First WOCC Semi-Annual Membership Meeting Big Success
WEST ORANGE, NJ – Last week, more than 80 people attended the West Orange Chamber of Commerce (WOCC) Semi-Annual Membership Meeting for Chamber members and prospective members at Lyric PAC.
During the interactive event, attendees learned about the benefits of WOCC membership, while enjoying food and drinks, raffles, networking, having a free professional headshot taken and more.
“The event was very well attended and provided a thorough understanding of everything the Chamber does,” said attendee Cab Burtt, energy consultant with Vivint Solar, who joined the Chamber following the event. “I was surprised to see so many people on a hot Monday in July!”
The meeting served as a platform for the WOCC to thank members for their participation and contributions to the Chamber’s events and programs, to welcome prospective members and to tell all in attendance about the benefits of being a Chamber member.
The membership benefits information was a refresher for members, as it offered information on ways for maximizing membership. The information shared also let prospective members know what benefits they could look forward to having as members including networking, marketing and sponsorship opportunities.
Following a keynote speech from Mayor Robert Parisi, WOCC Board President, and Director, PR and Marketing, RWJ Barnabas Health, Sally Malech, spoke about the mission of the Chamber. She also said that networking provides the community with the ability to grow business and thrive through the relationships made. In addition, she shared that the Chamber grew by 30% in the past year.
Malech presented Jessica Marrone-Parkes, who is stepping down after serving as the executive director of the Chamber for a little over a year, with a plaque thanking her for her hard work.
Board Member Tez Rojo, Keller Williams, provided a presentation on the benefits of membership. Rojo explained that for solo-preneurs, membership is $125 a year, adding that Lunch and Learn sessions and Mixers are free for members and are $20 each for non-members. She said that members who attend a few of these events will more than make up the money spent, and that they will make even more – “…great quality connections, which can take your business to the next level.”
Nancy Mullin, supervisor of Career Education and Library Science at the West Orange Public Schools spoke about another Chamber benefit – mentorship opportunities. Members of the Chamber get to give back and act as mentors for high school students who are creating businesses for competition, via the school’s Virtual Enterprises International (VEI) program.
Chamber Board Member Arnie Amir, Growth Point Business Consulting, discussed the Chamber’s events including Biz 2.0 Workshops; Mixers; and Ribbon Cuttings. He said that the goal of the workshops is to offer speakers and topics that are valuable and beneficial to members and businesses.
Amir invited anyone interested in coming to an educational event, to register here to attend the next Biz 2.0 session, on Wed., Aug. 14, at Montclair Golf Club, in West Orange, from 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. Amir, will be the speaker and will discuss, “Real Leadership Matters: How Your Employees and Customers Benefit.”
During the meeting, the Chamber gave out Most Valuable Member Awards to: West Orange resident Roman Martens, owner of British Swim School (Most Attendance); Joy and Shamar Morton, owners of The Kids Palace (Most Valuable Members); and Mark Yecies, of SunQuest Funding (Most Enthusiastic New Member).
Following the meeting, some attendees signed up on the spot to join the Chamber. As a thank you, these new members received a free month of advertising on the Chamber’s website. The Chamber has since announced that the offer for a month of free advertising will be extended until the end of July for anyone else interested in joining the Chamber.
Michelle Bradley, who owns Java’s Compost, joined the WOCC following the event. She said, “I joined because membership offers a good opportunity to meet other local business owners.” She added, “It also seems like the Chamber offers a lot of marketing support, business development help and networking opportunities.”
"I joined the Chamber on the night of the Membership event because I enjoy networking and getting to know different groups of people. I find that if we understand each other well, business referrals flow naturally,” said Burtt. “In addition, the West Orange Chamber has a lot of great events that provide a good opportunity to get to know the community. I live in South Orange, and am already active in the Maplewood Chamber, so joining the West Orange Chamber was a good fit for me.”
Lisa Neal of New Body Training Systems also joined the Chamber after the meeting. She said, “We really enjoyed the event and meeting other business owners from West Orange. We liked that the Chamber seems so active in town and that the people we met from the Chamber seemed really engaged in what they were doing. We also liked the idea of having educational sessions every other month.”
She added, “We thought it was a very positive experience and presentation on what’s possible in West Orange and that is why we attended, will attend events in the future – and joined the WOCC.”
To review a list of WOCC member benefits click HERE
To join and take advantage of the one month free advertising, click HERE
Written by Jackie Schatell