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.
ALEX BREAULT, DIRECTOR OF WORK-BASED LEARNING
With summer quickly approaching, students across the region are starting to sketch out plans for their time off from school. For some, that may mean a part-time job or volunteering. For others, it’s the perfect opportunity to explore an internship.
Volunteer hours are now a graduation requirement at many high schools and colleges. Students try to complete these hours early in their education usually with an organization they are passionate about, but they’re often faced with a question of how they can earn money, while also gaining the valuable experience necessary to excel in their chosen field.
The solution: Internships. As more and more employers throughout Southwest Florida offer paid internships, students can get hand-on experience in their area of interest while earning a small income.
Alex Breault, director of Work-Based Learning for The Greater Naples Chamber of Commerce (Photo: Photo provided)
Internships have a long-term impact on a student’s future. Traditional part-time, summer jobs are beneficial in a wide variety of ways, including teaching students the necessary soft skills – from arriving on time to customer service – that are vital to their future success. But they aren’t always in a student’s desired area of professional growth.
Traditional internships provide students with access to training that will hone their skills, mentors who will encourage their success, and opportunities that will open their eyes to what the future can hold.
While the number of internships is growing, not every student can spend a summer working in their desired field. That means employers across all industries should take steps to create positions that emulate the internship experience. At the Leadership Collier Foundation, an affiliate of the Naples Chamber, we work with local businesses and schools to create the right opportunities for our businesses and future talent.
When our team talks to employers about intern opportunities, we encourage them to consider hiring a student beginning at minimum wage. Although unpaid internships are beneficial to students who receive school credit, employers who can offer paid internships are quickly able to see it was worth the investment. Offering paid internships opens the door to a more diverse pool of interns, allows interns to feel like they are part of the team, and leads to a more productive and positive experience. As students begin their hunt for a summer job, we encourage local businesses to look at ways they can incorporate work-based learning into their offerings.Students who have traditional, part-time jobs – such as working in the mall or at a restaurant – should be able to have the same education-based experience as an intern. Employers can do that by providing student employees with a variety of learning opportunities, from providing an inside look at operations and the opportunity to work in other departments to continued education and constructive feedback.
And traditional internships aren’t always the answer. Employers can consider adding micro-internships to their host of opportunities, opening the door to the next generation of employees. These are short-term, paid professional assignments that can be completed by an entry-level new hire, with minimal guidance or onboarding. Micro-internship projects can be anything from social media monitoring, to data clean up or content creation. Assignments can range from five to 40 hours of work, typically pay between $200 and $600 per project, and can be completed remotely. This type of internship is attractive to employers who either aren’t ready to host an intern or don’t have the resources to hire a part-time intern.
“I believe that the best real-work experience a student can have is through an internship,” said Denise Murphy, general manager at the The Players Club & Spa. “Internships help students develop and learn professional skills that promote growth and development. As an employer, it gives us the opportunity to mentor, teach and guide our interns in their learning process. The best part is we get to nurture their skillset and ideally bring them on as a paid full-time employee.”
Our economy thrives when we provide students with educational and fulfilling work experiences. These opportunities expose students to high-skill, high-wage jobs available in Southwest Florida and help grow the next generation of community leaders.
For more information about work-based learning, visit www.NaplesChamber.org/CollierLeads.
Original Story shared in Naples Daily News
Dave Weston, the chief operating officer at Naples Lumber & Supply, is the 2019 recipient of the Naples Chamber Chairman’s Award. Weston is being honored for his dedication to community betterment and continued support of the Chamber. He will be recognized at the Chamber’s Annual Meeting on Thursday, May 16 at The Ritz Carlton Golf Resort, Naples.
The Chairman’s Award is a chance for the Chamber’s chairman to recognize an individual who has helped the organization reach its goal and fulfill the mission of making Collier County the best place in America to live, work and visit. The recipient is selected by the chairman of the Naples Chamber Board of Directors, in consultation with the president and CEO.
Weston has a long and distinguished career in Collier County. He has served as the chief operating officer at Naples Lumber & Supply since 2007, where he oversees a variety of day-to-day activities and coordinates long-range planning. Prior to joining Naples Lumber, Weston spent more than two decades with Coastal Engineering Consultants.
“I was surprised and humbled by this recognition,” said Weston. “There are so many people working so hard on so many important initiatives through the Chamber that are equally, if not more, deserving.”
Weston, a 1990 graduate of Leadership Collier, served as the chairman of the Naples Chamber Board of Directors from 2001 to 2002. He served on the board from 1997 until 2004, and currently serves as an honorary director.
Weston was chosen because of his continued dedication to community betterment. He played a pivotal role in the Chamber’s involvement in Collier County’s 2018 infrastructure sales surtax campaign, serving as treasurer of the One Collier political committee. In that role, Weston spearheaded the fundraising efforts and served as a key campaign advisor. Collier County voters approved the seven-year, one-cent infrastructure sales tax 51 percent to 49 percent.
“We are honored to present this award to Dave Weston. His commitment to the Chamber and service to the community has had an everlasting impact,” said Bill Barker, president of Naples Daily News and The News Press and Southeast regional president for the USA Today Network and LocalIQ. “His humble leadership over the past several decades is an example for current and future Collier County leaders. We can’t thank Dave enough for his support.”
In addition to his work with the Chamber, Weston has served as the chairman of the Neighborhood Health Clinic Board of Directors; chairman of the Florida Building Materials Association; the vice president of the Collier Building Industry Association; and a member of the International College (Hodges University) President’s Council.
The Chamber’s Annual meeting celebrates the organization’s accomplishments with recognitions, honors and a keynote address. To learn more about the 2019 Annual Meeting visit www.NaplesChamber.org/annualmeeting
We like to think big at the Naples Chamber. On March 12 our team members CEO and President Michael Dalby, Director of Government Relations Jenna Buzzacco-Foerster, and former state Sen. Garrett Richter went to Tallahassee to speak with state leaders about local issues such as water quality, tourism and economic opportunity.
Our roles as Collier County community members does not stop at the polls. By sharing your opinions and ideas with your representatives and senators in Tallahassee, you help them decide what to do about the issues and pending legislation that affect us all. They value your suggestions and encourage you to express them. Click here for tips on how you can effectively communicate with your legislator on issues that are important to you.
Do you know who your legislator is? Visit the Naples Chamber’s Advocacy Action Center to find your legislator, track legislation and sign up for action alerts.
Florida Senate Majority Leader Kathleen Passidomo, Jenna Buzzacco-Foerster, Michael Dalby and former state Sen. Garrett Richter during a trip to the Florida Capitol.
Agriculture Commissioner Nikkie Fried, Michael Dalby, Jenna Buzzacco-Foerster and former state Sen. Garrett Richter.
Rep. Ana Maria Rodriguez with former state Sen. Garrett Richter, Jenna Buzzacco-Foerster and Michael Dalby.
CFO Jimmy Patronis, former state Sen. Garrett Richter, Michael Dalby and Jenna Buzzacco-Foerster
Former state Sen. Garrett Richter, Jenna Buzzacco-Foerster and Michael Dalby during a trip to the Florida Capitol.
Join us Tuesday, March 12 at the Vineyards Country Club from 4 -7 p.m. for our bi-annual Member Showcase!
The Naples Chamber Member Showcase is the perfect gathering of local community members. Under one roof you'll have industry experts that promote innovation and collaboration. We are excited to offer the opportunity for you to connect with others and find a potential new client.
Here are five benefits from attending the Member Showcase:
Enjoy delicious food, refreshing beverages and enjoy strolling through the booths. Don't forget to bring your business cards for our exciting door prize drawings.