BETHANY SAWYER | DIRECTOR OF MEMBERSHIP
Think of them as the ultimate brand ambassadors for the Greater Naples Chamber of Commerce.
The Naples Chamber’s ambassadors are a group of dedicated volunteers who work tirelessly each day to highlight the benefits Chamber membership. From shepherding new members to celebrating grand openings, our ambassadors are on the frontline of Chamber work.
Ambassador programs are common at chambers of commerce across the country. According to the Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives, ambassadors are usually community volunteers that serve on welcome committees, help with membership campaigns or act as public relations liaisons at social events hosted by a chamber.
At the Naples Chamber, our ambassadors are active advocates. They regularly seek opportunities to educate, promote and share the benefits of a Chamber membership, and play an essential role in member recruitment, communication and retention. You can find our ambassadors assisting with our monthly meetings and annual programs, as well as attending ribbon cuttings and after-hours networking events.
“We couldn’t do the work that we do without this group of enthusiastic and devoted volunteers,” said Michael Dalby, the president and CEO of the Naples Chamber. “Our ambassadors understand the value of becoming a member of the Greater Naples Chamber of Commerce and are committed to making Collier County the best place in America to live, work and visit.”
But the Chamber isn’t the only one that benefits from the ambassador program. While the program is critical to the continual growth of the Chamber, it also provides ambassadors with plenty of opportunities for personal and professional growth.
Being an ambassador offers a great deal of visibility and builds credibility for a person’s own business. Since our ambassadors are among the first people to meet with members, they’re able to spread the word about their company, while talking about how the Chamber helped them.
But being an ambassador isn’t just a chance to boost their clientele base. It’s also a chance to learn more about the people, organizations and businesses that make up our great community.
That’s how Dennis Sanders, the president of Proxy LLC, views his time as a Chamber ambassador. Sanders joined the Chamber ambassadors in 2015 and said he can “think of no better position in which to be, personally and businesswise, than that of an ambassador with the Greater Naples Chamber of Commerce.”
“As an ambassador, I have had the opportunity to meet and interact with individuals and business owners I otherwise would not,” he said.
Sanders said events – such as ribbon cuttings and grand openings – give him the chance to see how excited new members are about their businesses. And while he’s excited to be there, he knows his presence helps the business owner feel confident and supported.
“Being an ambassador gives me greater insight (into) what it takes to be a better citizen and business owner here in the greater Naples area,” he said. “It enhances the gift of giving one’s time and talent to the community at large.” Interested in becoming a Chamber ambassador? Click here to learn more or to apply.
Amy Cooper (LC '12)
GOAL: Amy Cooper is on a mission to match LCF Alumni like you to the non-profit volunteer, board, and mentoring opportunities that best utilize your skills and abilities.
Supporting local non-profit organizations is an integral part of the Leadership Collier Foundation’s mission. Sometimes as alumni, we know we have talents, time, and specialized knowledge to pitch in and make a difference for local non-profits but aren’t sure where those talents could be best utilized. That’s where Amy Cooper and the Matching Needs Committee come in! Amy Cooper, a Certified Public Accountant and Principal of Non-Profit at CliftonLarsonAllen, LLP, has been serving as Chair of the Matching Needs Committee for the last six years.
Amy sums up the committee’s mission like this, “The Matching Needs Committee advocates community trusteeship through volunteerism and mentorship. The committee supports the mission of LCF by being a source for alumni for volunteer opportunities.”
As volunteer and mentor opportunities arise, the committee plays a kind of matchmaker, helping non-profits solve complex challenges by finding a highly qualified LCF member to pitch in. LCF’s alumni have such diverse backgrounds, experience, and skills, they are oftentimes ideally situated to help non-profits perform their best. The committee’s matching service helps utilize the talents and expertise of LCF alumni so members can give back to their community in the most meaningful and impactful ways.
Amy is most proud of her work on the Volunteer Expo. “It was started several years ago and has become a sought after event for the alumni and public to get to know the non-profits in the area that are looking for volunteers and board members,” Amy said. Supporting LCF by chairing the Matching Needs Committee is important to Amy. "It is a good way to give back to the community. The LCF program was one of the best experiences that I’ve had and volunteering through this committee has been rewarding.”
If you are looking for a way to get more involved with LCF through the Matching Needs Committee, Amy invites you to contact Amanda Beights. Amy says, “We are always looking for people who want to contribute!”
JENNA BUZZACCO-FOERSTER | DIRECTOR OF GOVERNMENT RELATIONS
When Syd Kitson set out to create Babcock Ranch, he wanted to prove that growth and sustainability could go hand in hand.
