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Learning the ropes: the chamber's Ambassador Committee helps new members maximize their membership.

As I attend numerous Detroit Regional Chamber events in my role as chair of the chamber's Ambassador Committee, sporting a nametag with an "Ambassador" badge, I am asked, "What's an ambassador?" Go to Webster's and you will see numerous word descriptives: representative, envoy, diplomat. All are apropos and yet, incomplete in this particular context.

Just over two years ago, the chamber inaugurated an initiative designed to serve as an additional resource, among many, for its membership, designating some twenty dedicated chamber members to interface with new as well as existing members in order to engage and reengage, connect and introduce.

While far from a new idea, the Ambassador Committee came about and prepares to begin its third year during times when it has never been more important. Today, more than ever, people do business with people they know and trust. To be sure, business and new business development are all about relationships. Additionally, as the Detroit Regional Chamber (and its 20,000 member companies) remains one of the country's largest, it offers countless resources and services that help its members do business more effectively. Here, we work hard to remind and recommend.

As I meet with members, no matter their tenure with the chamber, I always recommend: In order to maximize your membership, get involved, be active and stay active. Belonging to any organization can and should be so much more than a blurb on a CV or line and logo on a Web site. Attend events, join committees, be seen and be heard. Also be patient. Effective, strategic networking takes time and dedication and a willingness to listen as much as talk. Rome wasn't built in a day, after all.

From Leadership Detroit to the Detroit Regional Partnership (DREP) to the annual Leadership Policy Conference on Mackinac Island, the Detroit Regional Chamber truly provides its members with access, advocacy and action. Take advantage.

Finally, though I have been named by my peers as "Ambassador of the Year" (something for which I am equal parts surprised, humbled and grateful), in my opinion the award/accolade could just as easily have gone to any member of the ambassador Committee. To a man and a woman, each gives graciously and selflessly of their time, energy and knowledge. They are ambassadors in every sense of the word for a group that is sure to continue to play a vital role in making sure business gets done in Metro Detroit, southeast Michigan and throughout the state.


Don Tanner is a partner with Tanner Friedman Strategic Communications, a Bronze level member of the Detroit Regional Chamber.
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Title Annotation:YEAR IN REVIEW
Author:Tanner, Don
Date:Sep 1, 2009
Previous Article:Why I serve on a committee: Event Advisory Council is just one of the ways for volunteers to get involved.
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