Evart Chamber of Commerce members brainstorm about organization’s direction

EVART — When the Evart Chamber of Commerce met for its regular monthly meeting on Wednesday, Oct. 12, the board of directors and members had a lot to discuss, including a vacant president’s position.

Prior to the meeting, board vice president Eric Schmidt sent a letter to members highlighting recent activities needing attention, including the resignation of board president Dan Joyce and the need to fill the position, as well as having a discussion about the possibility of hiring a director. Joyce remains on the chamber’s board.

With only a handful of members showing up to the lunchtime meeting, there were no members interested in or nominated for the vacant president’s position.

Discussion then turned to chamber events and the work done behind the scenes.

When it comes to those activities, Schmidt explained there are very few volunteers to help and much of the organizing and execution of the events falls back to board members — the same ones who have done them in the past.

“You can easily get burned out, as you’re always having to ask your family and other board members and their families to help with them,” he said. “It’s the same people doing them every year.”

Schmidt added it becomes more of a job for board members rather than an event that is supposed to be fun. Other times, Schmidt said, it becomes one board member doing the event for years and years, and no one but that person is aware of how much work is involved.

Schmidt, along with board secretary Sally Zoyiopoulos and members Molly Cataldo and Joyce wanted to find out if there was any interest in hiring a director and what members thought. The vice presidents wondered if the chamber should continue doing one or two events and have community organizations take over for other activities.

While no motion was made to hire a director, the board and members openly brainstormed about an executive position.

“We have to take into account everything that would go into the job like this,” Joyce said. “We want and need to be the best we can be.”

In the initial phase of discussion, Schmidt said there hasn’t been any thought about, whether it would be a part-time position or what the responsibilities would entail.

“We just want to see what everyone thinks,” he said. “The bigger the discussion, the better idea we get as a board on what members think of a director, how a director would serve the chamber or if we even need one.”

Joyce said chamber members and the board would need to determine a direction they want the chamber to go, whether or not they want to be solely an events organization or if they want to be focused on growing membership while maintaining current events.

“These are all things that need to be figured out, before a director could be looked at,” he said.

Joyce added he has had conversations with other chambers, some bigger and smaller, and they’ve expressed a willingness to visit Evart and share with members about what they do and how it is accomplished.