Thirteen years later, his vision is a reality. And Kitson, the chairman and CEO of Kitson & Partners, said the Southwest Florida community is a model for what smart development can look like going forward.
“All these things that we’re talking about are what create community,” said Kitson. “Babcock Ranch doesn’t have gates. This is truly a town.”
Kitson talked about his vision for creating Babcock Ranch during the August 14 Wake Up Naples at Hilton Naples. In his 45-minute conversation with Naples City Manager Charles Chapman, Kitson discussed the process of building a town from the ground up, the importance of preservation and how to create community.
“One of the things we wanted Babcock Ranch to be was multi-generational,” he said. “We didn’t want it to be a bunch of old people like me. We wanted to have that great mix of people.”
The best way to attract young people: Build a school. That was one of the first things Kitson did, at the urging of former Gov. Jeb Bush, a member of the Babcock Ranch board. It proved to be a smart decision. The school quickly had a waiting list and has since moved to a larger location.
Kitson said Babcock Ranch has incorporated a variety of other features, including community gardens and free Wi-Fi outside, to make the town attractive to all types of residents. His team is focused heavily on solar power, becoming the first all solar community in nation, and autonomous vehicles.
These measures have helped achieve the goal of attracting a wide variety of residents. Kitson said more than half the buyers are young families, and a fair share of them work in the community.
Kitson encouraged landowners, developers and governments to “work in partnership” to ensure sustainable communities can flourish in the future.
“I think what Babcock Ranch is proving … is that people what that kind of living,” he said.
To register for future Wake Up Naples breakfast events visit www.napleschamber.org/wakeupnaples
MADELINE YOUNG | DIRECTOR OF MARKETING & COMMUNICATIONS
Did you know the Naples Chamber has a Small Business Council? Collier County’s economy is dependent on small businesses and we value feedback and insight from each of our local entrepreneurs.
During July’s meeting, 15 council members from varying industries got together to discuss “out-of-season” tactics in slower months.
Blase Ciabaton from Naples Print Source led the conversation and cited a few ideas that keep his business running through the summer heat.
Keeping top talent
Those among the conversation said that finding ways to keep their top talent all year instead of losing them makes a significant difference on productivity and efficiency. Some examples to keep talent include hiring more part-time employees to keep their hours through the summer instead of cutting back, supplying flexible or remote work-time, providing “loyalty bonuses,” or planning individual or team volunteer days helps to maintain and engage staff members.
Find out what your team is looking for and how you as an employer can better serve them. Plus, it doesn’t hurt to buy the team lunch occasionally, to show that sign of appreciation.
Understanding your client’s needs is a great way to stay busy all year round. For example, Naples Print Source, known for its high-quality design and printing services understood their client’s needs for a database manager and found it perfectly aligned with their expertise and skill set. Now, they have diversity within their offerings and have budgeted work throughout the year that is less periodic.
Consider planning a “listening tour.” Go out and talk with customers. Find out ways that you can make their lives easier. Summer schedules are typically less chaotic, and that’s the perfect time to get qualitative insight, reflect and enhance your services.
Diversifying your client-base is another way to stay busy June-September. Finding clients in varying industries is a strategic way to manage the company’s workload. Supporting businesses in tourism, healthcare, nonprofit and government is an ideal way to expand your reach.
Planning Projects for the Slow Months
Take time to work with your team to prepare and “batch” projects for the entire year.
Whether it’s prepping that quarterly marketing plan, cleaning up the database or preparing materials, finding the time to build a backup for when things get crazy will prove to be invaluable in staying organized and efficient. Planning strategic internal projects in the summer months can keep creativity flowing when client work might slow down.
If you are a small business owner or work for a small business, consider joining the Chamber’s Small Business Council. To find out more contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Corey was born in Naples FL and lived here until the age 2. He moved to St. Petersburg, FL and then moved back to Naples in 7th grade where he attended Oak Ridge Middle School and Gulf Coast High School. Corey attended Florida Atlantic University on a full football scholarship after playing 1 season of high school football.
After earning a degree in English at FAU, he embarked on a professional football career. He told himself that he would give it at least 1 year to chase my dream of playing pro ball. Entering into his professional career he taught English at Barron High School for 2 years and in 2013 I embarked on his insurance career with State Farm Insurance. He worked for agent, mentor and Chamber Member, Brian Glaeser, and opened his own State Farm Insurance agency in 2018.
