Dick Kerkering and Allan Barberio knew the importance of serving clients differently, and through their leadership and the guidance of firm leaders following in their footsteps, Kerkering Barberio has grown to be one of the largest locally owned CPA firms in Southwest Florida.

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Beyond guiding clients in the development of their business succession plans, KB Managing Shareholder, Rob Lane, also helps to guide Kerkering Barberio’s next generation of firm leadership. Following extensive “Firm of the Future” studies in 2015, Lane hosts monthly Managing Shareholder luncheons for KB’s up and coming leaders to have an opportunity to weigh-in on the firm’s growth and influence future direction of the Sarasota accounting firm.

Three leaders embracing Kerkering Barberio’s future focus are Patricia Entsminger, Brian Leidel and Heather Williams. Entsminger, a ten-year shareholder, stepped outside of her traditional audit role in 2016 to create a new position, providing an all-inclusive experience for clients looking for guidance in tax, audit, internal controls and CFO outsourcing.

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Admitted as shareholders in 2016, Heather Williams and Brian Leidel are also making an impact in their community and respective areas of expertise. Heather, a recipient of the Chamber’s Young Professional of the Year Award for 2016, offers expertise in individual and business tax consulting with a focus on estate and trust planning, while Brian specializes in individual and business tax consulting with a special concentration in developing new client relationships in the firm’s expanded Tampa office. Heather, Brian, and Patricia are very active in the community and are embracing the opportunity to become Kerkering Barberio’s next generation of leaders.


Learn more about the Kerkering Barberio team at KBGRP.com and follow them on Facebook and Twitter.

Your business or organization could be featured in The Chamber Buzz. “Meet Our Members” is a member spotlight feature on The Chamber Buzz blog and e-newsletter, showcasing our member businesses, their products, and services. To be considered for the spotlight, simply complete this form.

From the President’s Desk: Contact and Connection

 

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Kevin Cooper, President | CEO

There is a significant chasm between contact and connection. However, many times the two are either confused or used synonymously. The key is often that, at least for many service-based organizations, focus and success are dependent on not just contacting but connecting with stakeholders, including both customers and end-users. Confusing a contact with a connection, in this case, can lead one to be misguided or aimless. It is with this understanding that my first 90-days as President|CEO have been largely focused on connecting with as many stakeholders in the Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce as possible.

 

This focus is particularly relevant to chambers of commerce in that we are membership-owned organizations. At its best, The Chamber is little other than a manifestation of the vision that its members have for it.  While that manifestation may not be a measurable goal, it can certainly be linked directly to the achievement of those goals that are measurable. Without a connection to that vision, any hope of properly manifesting it can be lost.

So, what is the difference between a contact and a connection? For me, a contact is made anytime something is done or not done. To be certain, even the absence of something can be a contact. For example, a restauranteur will often pay close attention to what patrons do not order. By not doing something, the patron is creating a point of contact with that restauranteur.

Where a contact becomes a connection is when a response is elicited. Not all responses are positive, but a negative response can be better than a contact absent a connection. Responses can create a loop when the response is directly received by the person who initiated the contact, or an extension when the response is tangential and perhaps even unknown to the person who initiated the contact. In either case, the transition from contact to connection is where opportunity is created. When the restauranteur tweaks a menu based on what patrons are not ordering, an opportunity is created.

Your chamber is in the business of creating opportunities for building value and relationships. In our pursuit to promote, connect, and support your business, we rely on connections to inform us of those opportunities. The challenge, of course, is creating connections with the over 1300 members who invest in the Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce. So, while I’ve been working to connect with as many of you as I can, there is still a long way to go and I hope to ultimately create a continual connection loop whereby the process never ends.

That being the case, my goal for this column was to simply create another point of contact whereby I invite your feedback and the opportunity to meet with you. I excitedly look forward to the connection.


Blog Post by Kevin Cooper, President | CEO of The Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce

4 Ways To Start Your Year Off Right

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As 2017 quickly approaches, don’t let the new year sneak up on you. Now is the perfect time to follow these 4 ways to start the year off right, and take charge of what you are getting out of your Chamber Membership:

1. Update Your Company Profile

Making sure your online presence is current and up-to-date is often a top priority for businesses looking to attract new customers and leads. Here’s a chance to make sure that your Chamber Profile showcases the same. Log in today at SarasotaChamber.com to make those necessary updates so you can start 2017 off right!

2. Post Job Opportunities on The Chamber Job Bank

When we previously surveyed our members, you wanted a way to post job opportunities for job seekers to find. We have it and we want you to use it! Click here to post your Job Opportunities.

3. Submit Your Events Coming In The New Year

Great events need great people. Sharing your events coming up in the new year with your fellow Chamber Members and the community helps you build your visibility with and invite some awesome people who work every day to make Sarasota the place to be. Click here to submit your Events.

4. Share Your Good News With The Press Release Tool

Who doesn’t love good news about our local businesses?! We love bragging about the good deeds, expansions, new hires, etc. that our members do every day. Submit your news through the Member Portal.

In the new year, we want you to be ready for the great opportunities that may come your way and we hope you take this opportunity to prepare for the new year.


If you have forgotten your login information to your Member Portal, please contact Craig McGonigal at cmcgonigal@sarasotachamber.com. For questions on how to take advantage of your online listing, please contact Dillon Buckland at dbuckland@sarasotachamber.com.