NOTE: This "It's Your Business" column by Chamber CEO Erin Predmore was published in the September 10, 2021 Bloomington Herald-Times.
In 2019, the Regional Opportunity Initiatives issued a Monroe County Quality of Place & Workforce Attraction Plan. The initiative hosted a series of focus groups to develop the plan, and one of the findings included this:
Minority residents do not feel the sense of welcoming community that Monroe County prides itself on. The legacy of the Ku Klux Klan in the region is remembered and felt today. Recruiters have trouble attracting diverse candidates to the region, to Monroe County and to Bloomington.
One focus group member noted that Monroe County “thinks it’s more progressive than it actually is.” Others pointed to the existence of a Black community that’s small with a strong identity and said they stay here for that reason.
The Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce welcomes Mary Lechner and Whitney Koelling from Indiana University's O'Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs. Both Lechner and Koelling will be with the Chamber for two years. Lechner is the Vice Principal with the Chamber's Success School and working with Christopher Emge, Principal of the Success School. Koelling is the Public Policy Specialist for the Advocacy team and working with Mary Morgan, Director of Advocacy and Public Policy.
Mary Lechner is a first year MPA student at Indiana University's O'Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs. She was born and raised in Indiana. Lechner attended Indiana University where she studied Sociology and Spanish. After graduating, Lechner served with AmeriCorps for two years as a college advisor for high school seniors where she worked with amazing students, many who were the first in their families to attend college. This experience fueled her passion in advocating for access to higher education and providing students with all the options and resources to be successful and pursue their passions.
You can find Lechner spending her free time running and cycling around Bloomington or reading at a local coffee shop.
Lechner is excited to partner with schools and meet the wonderful volunteers who make the work of the Success School possible.
Whitney Koelling joins the Chamber from Indiana University’s O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs (SPEA) Masters of Public Affairs (MPA) program. She is a Paul D. Coverdell Fellow who is using her experience from her Peace Corps service in the remote Pacific Islands of Samoa to work as part of our Advocacy Team. After having spent an extended period of time overseas, she is happy to call Bloomington her new home.
Outside of work she loves to kayak on Lake Monroe, eat at many of Bloomington’s delicious local restaurants, and take her Rottweiler puppy to Switchyard Dog Park.
The Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce Offering Free Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Training to all Members
Beginning this fall, The Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce is offering Chamber members free Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) trainings through a grant from the Duke Energy Foundation. Trainings will be provided by The Guarden, which offers diversity education training for institutions, corporations, and organizations of all sizes.
The public is invited to join Chamber members on Friday, September 17, 2021, at the annual Health & Business Conference hosted by the Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce from 12:00pm to 1:00pm. The conference will be a virtual webinar via Zoom.
The program will be focused on the vision for the health community. Dr. Paul Calkins, Associate Chief Medical Executive of IU Health, Carol Weiss-Kennedy, Director of Community Health of IU Health Bloomington, and Penny Caudill, Administrator of the Monroe County Health Department, will offer insights on what is next to come at the local, regional, and state level.
The event will also include a Q&A portion where attendees will have the opportunity to ask any questions they may have.
PRESS RELEASE: The Chamber’s Bloomington Women in Leadership (BWIL) Hosts First Community Engagement Day
On Friday, August 27, 2021, The Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce’s Bloomington Women in Leadership (BWIL) will host its first Community Engagement Day. BWIL is a professional women’s group that empowers, inspires, and engages through mentorship, professional development, and community. This first Community Engagement Day will be a donation drive for The RISE! families, a transitional housing community for women and their families affected by domestic abuse.
The donation drive will be in the parking lot across the street from First United Methodist Church from 10:00AM – 2:00PM. The BWIL steering committee requests the public and local businesses take part in bringing donations of new or very gently used household items to the corner of 4th Street and Washington Street at the donation tent.
This morning, the Monroe County Board of Commissioners approved a new Health Order and Regulation from the Monroe County Health Department that states masks or face coverings will be required to be worn over an individuals nose and mouth in all indoor public places regardless of vaccination status. This step is being taken due to the sharp increase in COVID-19 cases, positivity rate, the Delta variant, and the new CDC guidance. This mandate will go into effect on Thursday, August 5th at 8:00am. Businesses will be required to post signage regarding this mandate. You can stop by the Chamber office to pick up these signs and the County will also have these signs available.
Sincere condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of Melanie Walker, President and CEO of TASUS and Tsuchiya Group North America, and an Indiana University Trustee
The members, Board of Directors, and staff of the Chamber of Commerce would like to express their sincere condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of Melanie Walker, President and CEO of TASUS and Tsuchiya Group North America, and an Indiana University Trustee. Known as an astute businessperson, inspiring leader, strong advocate for underserved children and great friend to Indiana University, she will be greatly missed by many in our community. Melanie’s death is a loss to the many of us who knew her quick wit and her smile. Chamber Board Chair from 1999-2000 and Women Excel Bloomington 2013 Honoree, Melanie led many boards and organizations throughout her career with excellence and dedication. Our prayers are with her family and friends during this difficult time.
The Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce is actively seeking candidates interested in the role of President and CEO.
The President and CEO of The Chamber is expected to be a key and effective community leader in Monroe County. Advancing the voice of commerce, playing a critical role in public policy development, strengthening the Chamber’s relevance, and providing opportunities to members to develop their businesses are core purposes of the role. The President and CEO is expected to develop strategy and see to timely tactical execution to achieve desired results for our members. Accordingly, the President is expected to select, develop, lead, and manage the Chamber staff, maintaining a collaborative environment. The President and CEO also plans, organizes, and directs all operations of the organization.
To learn more about the Chamber, visit www.chamberbloomington.org.
The board of directors for the Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce announced today that Erin Predmore will be resigning from her position as President & CEO in the coming months. Predmore will stay on through the transition and the search for the next leader of the Chamber is underway. “While being closer to our extended family will be fantastic, I know we will miss the Bloomington community a great deal. I have thoroughly enjoyed my time with the Chamber. Watching new businesses get off the ground, serving the business community during the pandemic, advocating with local, state, and federal officials, and cheering on your successes as you expand and grow – it has been wonderful,” states Predmore.
The Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce is seeking nominations for seven awards that recognize and honor individuals, businesses and organizations that have distinguished themselves through outstanding volunteerism, accomplishments and contributions in the community. The awards will be presented at The Chamber’s Annual Meeting on Thursday, September 30, 2021.
Anyone in the community may submit nominations. The forms are available by visiting www.ChamberBloomington.org or by contacting The Chamber at 812-336-6381 or info@ChamberBloomington.org. The deadline for submissions is Monday, August 23 at 5:00 p.m.
This blog contains press releases and other news updates from the Chamber.