A Drive for Business

RANCHO CORDOVA, CA (MPG)  |  By Jacqueline Fox & MPG Staff
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Diann Rogers was hired to serve as president and CEO of the Rancho Cordova Chamber of Commerce in 2011. Since that time membership has grown by approximately 30 percent.

RANCHO CORDOVA, CA (MPG) - The Rancho Cordova Chamber is planning their big celebration of the annual BIBA’s (Best In Business Awards) and installation luncheon.  This event honors local businesses and individuals for their significant role in driving business and economic growth and prosperity.

With a growing local economy and an upswing in consumer confidence, the future appears bright for businesses in the region. With an expanding business footprint and an improving consumer purchasing climate, having a strong and supportive business organization becomes even more important to the city.

More businesses are choosing to drop their roots deep into the heart of Rancho Cordova. The BIBA’s recognize those who are at the forefront of business and making the city a better place to live.  

Awards will be presented by the chamber for the Business of the Year (by size of the business determined by number of employees), Rising Star, Ambassador of the Year and the Chairman’s Award.

The event will also recognize outgoing board members who have completed their year of service to the community. New chamber board members will be announced.

The event will be held at River City Christian Church, 10933 Progress Ct, Rancho Cordova on Thursday, March 15.

Doors Open at 11:30 am. To purchase tickets or to find out more contact the chamber at (916) 273-5700 or email Info@RanchoCordova.org

Interview by Jacqueline Fox

In 2011 Diann Rogers was hired to serve as president and CEO of the Rancho Cordova Chamber of Commerce.  She previously served as senior vice president for the Folsom chamber’s government relations committee.  Since taking over, membership has grown by roughly 30 percent. Her strategy? Fine-tuning programs to meet members’ needs, creating inter-chamber events, fostering member-to-member collaborations and ramping up legislative advocacy work at the state and federal levels.

Q: What is the chamber’s current membership and how has that changed under your leadership?

A: We currently have approximately 450 active members.  When I took over as chamber president, we had roughly 380 members.  Now, it is really important that people understand the numbers are always evolving.

Q: How many members sit on your board of directors?

A: Our bylaws allow between 12 and 25 and we currently have 20.  Everyone contributes equally, whether you are a small business owner or representing SMUD, it doesn’t make any difference. It’s the collective sprit of this chamber that makes it work. This is where two plus two equals five. I have the most active board I’ve had in years and a really talented staff.  I love coming to work every day. It’s a passion.

Q: What’s been your chief strategy for growing and retaining your membership?

A: I think it has been through a consistent evaluation of the programs and services we provide, asking ourselves if we are truly providing value to our members.  Nobody walks out of a chamber with a set of tires, so we have to show and demonstrate the value to them, and if we don’t, then people have a right to take their money elsewhere.

Q: What has been your biggest area of growth with respect to member participation?

A: I’m very proud of the growth of our Business Expo.  In 2011 we had approximately 32 vendors and roughly 100 guests. Now, it’s about 100 vendors inside and outside city hall and we have about 700 visitors.

Q: Networking is so important.  How does the chamber promote networking?

A: Face-to-face networking opportunities are still the number one reason for joining a chamber. However, approaches have adapted and changed to serve member interests and schedules.  We now have two different versions of our Monthly Power Lunch, for example.  We have the Highway 50 lunch with the Folsom and El Dorado Hills chambers.  We also do a quarterly Sunrise Corridor luncheon with the Fair Oaks and Carmichael chambers. It didn’t always work this way.  Chambers have traditionally been very territorial, but we have learned that if you want to remain relevant, you can’t do that anymore.  Business doesn’t begin or end at a city or county line.

Q: What programs or services are your primary focus?

A: There are three focuses we try to maintain: networking opportunities, business services and advocacy.  Tools we offer are aimed at helping to support members with information and access to things like how to go green, tax incentives and other issues.  We also are here to make connections between our members.  For example, SMUD has millions of dollars in contracts and we work to make connections between them and small-to-mid-sized members.  It’s about providing a safe place for people to come for help or find someone to talk to.  And, primarily since the recession, our role as an advocate has also grown. We are the voice for and about business, and that’s something I take very seriously. 

Q: What is the Rancho Chamber focused on at the advocacy level?

A: So many bills in the Legislature impact our members; bills on ADA issues and minimum wage, as an example.  So I take a great deal of pride in our work tracking those.  Also, we have just launched into a contract with UCAN - United Chamber Advocacy Network, which will serve as a compliment to the California Chamber of Commerce.  It’s more boots on the ground at the legislative level.

Q: What changes have you implemented with your annual events?

A: We have dramatically shifted how we do events.  For example, last year at this time we were doing our Aloha evening dinner and raffle.  But after listening to our members and identifying what their needs are, there was a desire for a big, annual daytime event.  The evening events just don’t work as well anymore.  So we’re having a big, annual luncheon that ties our installation of new officers, recognition of outgoing board members and the Best In Business Awards together as one event.

Q: How have member-to-member relationships changed?

A: The single biggest thing I’ve seen is a spike in collaboration between members.. The Barrel District (beer and distilleries) is a great example.  They get together and they talk about things.  Businesses are coming together, turning up for each other’s ribbon cutting ceremonies. They understand that collaboration is key.

Diann Rogers was hired to serve as president and CEO of the Rancho Cordova Chamber of Commerce in 2011.  Since that time membership has grown by approximately 30 percent. Diann Rogers, President and CEO, Rancho Cordova Chamber of Commerce.