A day in the life of a Chamber of Commerce employee can take you anywhere.
The day may start out with a statewide Zoom meeting to discuss a policy issue, such as the paid sick leave bill, only to be distracted by a call from someone looking for someone to play bagpipes at a funeral.
Each day at Artesia Chamber of Commerce is an adventure. Although some days are quieter than others, there is always a project in progress, an idea being developed, conversations, assistance, events, and more.
As the COVID pandemic took hold, Chambers across the state, like most other businesses, slowed … at first. What chamber execs discovered almost immediately is that the pace of work wouldn’t change, just the type of work they do. Chambers shifted from planning the golf tournaments, greeting travelers, and organizing ribbon cuttings to wrapping their arms around the abundance of COVID information and making sure their communities stayed informed. The focus then shifted more toward how to help member businesses, manage their own Chamber non-profit budgets, and keep a smile and positive attitude during a time in which everyone was hurting.
Through the COVID era, local Chambers of Commerce freshly developed relationships that may have been secondary to their core work in the pre-COVID era. An association of New Mexico Chamber Executives and the New Mexico Chamber of Commerce, which historically met just once or twice a year, began meeting twice weekly via Zoom. While nothing can replace the in-person experience, Zoom has brought together chamber execs from across the state and COVID has allowed them to find commonalities, learn from each other, and work together to support issues we share.
Since March 2020, the New Mexico Chamber Executives Association and the New Mexico Chamber of Commerce have worked closely together to coordinate COVID responses and provide information on relief programs, testing, and vaccines. The group also helped distribute almost 200,000 masks to local small businesses around the state early in the pandemic, when local communities were having difficulty finding PPE.
Together, local chamber execs and the New Mexico Chamber of Commerce have also coordinated efforts around email and media communications campaigns and direct legislative outreach to elected officials on issues ranging from paid sick leave to anti-fracking efforts. They added additional support for local tourism and marketing dollars as we come out of the pandemic. Throughout the last year-and-a-half, local chambers have supported and coordinated, with their local community, to provide them a voice. The State Chamber, by working in partnership with the local chambers, has helped elevate and empower that voice in Santa Fe and Washington DC.
As we move beyond the pandemic era, Artesia Chamber of Commerce looks forward to continuing the work chambers are defined to do — work for our community on common issues to improve business conditions, our local and state economies, and quality of life — so that we can bring New Mexico back to a time in which businesses can thrive, entrepreneurs can pursue dreams, communities can gather, and tourists can enjoy our towns and state.
Moreover, local chambers look forward to strengthening their voices for business and industry issues statewide with the help and leadership of the New Mexico Chamber of Commerce, which has proven itself as a fighter against over-regulation of small business, anti-oil & gas efforts, and other job-killing efforts.
Article originally published in Focus on Artesia 2021 Summer edition.