Shop Local, Shop Chamber 2018

The holiday season is just around the corner and with that comes the opportunity to support your local businesses as you shop. Here are just a few ways you can shop local and help support Sarasota’s small businesses:

Custom_Social_Post_Image_V2Small Business Saturday

Communities thrive when small businesses succeed. Presented every year by American Express, Small Business Saturday follows Thanksgiving on Saturday, November 24. Support your fellow Chamber members on Saturday, November 24 by shopping local. Whether you’re downtown or searching around the many shopping plazas in Sarasota, there are plenty of small businesses to be found.

Making An Impact

In 2017, an estimated 108 million consumers reported shopping or dining at local independently-owned businesses on Small Business Saturday — generating roughly $12 billion in reported spend.

Find Retailers

Find local Chamber member retailers by visiting our online directory. You can view the directory on our website on your mobile device. Search for local retailers using keywords like “Shopping” to find the right destination for your holiday shopping list.

Coupons and Discounts

Before you wait in line on Black Friday or add items to your cart on Cyber Monday, don’t forget to check out the discounts and holiday specials your fellow Chamber members are offering this season. Visit the Coupons and Discounts section of The Chamber website to view the available offers by our members for our members.

Communities United

As shopping small catches on in communities everywhere, Small Business  Saturday goes from a cause to a day of community celebration.
90% of consumers surveyed said Small Business Saturday has had a positive impact on their community.

 

When you shop local, you shop Chamber. When you shop Chamber, you support the flourishing small businesses that keep our community afloat. We hope you’ll join the celebration of small businesses nationwide for Small Business Saturday on Saturday, November 24.

Visit the Sarasota Chamber’s Membership Directory Here


Facts presented on this blogpost, are directly taken from American Express’ Small Business Saturday website. See more here.

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Siesta Key Crystal Classic Begins This Weekend!

Starting this Friday, November 9th-12th, twenty-four of the premier master sand sculptors from all over the world will be competing for 1st place on Siesta Beach. The festival will also have four additional sculptures this year for both the doubles and a new solo competition.

The Siesta Key Crystal Classic is a visual and cultural arts festival now in its 9th year and has hosted over 260,000 attendees on the best beach in the USA!

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In only 24 sculpting hours, (spanning the four-day event), the master sculptors create sand masterpieces and transform the always beautiful Siesta Beach into an outdoor art gallery. The Crystal Classic connects the arts and the beach in ways never before seen in Sarasota.

The festival will be open until 9 pm on Saturday and Sunday nights with live music, lighted sculpture displays, and drinks from the party tent. Reverend Barry & The Funk will be playing Saturday night with 22N taking the stage on Sunday night!

The festival also features live music all four days, a large shopping village, and a variety of food and drink vendors. Other activities include the “Quick Sand” speed sculpting competition, sand sculpting lessons & demos, and an amateur competition.

For more information and to view the festival schedule, visit the website: www.siestakeycrystalclassic.com.

5 Tips for Attending Chamber Expo

While we’ve been preparing for and getting the word out for the 2018 Chamber Expo next month, Exhibitors have been busy behind the scenes prepping their booths. But, as an attendee, you can also benefit from having a solid game plan in place before the show. Here are our top tips for attending a trade show:

SET A GOAL AND STRATEGY

Before you attend any event, know why you’re doing it. Why are you attending? What problems are you hoping to solve for your business? Knowing what you need will help you take advantage of Chamber Expo.

Once you have your points of interest in mind, jot down the top 5 or 10 industries that you absolutely must make time for.

BALANCE YOUR TIME

There are two ways to spend time at a tradeshow: seeking out vendors on your list or wandering to see what you discover. It’s a good idea to make time for both, but know which one you’re most interested in.

SAVE ROOM FOR EXISTING CONNECTIONS

Most people attend trade shows in search of something new. But, it’s a good idea to visit some vendors you already know. Reconnect and see what new projects they’re working on. This gives you the opportunity to verify they’re still the best fit for your business and builds a relationship by connecting face to face periodically.

BE SOCIAL

Yes, you’re most likely there for business purposes. But Chamber Expo also acts as the largest Business After Hours in the area and is an excellent place to network. You can meet other people working in your industry and collect recommendations from them of who to seek out during Chamber Expo.

ENJOY YOURSELF

This may seem silly, but don’t forget to have fun. You’re there to expand your experience and contribute to your business but you also get to make some friends while you’re at it!

We hope to see you Chamber Expo on November 7!

Presenting Sponsor:

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The Siesta Key Crystal Classis Returns for its 9th Year

This November 9th-12th, twenty-four of the premier master sand sculptors from all over the world will be competing for 1st place on Siesta Beach. The festival will also have four additional sculptures this year for both the doubles and a new solo competition.

The Siesta Key Crystal Classic is a visual and cultural arts festival now in its 9th year and has hosted over 260,000 attendees on the best beach in the USA!

