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

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SOCIAL MEDIA ISN’T OPTIONAL: WHY YOU NEED TO START TODAY

If you have too many customers and you can’t keep up; if your business’ revenue streams are more like Tsunamis, social media is optional for your business. If not, you need to embrace it today. Here’s why:

We are a very mobile society. Businesses can’t count on the foot traffic they once did or people just driving by and stopping in. We’re in our cars, going to the next appointment at lightning speed. There’s no time to just drop into a new store or business.

Social Media Establishes Know, Like and Trust

social-media-isnt-optionalIf you sell something that no one else does and people feel like they absolutely must have it, then forget about social media because you needn’t establish know, like and trust. For everyone else, it’s essential in the sales process. Someone buying from you must first know that you exist, then wants to like you/your company before doing business with you, and finally, they need to trust that you are providing a worthwhile product or service that is of good quality or value. Without those three very important things, you won’t be very effective in today’s non-ad-driven marketplace.

There’s good news and bad news about how consumers make decisions today. The good news is your business can stand out with very little money investment. You don’t need radio or television to make an impression anymore. There are millions of people you can reach through social media. However, the bad news is you can’t blast them with your marketing message and expect them to respond by pulling out their wallets. Now you have to develop a connection with them and establish “know, like, and trust.” This takes time. Old marketing success took money.

Your Content Gives Buyers Something They Need

When you share helpful, valuable content on social media you do more than establishing know, like, and trust. You provide helpful resources for customers who are trying to make decisions (and you can influence them through providing the much-needed help, particularly in a long buying cycle) and you give them social currency.

Just as you want to provide content your audience finds valuable, so do your customers. There’s a lack of great content out there. It’s hard to find it and there’s an unquenchable need. When you provide content your audience enjoys and thus shares, you become a source for them to build up, and meet the needs of, their tribe as well.

This makes your audience feel good because their tribe appreciates what they’ve shared. You’re making your customer (or potential customer) look good. That’s something they will remember and keeps your business being on your customer’s mind.

Social Media Is No Longer Mere Entertainment

facebook-demographicsIf you have been ignoring the social webs because you think it’s all pictures of gourmet meals and cat videos, you’re in for a surprise. 88% of Millennials (Millennials are the largest generational cohort in the history of the US and make up a quarter of the population currently) get their news from Facebook. While this may be a little disconcerting for some of us, the fact remains and speaks to the importance of social media in the lives of so many.

If you think social media is only for the young, think again. 72% of adult Internet users use Facebook, according to the Pew Research Center. 62% of the entire adult population in the US uses Facebook. Why aren’t you on it again? Before you answer, take a look at the chart of Facebook demographics.

Social Media Establishes a Connection

Today’s buyers want to feel a connection with the companies they do business with. From being involved in R&D to voting on names for new products, from selecting new flavors to supporting a larger cause, people want to “feel” something about the brands they support.

You can’t meet every one of your customers. You can’t take them out to coffee and get to know them because it doesn’t scale. As much as you may have an interest in them, it’s not possible to form personal, one-on-one relationships with each, but you can reach them en masse and make them feel like they know you and your business.

Social media allows you to give them a better look at who you are by setting a tone for your business and telling your business story. It also allows you to celebrate your customers in a way traditional marketing can’t. You have the opportunity to reach them all-day long, every day with content they will find value in for no more money than that associated with your time.

Social media isn’t a passing fad. It’s a business necessity today. If you’re not meeting your customers’ needs on social media, you can bet there is someone out there who’s willing to take up the slack for you.

Image via Graphic Stock

Christina R. Green teaches small businesses, chambers, and associations how to connect through content. Her articles have appeared in the Midwest Society of Association Executives’ Magazine, NTEN.org, AssociationTech, and Socialfish. She is a regular blogger at frankjkenny.com and the Event Manager Blog. She’s a bookish writer on a quest to bring great storytelling to organizations everywhere.

Meet Our Members: Human Resources Simplified

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Give us a brief history of your business/organization.

Partner with businesses with outsourced human resources (from hiring to terminating), training, facilitation, coaching, and investigating functions.

What are your business/organization’s core values, goals, and overall mission?

Human Resources Simplified is an experienced and full-service human resources consulting company providing clients with strategic people and team planning, recruiting, training, mentoring and facilitating using consulting and coaching. If you have staff, we have solutions. Win the game of business with our specialists.

How long have you been in business in the Greater Sarasota Community?

With 20+ years of experience, we have seen it all. You’ll also enjoy receiving our best counsel, advice and guidance and straightforward honesty (yes, it may hurt) as we work with you, not just for you, so that you achieve your business goals.

In a nutshell, what does your business/organization provide its customers/clients?

