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By Susie Lantz
The San Clemente Chamber of Commerce recently held a virtual “lunchinar” for our members. It was a midday educational session for business leaders on how to perfect their (elevator) pitches.
We ran a short lesson, followed by an opportunity for the participants to share their unique business angles. It was great to observe the helpful suggestions and polite critiques among the members.
At the end of the session, I presented the Chamber’s pitch, and was surprised and delighted when our members began chiming in with wonderful comments:
“This Chamber is not what I expected—I thought it would be stuffy and old-school.”
And the best comment of all relayed that the San Clemente Chamber of Commerce is actually very hip—”You should call it The New Chamber.”
Wow! I was overjoyed to learn that our members view the Chamber this way, and am proud to share a bit of what we have been up to this year:
Our staff has been hyper-focused on providing timely, helpful information to our members—filtering the most pertinent news directly from our trustworthy sources (legislators, county, city, etc.) and delivering what we believe to be the most important messages. Long gone are the days of the bulky newsletter. Instead, we rebranded our e-news to launch Chamber Shorts—small, digestible bites of information designed to help move our members forward, one step at a time.
The San Clemente Chamber community includes more than 400 members and an email list of 1,000 individuals. Our staff connects daily with this vast network, promoting and encouraging engagement between the businesses and community. Surprisingly, networking via Zoom has proven to be both efficient and effective. And our member referrals program remains active and strong.
In addition to seminars on COVID-19 testing, business reopening guidance and city updates, our most unique program was entitled Bias in the Media, presented by First Amendment Voice, a nonpartisan and locally run nonprofit organization. Nearly 50 individuals participated in this session on how we obtain and consume news. The controversial Media Bias Chart was presented, and breakout rooms allowed participants to engage in polite and enlightening discussions about how we are evolving along with the media.
This year more than ever, our staff has utilized social media to share our partners’ messages on Facebook, Instagram, and now YouTube (I guess this is where the “hip” comes in). In addition to promoting our member businesses, we worked closely with the Downtown Business Association to develop the #SCStayStrong campaign and Facebook group, where all local businesses can share their promotions. The city then came on board as a partner for the Staying Healthy Means Staying Open outreach program, symbolized with citywide posters and a fantastic banner on El Camino Real.
Leading into the elections, the San Clemente Chamber’s Business for a Better San Clemente PAC, together with First Amendment Voice, hosted two, two-hour candidate forums, bringing an opportunity for our community members to meet San Clemente’s many wonderful candidates for city council. Recorded sessions of the two forums can be viewed at scchamber.com. Who knew that a Zoom forum could be so great?
The San Clemente Chamber of Commerce is delighted to have delivered great value to our community this year. Despite 2020’s challenges, we’ve welcomed many new friends into membership and invited returning members to stay involved through our Chamber Loyal program.
Our organization is honored to work in partnership with so many dedicated stakeholders. Together, we are creating “The New (and very hip) Chamber.”
We invite YOU—our businesses, nonprofits and retirees—to enhance your community connections through membership with the San Clemente Chamber of Commerce. Join us at scchamber.com.
Susie Lantz is the membership director for the San Clemente Chamber of Commerce, and works alongside Arlen Flores, director of Operations, and Joey Brett in Customer Relations. Susie joined the Chamber in 2019, after having spent several years working in advertising and marketing with the San Clemente Times, where she remains a loyal supporter of local media and the Picket Fence Media family.