Corey is a family oriented person and he is motivated by his beautiful wife and 3 children. "I have an awesome relationship with my father and learned all about hard work by working with him in my family catering business. Many say he has the best BBQ in town! I am extremely passionate about what I do and I am even more excited about being able to represent a brand like State Farm Insurance here in my hometown," said Corey.
As a proud Chamber member, he is looking forward to assisting in the Chamber's advocacy efforts and meeting other business professionals in the community. To learn more about Corey visit www.insuredbycorey.com
Interested in becoming a chamber member? Contact Susan Kuhar at email@example.com
Stacey L. Herring (LC ’13)
Stacey L. Herring, Vice President of Private Banking with Morgan Stanley Private Bank, is no stranger to leadership, hard work and service to others. Born and raised in Southwest Florida, Herring has devoted her life to making a difference in the lives of those she encounters both professionally and personally – something she attributes to the lessons her aunt taught her growing up.
Herring shares, “I was exposed at a very young age to children who didn’t have the same life and opportunities that I had. It really had an impact on me and made me realize how blessed I was.”
Now she’s putting that passion to work for the LCF Alumni Association serving on the Board as the Leadership Lunch Chair and former Vice Chair.
Throughout her 25-year career in the financial industry, Herring has achieved great professional success. She has applied that experience and her passion for helping children to her community involvement, and it hasn’t gone unnoticed. In addition to winning awards as a top producer professionally, Herring was named a 2007 Gulfshore Business 40 Under 40, 2013 Champions for Learning Glass Slipper Award winner, and 2014 Community Foundation Women of Initiative.
Since getting involved with Leadership Collier, Herring has channeled the vast knowledge she gained and the profound connections she made along the way to make a meaningful impact in her community endeavors. During the LC sessions, she never missed a chance to meet each presenter and followed up with them afterwards knowing that one day she may need to call upon them. By being engaged, asking questions, staying involved and taking action, Herring has gotten the most out of her LC experience and our community is better for it.
As a self-proclaimed social person and constant learner, Herring enjoys her work with the LCF Alumni Association because of the opportunities it provides to spend time with other like-minded people committed to the greater good, to deepen relationships and stay connected with fellow alumni as well as stay up to date on topics that are valuable to making and keeping our area the best place to work and play. Something she takes back to her service work.
Herring said, “When choosing opportunities to give back, I prefer a leadership position or to serve as chair. I have a strong vision for the task at hand and bring passion and heart to my service work.”
The long list of her leadership roles for local charities includes Chair and Vice Chair of the Women of Initiative; Chair and Vice Chair of Junior Achievement of SWFL Business Hall of Fame; Chair of the Youth Haven Annual Lunch; Chair of the NCH Hospital Ball Gala; and Chair, Co-chair and Auction Chair for C’Mon Dream Gala.
Herring adds, “I believe that one person can make a difference, but a collective spirit can change the world. Leadership is what ties us together. Whether it’s a class project, serving on a board or chairing an event, Leadership Collier gives those of us who care a chance to come together and make a real impact by exposing us to the challenges that impact us as a community every day.”
AUTHOR: DEBORAH DROTAR, SERVPRO
The best way to reduce business interruption following a disaster is to plan for it now. As many as 50% of businesses may never recover following a disaster, according to the latest industry research. Of the businesses that survive, the overwhelming majority of them had a preparedness plan in place. Pre-planning can serve as an insurance policy aimed at peace of mind. Planning ahead speaks trust to your clients and your employees. Knowing what to do and what to expect in advance is the key to timely mitigation and can help minimize how water and fire damage can affect your business.
Are You Ready?
Many businesses have an emergency contingency plan in place, but few have a plan back into buildings following a disaster. It is estimated that 95% of disasters affecting regular business operations are internal or man-made, such as fire or internal flooding. With the proper planning, you can better recover from disasters after they occur.
Consider a plan post-disaster to help you recover. This is a vital component of any pre-existing contingency plan. Here are a few check points:
Think about the potential disasters that could affect your facility. Now ask yourself this question:
ARE YOU READY?
To find out more about the Emergency Ready Profile offered by SERVPRO of Naples/Marco Island contact Deborah Drotar. The Emergency Ready Profile is a start up approach that provides critical information needed to begin mitigation and recovery services.
SERVPRO of Naples/Marco Island independently owned and operated Franchises have been helping business owners recover from disasters for over 40 years… The Experience You Need! Trusted by Insurance companies across America. Over 1700 Franchise locations in all 50 states, specializing in fire water mold clean up and Restoration, we are faster to any disaster.