HR Consulting, HR Interim Leadership, HR Virtual Management, HR Projects, Management Development, Staff Training, Mentoring, Coaching, Meeting Facilitation, Event Planning, Workplace Investigating,

Complete this sentence: “When a customer/client walks into my business/office, they can expect…”

…helping their business do more with less.

What makes your business/organization unique?

I am the only HR Consultant who is also a Chamber member. I have clients local to SW Florida and out of state.

What benefit attracted you to The Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce?

Business resources.

Is your company/organization involved in any community/civic activities?

As time permits.

Where do you see your organization in five years?

Continuing to serve businesses.

If your business/organization were a book, song or famous artwork, what would it be and why?

Find Your Fit book – just published – I am one of the co-authors. This is a career development book aimed at job hunters. I am a recruiter and certified resume writer also with a second business: Career Advice Simplified.


For more information about Human Resources Simplified, visit their website, follow Tri County Air 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.

Affinity Partner Spotlight – First Data

Swipe’n’Save with First Data

The Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce partners with First Data Merchant services to bring you an Affinity Program that allows members to process at a discounted price. No Monthly services fee, minimums, reduce pricing on equipment.

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As a veteran, you’ve got drive, tenacity, and discipline—traits that will make your business successful. First Data is proud to offer veterans and military spouses a variety of small business solutions designed to support your success.

Running your business is more than a full-time job. First Data makes managing your business easier with innovative solutions for everything from tracking inventory and managing employees to building lasting customer relationships and securely accepting all types of payments. Free processing on July 4th and Veteran’s Day.  Free Clover Mini or Mobile.

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If you are a veteran or a military spouse, come learn how Clover can help you grow your business.

* With Clover, you can do more, know more, and sell more—more easily.*

How to Take Advantage:

If you would like to take advantage of this Affinity Program, simply call or email, Nancy Walker at 941-545-0937 or nancy.walker@firstdata.com.

Meet Our Members: Tri County Air Conditioning and Heating, Inc.

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Give us a brief history of your business/organization.

Tri County Air is a Christian, 2nd generation family-owned air conditioning and heating company. William Swanson, Jr., known by colleagues, staff, and customers as Billy, is president and owner of the company founded by his father in 1977. He began working full time at Tri County in 1987 and took over the business in 2001 following the death of his father. Billy holds a degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Florida and is a ministry leader in our local community.

What are your business/organization’s core values, goals, and overall mission?

The mission of Tri County Air is: “To comfort all in such a way that (1) they are compelled to tell others about their experience, and (2) it honors the Great Comforter, Jesus Christ.”

The mission statement is inspired by 2 Corinthians 1:3-5 “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too.”

How long have you been in business in the Greater Sarasota Community?

Tri County Air is pleased to have faithfully served the Sarasota, Florida area since 1977.

In a nutshell, what does your business/organization provide its customers/clients?

Tri County Air provides customers with air conditioning and heating maintenance, service, sales, and installation. Beyond simply providing comfort through HVAC and indoor air quality, the non-profit arm of Tri County Air, the Tri County Community Foundation, works to further complete the mission by providing emotional and spiritual comfort to our community by meeting the needs of the people they serve.

Complete this sentence: “When a customer/client walks into my business/office, they can expect…”

When a customer calls Tri County Air, they can expect to speak with a live Customer Service Representative who is kind, knowledgeable, and respectful of the customer’s needs.

When a technician or Comfort Adviser walks into a customer’s home, that customer can expect to see a Tri County Air employee who is clean, in uniform, on time and respectful.They will put on booties, inform the customer of what they are doing, and answer any questions along the way. They are not pushy or rude, they will listen to the customer’s needs and offer advice accordingly.

What makes your business/organization unique?

Tri County Air is unlike any other HVAC company because it is their goal to provide more than simply the comfort that comes with a working air conditioning and heating system. Every employee is trained to go the extra mile when they answer a call or enter a home. If a customer expresses distress, employees are trained to speak to them about the Tri County Community Foundation and all of the resources offered through Tri County Air’s non-profit. If they need help paying their bills, finding affordable childcare, or even need counseling, the Foundation is able to either meet the need right then and there or connect them with local resources in our community who would be able to do so. The comfort of the customer, in every area of life, is Tri County Air’s heartbeat.

What benefit(s) attracted you to The Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce?

Tri County Air joined The Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce to get to know the people who represent the many businesses in the Sarasota area and to give back to our community.

Is your company/organization involved in any community/civic activities?

In addition to the everyday community service provided by the Tri County Community Foundation, Tri County Air is responsible for putting on Make a Difference Day in Venice, FL. This past October for Make a Difference Day, over 400 people from 24 different organizations came together to beautify the city of Venice.

Where do you see your organization in five years?