Siesta Key CC 1

In only 24 sculpting hours, (spanning the four-day event), the master sculptors create sand masterpieces and transform the always beautiful Siesta Beach into an outdoor art gallery. The Crystal Classic connects the arts and the beach in ways never before seen in Sarasota.

The festival will be open until 9 pm on Saturday and Sunday nights with live music, lighted sculpture displays, and drinks from the party tent. Reverend Barry & The Funk will be playing Saturday night with 22N taking the stage on Sunday night!

Siesta Key CC 2

The festival also features live music all four days, a large shopping village, and a variety of food and drink vendors. Other activities include the “Quick Sand” speed sculpting competition, sand sculpting lessons & demos, and an amateur competition.

More information, partnership opportunities, pre-sale tickets and reserved parking passes are all available at the website: www.siestakeycrystalclassic.com.

Welcome, CareerEdge Funders Staff!

Deborah Chapman

CareerEdge Program Director

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Deborah manages the major workforce development initiatives of the collaborative, including sector-focused employer partnerships, job seeker training programs in high demand occupations, an internship reimbursement program and youth career and college access strategies at CareerEdge Funders.

With over 25 years of experience in the consulting field, Deborah has spent her career working with organizations, teams, and individuals to achieve their transformational goals. Her focus is on improving strategies, structures, systems, and cultures to drive results-based outcomes. Her analytical style, attention to detail and engaging demeanor have made her a respected and sought-after advisor. As a skilled strategist and researcher, Deborah has proven acumen in:

  • Strategic Planning
  • Project Management
  • Organizational Development
  • Meeting Facilitation

As the former Director of Customer Research at Kaset International (now part of MHI Global) an international customer service training and consulting firm, Deborah managed a team of consultants providing client services in customer satisfaction research. She developed and validated survey instruments, designed supporting research processes, and implemented internal customer satisfaction & training product research functions. Prior to this role, Deborah was Director of Strategic Planning & Development at Kaset. She worked with CEO to define and integrate quality concepts into the organization’s core programs; developed service quality consulting materials for executive workshops; and led the Strategic Planning Committee.

Prior to Kaset, Deborah worked as a consultant at Vantage Consulting Group where she evaluated stakeholder relationships, developed strategic communications plans and designed and implemented customer satisfaction surveys. Deborah began her career with Behavior Management Consultants where she analyzed performance deficits and developed appraisal systems to improve productivity; trained supervisors in behavioral evaluation processes; and co-taught a Performance Management course to business professionals and government employees.

Deborah graduated from Florida State University cum laude with a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology and received an MBA from the University of Alabama, where she was awarded the Graduate Council Fellowship.

You can contact Deborah at dchapman@sarasotachamber.com or (941) 556-4038.


Lauren Meyer

CareerEdge Program Coordinator

lauren-meyer-headshot-300x300-e1529937104836.jpgLauren joined CareerEdge Funders Collaborative as the Program Coordinator in 2016. She is responsible for assisting with data management, social media, and community/media outreach. Lauren is thrilled to be a part of the CareerEdge team! In her free time, she likes to dance ballet, read books, and travel.

Lauren is a recent graduate of Florida State University with a Bachelor of Science degree Cum Laude in Communication Digital Media Studies, with a Business minor. Her main focus has been in areas such as public relations, marketing, and digital media.

Before joining CareerEdge, Lauren held internships in television and news production at Florida State University with University Communications. She was responsible for planning news stories, interviews, and developing branded content. She also has participated in the Disney College Program and has interned with an event consulting company Suncoast Connections assisting with event planning and logistics. She was responsible for coordination with clients, social media outreach, press releases, and the overall management of the planned events. Lauren also assisted a tech start-up, Viva Green Homes, as their Media and Communications Coordinator. She was able to develop a branded press and social media campaign for the new company and assisted the president in market research to grow and bring awareness to the company.

You can contact Lauren at lmeyer@sarasotachamber.com or (941) 556-4029.


Want to learn more about CareerEdge Funders?

Please visit careeredgefunders.org.

Herald-Tribune’s Best Places to Work Annual Ranking

Is your company one of the best places to work in our region?  Now is your chance to find out!

Nominate your company for the Herald-Tribune’s 2018 Best Places to Work. Registration is open through July 13 and can be entered at HTBestPlacesToWork.com.BestPlacestoWork_2018_logos

Best Places to Work is a survey competition to determine which participants are the best employers in Sarasota and Manatee counties. The two-part survey process recognizes companies that demonstrate workplace excellence and are known for retaining and recruiting the best and brightest employees.

Independent firm Best Companies Group evaluates the selection and ranking of entries and winners are published in the Herald-Tribune. The contest is open for for-profit or nonprofit companies as well as those publicly or privately held entities. All must maintain a facility in Sarasota or Manatee and maintain a minimum of 15 permanent, non-contract employees working locally.

