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Bates: Chamber work can boost job skills

Published: Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT

Gary Reese, president of the Crystal Lake Chamber of Commerce, wrote an outstanding column last week regarding the financial rate-of-return chamber members receive from chamber involvement. You may have been surprised at how much involved chamber members gain financially.

This gain comes through the development of trusting relationships that result in referral sources and potential clients. Yet there is even more to be gained through chamber membership.

Just a few ways I have seen involved members gain are as follows: First, personal development. I have seen many grow confidence through working on committees or speaking before a group. People then take this new acquired skill back to their workplace. Leadership development happens often with involved members. Guiding a committee toward a successful event, learning to work with varied personalities and handling problems as they arise are skills that can be transferred to any job.

Sharing ideas and looking to gain from the triumphs and failures of others is an advantage to chamber membership. Involved members learn from others to avoid the pitfalls of business that those who are isolated fall into.

A side advantage to chamber membership is the development of friendships. Working together with others for the betterment of the chamber and the community can’t help but build longstanding relationships.

Lastly, sometimes the involved member may find he is unemployed. It happens. When it does, I have seen the job searcher turn to his chamber community for support finding referrals for a new future. The word is involved.

Successful chamber members grow financially, personally and securely through chamber involvement, but one must meet the chamber halfway. One must be involved to reap rewards.

• • •

Twelve booths are left for the “Life is a Journey Expo” featuring specialists in all streets of life from pet care to vacation fun, retiring happy and children’s activities. Entertainment includes the Coupon Queen, “Aging with Humor” by Susan Salach, amazing animals and home improvement.

Also available at this free event will be a drawing for a trip compliments of Worldwide Traveler. Thank you to sponsors Centegra Health System, Worldwide Traveler, Bjorkman’s Ace Hardware, and the Northwest Herald.

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The McHenry Area Chamber of Commerce invites you to attend a Breakfast N’ Learn on “HR for Business in 3 Easy Steps!” presented by the OutSource Group. This three-part series takes place from 7:30 to 8:30 a.m. Feb. 21, March 7 and March 21. Arrive at 7 a.m. for a free breakfast.

Feb. 21: How do you balance the growth of your business with the demands of day to day operations? We will delve into multi-tasking, customer service, office operations, and how to efficiently manage.

March 7: How do you think government defines your business? We will review compliance and the impact regulations have on your business. The Healthcare Reform Act, accounting, and annual tax changes will be touched on.

March 21: Do you truly understand the human capital equation in your business? We’ll explore the human capital equation and how that relates to a business and how payroll, employment laws, workers compensation, SUTA, FUTA, policy handbook, OSHA and benefits affect your human capital.

The Outsource Group Inc. has been customizing administrative programs for companies since 2003. Register at

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Our next mixer is at 11:45 a.m. Feb. 8 at Blooms and Rooms.

• Kay Rial Bates is the president and CEO of the McHenry Area Chamber of Commerce. She can be reached at

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