A Message from Your Indiana County Chamber President

Mark Hilliard, President - Indiana County Chamber of Commerce

Chambers of Commerce COVID-19 Response

Overwhelming organizations, COVID-19 has left numerous businesses with an uncertain future. While some have shut their doors to practice social distancing, many have been limited to opening on the web and pivoting their business models. Now, striving to overcome online networking and work environment hurdles have been common practice. Luckily, Chambers of Commerce have answered the call to aid businesses by lending a helping hand.

“I found that the worst situations bring out the best people…” (you know) “…People helping people!” stated Mark Hilliard, Indiana County Chamber of Commerce, President.

June 29, 2020 – Serving over 600 members, Mark Hilliard was gracious enough during this time to share his perspective. Here are some of the things Mark had to say about how the community is transitioning to a virtual/online environment:

  • Events are held virtually
  • State of the County address held as a webinar
  • Educational business development initiative 
    • ‘Think Tank’ for businesses (members/non-members)
    • Working on Indiana shop local week
    • Small business Saturday events
    • Made a Facebook Group to support growth

While many have not returned to the office environment, we have found that Mark has been communicating with community members from his office via Zoom. In asking him questions about the chamber’s response to COVID-19 here are some key areas of note:

Question: What was the first email you sent and what was your reaction?

Answer:

  • First Email:
    • Sent guidelines for the shutdown
  • First Outreach:
  • Knee-jerk Reaction:
    • Overwhelmed
    • Not a lot of resources to provide for others

Question: How was the change to remote networking and operations?

Answer: 

  • Limited networking opportunities – lack of understanding tools available
  • Even harder as a group over internet
    • Too many people talking over each other

Question: How did you adjust to reach more members?

Answer: 

  • “Heavy dose of social media”
  • Anyone who needed help were helped out and supported
    • Didn’t care about whether they were a member or not
  • Communicate with local radio station
  • Looking more for mass media opportunities

Question: What industry do you think was more equipped to handle this?

Answer: 

  • He doesn’t know if any industry was well equipped
  • Mostly digital

Question: What did planning and execution look like during the ‘Go Green’ initiative?

Answer:

  • Held regular zoom meetings, establishing plans to reopen

The Indiana County Chamber response is a significant contribution for the recovery of companies due to the pandemic. Leaders, like Mark Hilliard, contribute to growth plans needed to stimulate their own company, as well as others that need the support. Here at Trav Media Group we thank the chambers and appreciate their efforts to help give momentum to the companies in need.

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