In 5 years, Tri County Air is poised to make over $20 million in revenues, have over 125 employees, and donate over $500,000 per year to charitable organizations.

What are three things your business/organization can’t live without?

1 – Our Ambassadors: The mark of a good company is that it has customers who are so happy that they turn into customer-making-customers. Tri County Air Ambassadors are customers who tell others about us and the great service they received. Each Ambassador who refers a new customer to Tri County Air receives giftcard(s) as a thank-you (and may even be invited to exclusive Tri County Air Ambassador events).

2 – Our Employees: We are so thankful for each and every employee who has chosen to be a part of our Tri County Air family. Without them, we wouldn’t be able to serve our community like we have been able to for the past 39 years. Not only do our employees perform their jobs with excellence and respect, but they also take on our mission and work to comfort our customers and each other on a daily basis.

3 – Our Community: Tri County Air would not be able to survive without the people and businesses who make up our community. Over the years, we have served our community and have been served by our community. Southwest Florida is not only made up of a beautiful landscape but also of beautiful people who work together to help each other when they are in need. We are so thankful that we have been blessed to serve the Sarasota area for what will be 40 years in 2017.


For more information about Tri County Air Conditioning and Heating, Inc., visit their website, follow Tri County Air 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.

Affinity Partner Spotlight: Office Depot

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The Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce partners with Office Depot and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to bring you an Affinity Program that allows members to purchase from Office Depot at a discounted price. The National Chamber Program is a network of over 1,500 Chambers of Commerce working together to create savings and opportunities for its members.

The discounts on this purchasing program include products from nearly every product category needed to run your business. This includes general office supplies, ink & toner, cleaning and break room supplies, technology products, copy & print services, furniture and even school supplies.

If you are a member of the Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce, there is no cost to take advantage of this purchasing program.

How to Take Advantage:

If you would like to take advantage of this Affinity Program, simply call or email Office Depot Business Development Manager Paul Stumpfig. Paul.stumpfig@officedepot.com or (941) 720-5037 and he will get you enrolled.

Meet Our Members: X 30 Fit Bootcamp

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Give us a brief history of your business/organization.

We opened up with Free Community Sessions June 2016. We are using the exact same program that has helped members lose over 50,000 lbs and 50,000 inches in under 3 years. We are committed to the success of SRQ residents.

What are your business/organization’s core values, goals, and overall mission?

Results, Community, and Relationships.

Our goal is for our members to lose 20,000 lbs by the year 2020. We love to be community involved and give back. We have partnered with Sweat Angels and have a different cause every month. Our goal this holiday season is to help support up to 5 families in need through the local school system.

How long have you been in business in the Greater Sarasota Community?

We opened our doors July 11, 2016.

In a nutshell, what does your business/organization provide its customers/clients?

Our specialized After Burn workouts use a combination of (HIIT) High-Intensity Interval Training and Active Rest Training to get your body to burn more fat and calories than traditional workouts that are twice as long.

Every group training session is led by experienced and certified personal trainers and is designed to be fun, high energy and challenging all while burning maximum fat and toning your muscles.

Our customized nutrition program will have you eating healthier than you have in years. We believe in eating whole foods that are good and tasty for you. You will not be hungry on our program.

Complete this sentence: “When a customer/client walks into my business/office, they can expect…”

A fitness family Including Full-time Coaches and Trainers who care about YOUR GOALS and YOUR WHYS!

What makes your business/organization unique?

We are using the exact same program that has helped members lose over 50,000 lbs and 50,000 inches in under 3 years. We are committed to the success of SRQ residents. Our goal is to help SRQ shed 20,000 Lbs of fat by the year 2020! We know that nutrition is the key and have a fabulous program eating lots of real food. The plan is customized to each person and their needs. All of our coaches/trainers are full-time with benefits.

What benefit(s) attracted you to The Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce?

Like minded community benefits and vested interest in each company. Love all the events!

Is your company/organization involved in any community/civic activities?

Sweat Angels daily and we tie months cause to a local cause. For instance, September was helping pets and we accepted donations of pet food and bedding for local humane society.

We are hosting our 1st Holiday Families in Need project. It is our goal to support up to 5 families in need this holiday. This next week every new membership is gifting $50 is going towards this cause!

Where do you see your organization in five years?

3-5 locations in SRQ.

A work family of 25 full-time coaches, trainers and Admins Having exceeded our goal of 20,000 pounds and 20,000 inches. Working on our 40,000 lbs goal

What does your business/organization do to keep office culture fun and exciting?

Every client is a part of our FIT Family and we rock out different themes from Super Sock Saturday to Super Hero day to 80’s Rock on workouts. It’s always FUN! Our office is the Fitness workout floor! What could be more fun!?


For more information about X 30 Fit Bootcamp, visit their website and like them on Facebook.

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.