Montgomery Business Journal

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Chamber Ambassadors

Chamber’s Ambassadors Play Critical Role After Hours

November/Dceember 2013
By David Zaslawsky
Photography by Robert Fouts

If you’re a member of the Montgomery Area Chamber Commerce and attend one of the monthly 60-Minute Coffees or Business After-Hours, you have seen some members wearing silver name badges. Those people are Chamber Ambassadors and play a vital role for the organization.

“They are key to our success,” said Patsy Guy, vice president, Member & Investor Relations for the Chamber.  “As far as being a membership-driven organization, we don’t have enough staff to go out and engage all of our approximately 1,900 members.” She said Ambassadors attend networking events as well as ribbon cuttings/groundbreakings and assist at such major Chamber functions as the Diversity Summit and Annual Meeting by greeting people and working at the registration tables.

There are requirements that Ambassadors attend all the coffees and after-hours events and three ribbon cuttings/groundbreakings a quarter. There is also a 90-minute quarterly meeting, where participants receive professional development information and tips.

Chamber members can submit an application to become an Ambassador and those applications go through a review process.

Some of the Ambassadors have served as long as 15 years and they are a diverse group that includes a wide variety of companies and those connections can help with their careers.

“I’ve had many Ambassadors tell me that you only get out of it what you put into it, like most meaningful things,” Guy said.

The Ambassadors’ role at networking events is to help those who may feel uncomfortable in that type of setting by introducing them to other Chamber members. “Their job is to look for that person who is not engaged,” Guy said.

The Chamber’s Ambassador program is an opportunity for members to become more engaged and, in particular, a great vehicle for newcomers to learn more about the Chamber and community, according to Guy.

“We have a lot of bankers who are Ambassadors,” Guy said. “It’s an opportunity for them to meet people that are just going into business and looking for their services. I want the Ambassadors to be able to make connections and get business out of this because they are only helping their peer members by offering their service or product. I want the Ambassadors to be self-serving.”

The program has swelled from 60 or so to 90 Ambassadors this year because more and more people are interested in participating, Guy said. “They see the benefit of having the access to the information along with an opportunity to get the word out about their own businesses.”

The Ambassador of the quarter receives high-profile recognition at a Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors meeting and the Ambassador of the year is announced at an annual appreciation party. 


Ex-ambassador Rose to Become Chamber Chairman

By David Zaslawsky

Todd Strange came to Montgomery in 1977 as an executive with South Central Bell. He also became an Ambassador for the Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce.

As an Ambassador, Strange, who has been mayor of Montgomery since 2009, called on businesses to sell them Chamber memberships and told executives about “the advantages of Chamber membership,” he said. “We were salespeople.”

Strange said that during his time as an Ambassador, he learned about the city, but there was another benefit. “You rub shoulders with some of the leadership that was then and certainly are today. The most important thing was that you were put in the presence of the shakers and movers of this community.”

He said that being an Ambassador “did meet an expectation of Bell to be involved in the community. I believe that every corporation has a civic obligation to give back to their community.”

He eventually was picked to serve on the Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and became chairman of the board in 1996.

If you would like to become a Chamber Ambassador, contact Lynn Norton, senior manager, Member & Investor Relations for the Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce at (334) 240-9431 or email her at: lnorton@montgomerychamber.com.

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