Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Insights From the New VP

by Michelle Merritt, VP Member Relations & Communications

With three weeks now complete I’ve been learning so much!  As you may know, I’m not only the newest VP at the Chamber but this is my first time as VP.  Now I’m not much on titles (although seeing VP on the door is pretty cool), & I find myself simply saying “I work for the Chamber”.  One of my favorite bosses early in my career would never admit he was the company owner.  If you asked for the owner, he’d say “I’m sorry, I’m the janitor.”  His motto was that he would never be too important to empty the trash can or work the front desk.  I learned a lot from those early days, & while I thought he was being modest what I realize today is that he was laying the ground work for collaboration within his team.

Collaboration is one of those buzz words in business right now that everyone seems to be using.  It’s not a new word.  In fact the urban dictionary barely has any definition for it.  They simply say “work together”.   Merriam-Webster gives a little more by defining it as “to work jointly with others or together especially in an intellectual endeavor”.  Maybe it’s one of the positives that has come out of our economic challenges…we’re a little more willing to collaborate.  It’s the foundation for our work here at the Chamber too.

Thanks to Bob, my old boss, I’ve learned that collaboration really starts with checking your ego at the door & being willing to extend your hand first in business or personal relationships.  Stepping into this leadership role serves as a reminder every day of how important these actions are.  I’ve committed to making sure my door remains open, figuring out the commercial grade coffee maker (that certainly proves more challenging than my $9 Mr Coffee at home), and always asking how we can help.  I’m learning to be flexible, think really fast, and trust my gut.

Here at the Chamber we strive to maintain that “dive right in” mentality.  I’m so fortunate to be a part of a team that’s working to SERVE the member & the Fort Wayne community!  We’re here to partner with you & your business, to make doing business in Fort Wayne the best it can possibly be.  You have our commitment to work together, to collaborate with you, to support you, and to do all we can to make your business a great success!

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