Author Archives: Kelley Brown

New Year! New Legislative Agenda!

With the New Year comes a new legislative session!  The Indiana General Assembly reconvened on Monday, January 6, 2014 and there is no doubt that many critical issues will be up for discussion and debate.  As the voice of business, The Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce will be monitoring and advocating for those issues that affect our member businesses.

StatehouseThe Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce released its list of legislative priorities which the 1,100 member organization will monitor and advocate for during the 2014 legislative session.  The five priority areas include business taxation and regulation, education, healthcare, infrastructure & job creation and local government advancement.  Prepared by The Chamber’s Legislative Council and approved by the organization’s Board of Directors, the 2014 Legislative Agenda was presented at the organization’s Legislative Preview Luncheon.

As an advocate for business, The Chamber selected the five priority areas based on relevance and potential to impact the local business community. Member feedback received as part of the annual Business Climate and Legislative Survey, which was sent out to The Chamber’s full membership in early fall, was also carefully considered as the agenda was being crafted. The organization also considered priorities that they could realistically advance and impact through their advocacy process.

“The 2014 Legislative Agenda will guide The Chamber’s policy work through this year as we represent our members who have communicated their business issues and interests,” explains Jeb Conrad, president & CEO for The Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce. “We believe by giving these five priority areas our full attention, we will help to strengthen our region’s economy and help our businesses succeed.”

The Chamber’s Legislative Council will actively continue to update, educate and involve members in its advocacy efforts during the upcoming legislative session through electronic communications like Advocacy Matters, Legislative Updates and The Chamber’s weekly newsletter Membership Matters.  A Legislative Wrap-Up event is planned for April 11 after the General Assembly’s adjournment.

Formed in 2007, The Chamber’s Legislative Council was chartered by The Chamber’s Board of Directors to monitor the lawmaking process, aid Chamber staff in educating its members on legislative issues affecting business, and to help develop relationships with organizations and other chambers with shared interests.  The volunteer Council, representing a diverse cross section of The Chamber’s membership, provides leadership and guidance on business issues at the State and Federal level.

For more information about The Chamber’s Public Policy & Advocacy efforts, contact Liz Irwin, Director of Advocacy & Public Policy at 812.336.6381. To download a copy of this year’s agenda visit 

2014 Legislative Agenda

advocacyAs the voice of business, The Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce has identified legislative priorities that encourage economic development, innovation and strategic growth.

BUSINESS TAXATION AND REGULATION: foster a pro-business climate to attract and retain businesses in Bloomington and Indiana

  • Support the repeal of the medical device tax
  • Support comprehensive tax reform efforts that lessen tax burdens on business
  • Encourage regulatory reform efforts that lessen burdens on business and restore Congressional accountability in the rulemaking process
  • Support a local option for exemption of personal property tax on new business machinery and equipment
  • Support policies that empower businesses to attract and retain a world-class workforce

EDUCATION: Create educational opportunities to ensure an intelligent, high-skilled workforce 

Preschool and K – 12 Education 

  • Emphasize importance of funding for early childhood education, preschool, and kindergarten
  • Improve the school funding formula to focus on equitable per pupil funding and multiple student count days
  • Promote the importance of STEM-related programs & career training
  • Encourage development of entrepreneurship programs & vocational training for technical fields to develop a qualified workforce

Higher Education

  • Encourage institutional innovation and flexibility to best meet student needs
  • Encourage federal lawmakers to help close the innovation deficit by decreasing the gap in needed and actual federal investment in research

HEALTH CARE: Promote education and awareness opportunities that help local businesses manage their health care costs

  • Educate members on developments of the Affordable Care Act (ACA)
  • Educate members on the plan(s) in the Federal Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) Marketplace as details emerge (Note: The SHOP website will not be available until November 2014)
  • Support continued enrollment in the Healthy Indiana Plan and continued waiver for and expansion of the plan in 2015

INFRASTRUCTURE AND JOB CREATION: Develop and maintain a superior state and local framework that supports the needs of business

  • Prioritize ongoing construction and funding of I-69 , focusing on planning and design of Section 5
  • Promote and protect Crane as a primary regional job provider
  • Support policies that incentivize investment in rural telecom for gigabit connectivity
  • Support development and implementation of a strategic water resource plan

LOCAL GOVERNMENT ADVANCEMENTS:  Ensure that local services are delivered with the most effective and efficient administrative structure

  • Support measures to increase accountability, transparency, and effectiveness of government at the local level

Do Introverts Make the Best Leaders?

