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Chamber connects with its ambassadors

They initiate contact with members to address issues

Aug. 28, 2012

The Wauwatosa Chamber of Commerce has renewed its ambassadors program, giving two chamber members a broader role in recruitment, retention and member outreach.

"It's providing that one-to-one knowledge base on a people-to-people basis," said ambassador Joe Torelli, a financial planner with Raymond James Financial.

Team approach

Since spring, Torelli and Dick Deschane, an account executive with Access Information Management, have been volunteering about a half day a week, making appointments with and dropping in on members businesses to assess issues they face and how the chamber can help.

They work as a team, looking for "what the chamber can do better, and how the member can maximize benefit to use all the resources out there," Torelli said.

The ambassadors can even try to arrange a meeting between the business and a city official such as the mayor if they have an issue related to government, Torelli said.

Deschane said sometimes they'll act in a recruitment role, stopping in to a member's neighboring business to see if they have an interest in what the chamber offers.

Topics of concern

Deschane said road construction and the upcoming rebuilding of the Zoo Interchange is a topic of concern to the business community. Torelli said the construction produces not anxiety so much as a need to explore ways to compensate for the road closures. "How do they get the word out about how the customers can get to them?" is the question, Torelli said.

For the construction on Mayfair Road, Deschane said, "they know it's going to be a good thing when it's done" and the inconvenience is relatively short-term.

Other problems also arise.

"Some have new businesses, and they want to improve foot traffic," Torelli said.

One way to address this may be to set up a Business After Hours event - a chamber meeting at the business. "It's like an open house, so we set up an open house for that business," Torelli said.

About the chamber

The chamber has 225 member businesses. It meets every other Wednesday for a breakfast networking event called ABLE West (Active Business Leads Exchange) with Brookfield and West Allis/West Milwaukee chamber members. Monthly meetings are held with the South and North suburban chambers.

The Tosa chamber by itself holds Business After Hours or other social gatherings every other month.

The chamber event next month is 10 Days in Tosa, beginning Sept. 10, featuring dining deals at Wauwatosa restaurants.

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