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What Can We Accomplish Together as a Chamber Community?

What Can We Accomplish Together as a Chamber Community?

Under the leadership of John A. Roebling, The Board of Trade of the City of Trenton was founded in 1868. This was the first chamber of commerce in New Jersey. Of course, the organization changed names several times over the next 150 years before merging with the Princeton Chamber to become the Princeton Mercer Regional Chamber.

Mr. Roebling didn’t necessarily need the support of other area businesses to grow John A. Roebling’s Sons Company, a top steel manufacturer and engineering firm. Construction was already underway on the Brooklyn Bridge, which was engineered by Mr. Roebling, built with Roebling steel rope, and would become the world’s longest suspension bridge by a wide margin at the time. The company was doing just fine on its own.

However, Mr. Roebling recognized that businesses could influence positive change and trends by coming together, supporting each other, and speaking as one united voice. “A rising tide lifts all boats,” as John F. Kennedy once said. Not coincidentally, this was the slogan of a regional chamber of commerce in New England.

Flipping the Script

Many conversations between the Princeton Mercer Regional Chamber team and prospective members focus on what the Chamber can do for them and why membership is a wise investment. At the same time, we believe local professionals should consider what we can do together as a Chamber community to promote economic development, professional development, and the overall well-being of the communities we serve.

“If you look at our largest flagship members, they’re not necessarily looking for business at Chamber events, but they’re the area’s biggest job creators,” said Gretchen DiMarco, Vice President of Operations for the Princeton Mercer Chamber. “They hire local accountants, marketing firms, cleaning companies, and other local businesses. When members of all sizes engage in some fashion, we all win – not just by finding new clients but by helping everyone succeed together.”

The Chamber offers a number of programs focused on supporting and improving the region’s business community. Let’s discuss how three of these programs deliver value and create opportunities for growth.

Central NJ Nonprofit Council

The Central NJ Nonprofit Council (CNJNC) hosts events and leads initiatives that bring together leaders and supporters from the local arts, cultural, nonprofit, and business sectors, as well as educational institutions.

For example, the CNJNC will host “Transforming Your Organization with Artificial Intelligence,” a panel featuring three experts in the AI space discussing and answering questions about how to use and implement AI in an organization and everyday life. This event will be held Tuesday, April 16 from 8 am – 10 am at NJM Insurance Group, 301 Sullivan Way in West Trenton.

Trenton Economic Development Series

The Trenton Economic Development Series highlights opportunities for progress in the Capital City, including many ongoing projects and initiatives that are already contributing to Trenton’s revitalization. Business and local government leaders keep members and the general community updated on exciting developments and investments that are coming to Trenton.

“We manage this program with Greater Trenton, which has the boots on the ground,” Gretchen said. “The fact that we’re able to bring positive attention to the wonderful work being done in Trenton to an audience across Mercer County and beyond is very important.”

Young Professionals Program

The Young Professionals (YP) Program harnesses the energy and ambition of young talent. Unique events provide a comfortable setting for cultivating relationships that could very well last throughout their career. The YP Program also offers mentoring and educational opportunities that help young professionals succeed and contribute to their community.

“I was part of a YP Program and those relationships that I built back then are some of the strongest relationships I have now,” Gretchen said. “These folks are now leading the Chamber, serving on the board, and moving into senior executive roles in their own companies.”

Last month’s YP networking event at Killarney’s in Hamilton sold out with nearly 100 people registered. Young professionals from all walks of life from Princeton, Hopewell, and up and down the Route One corridor joined together to raise their glasses, meet new people, and support each other’s professional development.

Price of Association

When you join the chamber, engage with members, attend and sponsor events, and share Chamber news, events, and initiatives with your network, you’re supporting the work of the Chamber. You’re making it possible to elevate our entire region’s business community.

“Local organizations should be proud of their role in bringing businesses together and providing resources and programs that lift everyone,” Gretchen said. “We believe there’s tremendous pride of association in seeing the impact of the Chamber’s work and saying, ‘I’m part of that.’ The Chamber has a big tent, and everyone is welcome to come to the table.”

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