If you are a Chamber member and interested in writing for the blog as an expert in your field contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Tuesday, June 25, the Chamber along with ArgoTrak, Inc. hosted the Distinguished Public Service Awards Movie Night for First Responders for the fifth year in a row!
We had over 260 first responders and their families join us for a fun night out to enjoy Toy Story 4 at Paragon Pavilion all because of Argotrak and the Wheeler families endless support. Their families' smiling faces, joyous laughter and contagious comradery is one of the reasons I love this event and our community. ArgoTrak is company full of people who are truly passionate about the cause they are supporting and go above and beyond to give both philanthropic support and so much of their time.
ArgoTrak has been a DPSA sponsor for the past 5 years. They started their company 6 years ago as a staff of 5 and now have 13 team members and a customer base across all 50 states and dozens of international customers and they have been honored in the Inc 5000 list three years in a row. This summer they are moving their distribution and provisioning to North Carolina, but will continue to have local team members and a strong presence in Collier County.
“The ArgoTrak team holds first responders, and their families, very close in our hearts. We are so grateful for the sacrifice that is made daily, by the first responders and by their families, to keep us safe and secure in our community. We believe you cannnot say thank you enough, and this is why we try in small ways to make them feel special and appreciated. Sponsoring a movie night is super easy, what they do day in and day out is the tough part,” shared Christine Wheeler of ArgoTrak Inc. “Partnering with the Chamber to make these special events happen is a privilege. The Collier County business community has a great resource in the Chamber and we have always enjoyed partnering with the Chamber team to make great things happen!”
Chamber Membership Intern
Senior at Ave Maria University
Currently studying history with a minor in communications.
What projects did you work on during your internship?
During my six month internship I updated member information, such as adding logos and revising employee information, sent out letters congratulating members on ribbon cuttings or important milestones and supported the Chamber team whenever possible. I also enjoyed working at the annual Chamber Classic Golf Tournament, where I was able to network with some incredible people, as well as attending new member meetings where I saw first hand how the chamber assists business owners and encourages networking with one another.
What surprised you the most during your internship at the Chamber?
I was most surprised by the Chamber’s operations during my internship. Before applying for the position, I had no clue what a Chamber of Commerce was and how it worked. Upon doing research and being a part of the membership team, I was amazed how close businesses worked with the Chamber and how they interacted with one another to build up the business world of the Greater Naples area.
What’s your favorite memory from your internship?
My favorite memory from the internship would have to be assisting in the Chamber Classic Golf Tournament. I was able to interact with many different members and connect with past Florida Senator Garrett Richter. And witness a hole in one!
Do you have advice for students applying to or starting internships?
My advice for students who are applying to internships would be to make sure that you do research on the business or organization you are applying to in order to know what skills or knowledge you can showcase in your future projects. When applying don’t be afraid to possibly go out of your field of study, though being a history major, I have picked up skills and knowledge on how a nonprofit operates and can apply that knowledge later in my career.
For those who are starting an internship, be sure to walk in with a positive attitude and the determination for success. Your internship experience will be based on your attitude towards the work you do and how well you do it.
Now that I have finished my internship, I’m looking to finish up my senior year and after graduation begin the process of commissioning as an officer in the United States Air Force. It’s been a dream of mine since I was a kid to be a pilot and I feel I have what it takes to take on the challenge.
The Greater Naples Chamber of Commerce and the Board of Collier County Commissioners selected The Naples Players as the Business of the Month for June 2019.
Each month, the award is presented to an organization that has enhanced the community through financial, volunteer and active involvement in organizations and programs that creates a better quality of life for all citizens in Collier County.
The Board of Collier County Commissioners and Bethany Sawyer, the director of membership at The Greater Naples Chamber of Commerce, presented Bryce Alexander, executive director, and Derek Perry, director of development with a commemorative plaque on June 11, 2019 at the County Commission meeting.
Founded in 1953, The Naples Players provide high-quality arts access to every member of the Southwest Florida community. Their robust arts education program boasts over 1,000 students who participate in meaningful artistic programming and the organization has awarded over $60,000 in scholarships to local students in the past year.
Additionally, The Naples Players continues to make strides serving individuals with disabilities, offering Theatre therapy programming designed and taught by professional therapists and teachers.
As a hub for Collier County, The Naples Players works directly with dozens of nonprofit organizations and community groups to advance their missions and provide a safe and welcoming space for their nuanced programming. The organization is proud to maintain its extraordinary place in the community as the torchbearer for arts involvement and engagement in Southwest Florida.
To learn more about The Naples Players visit www.naplesplayers.org