I have a friend that has moved quickly up the ranks of a major corporation. Despite his somewhat speedy transition to jobs with increasing responsibility, back-to-back performance reviews that hit the far exceed mark, and stellar leadership reviews from his team and customers, some of his “mentors” continue to advise him to “speak up more”. Despite a 20-year track record of successful results, my friend continues to receive this feedback which he continues to find confusing.

Okay.  It’s no secret my friend is a bit of an introvert. He doesn’t feel compelled to fill silence with small talk just to hear himself speak. Nor is he a pseudo-intellectual who wants to dazzle you with his brilliance by spouting off facts and data he memorized. He’s just a very intelligent man with a wealth of knowledge and experience that is cushioned by a strong work ethic and a warm personality. He treats people the way he wants to be treated, and understands the importance of feedback…whether it’s positive or about an area that can be improved upon.

So does this make him less than a leader?

Having been a product of the corporate world for more than 24 years, I remember all too well the colleagues with the big titles who sat at the executive table and raised their voices (loudly) to make a point. Sometimes a fist would bang or a door would be slammed as they stormed out of meetings. Often a caustic remark was interjected as the decibels increased.

I’ll give you, that kind of behavior doesn’t speak well of the corporate culture, but these were the individuals identified as the leaders or high performers. That aside:

Did this make the individual a better leader? Did they get the results they wanted? Did it help the organization move forward or enable a team member to innovate or achieve on their own? I can confidently say, “No. It did not.”

I thought of my friend, and others I have met along the way, who fall under “the curse” of being on the quiet side as I read this article. I thought I would share so that we’re all reminded that sometimes introverts make the best leaders:

There’s good reason why 40% of executives describe themselves as introverts. From broker Charles Schwab to Avon chief Andrea Jung, “innies” possess these traits of quiet leadership:

1. They think first. Even in casual conversation, leaders learn by listening. They realize that their authority alone makes them visible, so they use their calm demeanors to make a statement. Just one thoughtful comment in a meeting can move a group forward.

2. They run deep. Leaders delve into ideas. Deborah Dunsire, a physician and president of a biopharmaceutical company, schedules walk-around time. “I would say, ‘Hey, what is keeping you up at night? What are you working on? Where can we improve?’

3. They exude calm. Because they are low-key, introverted leaders project reassurance and confidence in times of crisis. One executive tells himself before networking events, “I can do anything for 30 minutes.”

4. They write it down. Comfort with the written word helps leaders explain the reasons for their actions and also documents those actions.

5. They enjoy solitude. Introverts recharge by spending time alone. Regular time-outs fuel their creativity and decision-making. During high=pressure periods, this helps them stay reflective, not reactive.

Martin Schmidler, VP at a food service company, tells his people he needs time to absorb what he learns, and he is clear on how and when he’ll get back to them. He consistently follows through.

- Adapted from “Why Introverts Can Make the Best Leaders,” Jennifer Kahnweiler,

Celebrate Better Business, Better Community with The Chamber

The first two quarters of 2010 were busy months for The Chamber. Several important issues and events demanded the attention and energy of The Chamber staff, its Board of Directors and Chamber volunteers. Now, as we slide into the early days of summer, the hectic pace has slowed (just a bit) and allows time to reflect on what’s ahead.  One event we look forward to each year is The Chamber’s Annual Meeting.

2010 Annual MeetingIn addition to commemorating The Chamber’s 95th Anniversary at the Annual Meeting in September, we will celebrate better business and better community through the 13 various awards honoring businesses, organizations and individuals who have demonstrated high levels of involvement, business, and community leadership.

The Chamber asks you to take time and reflect on which organizations, businesses, and individuals should be honored and invites you to submit a nomination for a deserving person or organization.  Have you had the privilege of working with a business or individual that provides exceptional service in an ethical and socially responsible manner? Do you know someone that models the way for others or is a community inspiration? With 13 different award categories open for nominations, you have the opportunity to let others know of these wonderful examples of excellence by nominating them for a 2010 Chamber & Community Award. Continue reading

Marketing, Advertising, and Measuring Your ROI

Just yesterday, I was emailing a brand new Chamber member of only a few of weeks. I decided to attached their referral report – a handy-dandy report that details how many times their business information was viewed on The Chamber’s on-line directory, how many times their website link was clicked, and how many times people mapped their business location.

As a marketing person, I was really excited by what I saw in their referral report!

This brand new Chamber member’s listing had already been viewed 212 times!  Of those views, 14 people actually clicked the link taking them to the business’s website and 12 people mapped how to get to the location!

Real-numbers, measured in real time.  A marketing person’s dream-come-true, and something that every business should look at.  Thanks to the referral report, this Chamber member can easily quantify the results of their Chamber membership investment in terms of marketing because, “numbers don’t lie.” Continue reading