Companies that choose to participate are assessed on two factors: A questionnaire about company policies, practices, demographics and benefits; and, a survey of randomly selected employees at each firm. The employees will respond anonymously to 78 statements on a five-point agreement scale, as well as a handful of open-ended questions and demographic inquiries.

Best Companies Group analyzes and ranks participating firms in eight areas: leadership and planning; corporate culture and communications; role satisfaction; work environment; relationships with supervisors; training, development and resources; pay and benefits; and, overall engagement.

The Herald-Tribune will recognize the 2018 Best Places to Work in a special section that publishes in November. A celebration luncheon will be hosted on Nov. 7 at the Hyatt Regency Sarasota to announce the results of the surveys and list the Top 25 local employers.

Apply today!

For Third Straight Year, Sarasota County Schools Lead State in Pell Grant Pursuit

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The Talent4Tomorrow Partnership, a collective impact team of local organizations focused on increasing college and credential attainment in Sarasota County, announces that the Sarasota County School District has been recognized as having the highest FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) completion rate in the state, according to the Florida College Access Network (FCAN). This is the third year in a row that Sarasota County has been named number one in the state for “Large Districts” in FCAN’s annual Florida FAFSA Challenge.

2018 FAFSA Photo 1

Completing the FAFSA is the first step to accessing financial aid for college, as well as a leading indicator of college attendance. But research indicates that Florida high school graduates leave behind over $100 million in federal Pell Grants alone by not completing the form. Through targeted efforts developed by Talent4Tomorrow in partnership with the school district, 47.8% of Sarasota County high school seniors completed the FAFSA as of March 31, 2018. According to FCAN, the incremental increase in FAFSA completion over the last two years has resulted in approximately $800,000 in additional Pell grants available for Sarasota County graduates to pursue their higher-education goals, with the average student award approximately $4,000.

“The Talent4Tomorrow initiative demonstrates an example of a true collaboration between a broad range of organizations coming together for a common goal – the future of our community’s youth.  The Chamber believes strongly in this alliance and the outcomes are a testament to the strength and commitment that the partners bring to the table,” said Kevin Cooper, President of The Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce which serves as the ‘backbone’ organization for Talent4Tomorrow.

Innovative Strategies

Talent4Tomorrow partners worked with the District to implement several strategies that assisted graduating high school seniors and their families with completing the financial aid form. Talent4Tomorrow hosted FAFSA labs at high schools, with support from local college financial aid officers and other community volunteers, to assist students and their parents in the application process. It also implemented a communications plan to raise awareness about FAFSA that included flyers, text messages, emails, classroom visits, morning announcements, outreach to youth-serving partners and the faith-based community, press releases, and social media posts.

2018 FAFSA Photo 2

The Partnership developed some new techniques this year, such as the innovative use of Snapchat geofilters, introduced by CareerEdge Funders Collaborative and piloted at Booker High School. A geofilter is similar to a frame or sticker that can go on a Snapchat photo and is shared with the user’s friends. An organization or individual pays to have the filter available in Snapchat for a specific location and period of time. With approval from the school, the electronic FAFSA lab filter was made available in the cafeteria for the students. On lab day alone, the filter was swiped by 367 students, and 64 of them posted these framed photos on their account, which resulted in 2,900 views of the FAFSA filter.

According to FCAN, Booker High School had the second-highest completion rate improvement in the District compared to last year, with a 9% increase.  The Snapchat strategy was seen as a positive application of a platform used by students daily. The Talent4Tomorrow Partnership plans to expand the use of this social media tool next year and will continue to look for ways to engage and connect with students on the value of completing the FAFSA.

Support for these programs and events comes from Gulf Coast Community Foundation, the Charles & Margery Barancik Foundation, and Community Foundation of Sarasota County, with matching funds from the Florida Philanthropic Network through its College Access & Success Initiative (CASI), which is supported by the Helios Education Foundation and The Kresge Foundation.

More information about FCAN and the FAFSA Challenge Winners is available here.


About the Talent4Tomorrow Partnership

Talent4Tomorrow was launched by the Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce in 2013 to cultivate a competitive regional workforce by developing a talent pipeline for area students to enter local jobs that are in high demand. Initially a broad-based regional business and education collaborative, it has since sharpened its focus on improving college attainment for Sarasota County youth. It serves as Sarasota’s “Local College Access Network,” or LCAN, coordinating the diverse efforts of a team of community partners to increase college and career preparation, access, and completion. It is one of nine such regional groups, representing 22 counties, aligned with the statewide Florida College Access Network (FCAN). Leadership of the collaborative includes the following organizations: Charles and Margery Barancik Foundation, CareerEdge Funders Collaborative, Community Foundation of Sarasota County, Education Foundation of Sarasota County, Gulf Coast Community Foundation, Sarasota County School District, The Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce, UnidosNow, and United Way Suncoast. Additionally, more than 30 other nonprofits, businesses, and educational institutions participate as implementation partners, making it possible to deliver programs and services to students and their families.