Category Archives: Events

President Jeb Conrad Talks I-69 Summit Success

Your Chamber was proud to be the lead organizer for the I-69 Regional Summit…Driving Opportunity here in Bloomington on October 20-21. The Summit brought together more than 350 representatives from various sectors including business, government, higher education, defense, economic development, tourism, agriculture, trade and logistics to examine ways to enable collaboration and leverage the new and existing I-69 corridor from a statewide perspective.

The Chamber conceived the Summit for a series of reasons, but most importantly to have a forum for strategic discussions with respect to the impact and opportunities this new major infrastructure project will have on the business environment locally, regionally, statewide and nationally.

Highlights included a panel luncheon with Congressmen Todd Rokita, Larry Bucshon and Todd Young, who are all members of the I-69 Congressional Caucus, moderated by Gerry Dick of Inside INdiana Business. Keynote speakers Lt. Governor Sue Ellspermann and Becky Skillman, President and CEO of Radius Indiana, shared their vision and perspective.  Attendees participated in breakouts and panel discussions on topics including trade/logistics, land use planning, understanding P3s, site selection and economic development. Other highlights included a tour of the Section 4 project and an evening reception at the IU Memorial Stadium.

The Summit provided a forum for interested parties and experts to come together, learn of the progress of I-69 in each of the corridor states, understand the global influence of its future and a chance to make new contacts. I was amazed at the significance this interstate will have for enabling trade and logistics from Mexico to Canada, and opening new avenues for connecting our region to the world. It is easy to see the local challenges and opportunities as the road pushes through, but a realistic view from 35,000 feet is necessary to be well prepared and take advantage of the opportunities the infrastructure brings to our region.

The State of Indiana also sees I-69 as the most impactful project for the tourism industry. Having interstate access to the State’s unique assets that attract visitors, is expected to generate new ways to capture travelers’ dollars in Indiana, expose a broader audience to these assets, and attract new business opportunities in this industry sector.

Locally, I-69 will bring safe and efficient connectivity for our businesses, employees and customers between Evansville and Indianapolis, not to mention Crane Naval Base. This will open new doors for employers to operate more effectively in the region, expand their employee base and capture additional business and residential investment.

The Summit was an excellent way for our Chamber to showcase our local businesses, connect them to other key contacts and open the door to see what Bloomington, Monroe County and the region have to offer.

It was a huge task for us to take on, but with the support of a great Committee, key partners like the Indiana Chamber of Commerce and Hoosier Voices for I-69, and our sponsors, this event puts us on the map on a broader scale as we move forward. A public thank you to all those who made this event possible and we look forward to hosting again in 2015, our Chamber’s 100th Anniversary!

If you are interested in more information from the Summit, you can access such at or our Chamber website.




Fall into Celebration

hello octoberIt’s October! And time for pumpkin flavored everything. The Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce is as excited as the next guy about the crisp fall air, beautiful colors and the return of the pumpkin spice latte. But we’re even more excited about our 100th anniversary. Only three months until we ring in the New Year and twelve months of celebration for the Chamber’s centennial.

Since 1915 the Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce has been dedicated to creating better business and a better community. In fact, it’s our tagline. Adopted in 2003 after a rebranding initiative, “Better Business. Better Community.” captures the belief of our founding members almost a century ago.

As The Chamber prepares for our next 100 years of service to the business community (and an even bigger celebration), we will leverage our current strengths and recommit to raise the voice of business in Bloomington. It may be getting colder outside but the business climate is hot and we’re here to protect it.

We’re not saying you have to dance on your desks and hang piñatas around the office like we did, but get excited, big things are coming in 2015.

The Strides That HYPE and The Franklin Initiative Program are Taking

MicrosoftRecently Microsoft and the Danish Foundation for Entrepreneurship posted an article talking about the benefits of entrepreneurship education for students.

We might just be a fly over state in the United States but the Chamber is proud to say that here in our little college town we have programs that mirror the essential characteristics talked about in the article.

Teaching young people the skills

Microsoft and DFE(Danish Foundation for Entrepreneurship) stress the importance of teaching students the skills that encourage them to “take initiative, explore opportunities, and be enterprising.” They refer to these skills as entrepreneurship skills(no surprise there) and are not only useful for these young people and children in starting their own companies, but also helps them develop fundamental values that drive them in whatever path they choose in the future.

hype logo for wordpressBloomington  version: As many of you know, the Chamber has a program called HYPE which focuses specifically on young professionals and teaching them how to network, communicate with others effectively, as well as providing them with general tips on how to manage finances in order to be successful.

Businesses involvement

According to Microsoft, the corporate world has an important role in educating the young entrepreneurs of tomorrow. The key to success is bridging practice and theory which can only be achieved with real live involvement. DFE and Microsoft offers guest speakers, jury members and even business idea competitions in their program overseas.

tmp_447_8-31-2009_101251_Bloomington version: Here at the Chamber we might not have a partner with a name as big as Microsoft to help with our youth. However, we have The Franklin Initiative program which provides simulation programs that show a link between academics and salaries, job fairs and job shadowing with local businesses in the area, as well as a Speakers Bureau which focuses on real-life glimpses into the world of work.

What can you do?

If you are a business involved with the Chamber we encourage you to find ways to become more involved with the young entrepreneurs that are walking the halls of our high schools and middle schools today. This window of opportunity can be the difference between the struggling economy of today and the thriving economy of tomorrow.

For more information about the topics talked about today:

The article:


The Franklin Initiative:

Kudos from one of our Community Partners About hYPe!

We at the Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce are very prohype logo for wordpressud of our hYPe (Helping Young Professionals Excel) program. It was started a few years ago as a way to engage our community’s young professionals, helping to deepen their roots here in Bloomington. As part of that program, we honor ten young professionals under the age of 40 at our “10 Under 40″ Awards. Not only is it a fun evening, but incredibly inspiring too as we see the achievements of the ten honorees.

You can’t blame us for being proud.   It’s a great program with resounding benefits for all involved. But what makes us even more proud is when others in our community take note and publicly applaud the program too. That’s what Ron Walker, President of the Bloomington Economic Development Corp., did recently. He used his Sunday column to talk about hYPe and the 10 Under 40 honorees.

We’d “proudly” like to share Ron’s words with you:

I’d like to use this month’s update to congratulate this year’s 10 Under 40 winners and encourage support for “helping Young Professionals excel” (hYPe), a program of the Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce that provides professional development and personal enrichment opportunities for young professionals.

The importance and role of hYPe and specifically, the annual 10 Under 40 awards, can easily be underestimated. However, if you look closely at what is happening among this growing group of young professionals you will find yourself inspired and impressed, and it will give you confidence in the quality and character of Bloomington’s growing millennial population.

I previously thought of this cohort of our population as comprised of future leaders.  I’ve since come to realize that many of them are already leading. Besides working here, they volunteer, serve on boards and commissions, organize events, and help new young professionals integrate into the community.

Helping people integrate into the community and feel welcome is a valuable and needed activity. A ready and talented labor pool is the critical factor affecting our economic success. Greater Bloomington’s ability to attract and retain talented young adults directly influences our capacity to be a creative, innovative and entrepreneurial community. It also affects the success of Monroe County’s existing employers in creating new jobs.

Knowing we have hYPE, and that our community recognizes the contributions and value of young professionals, gives the BEDC another resource to promote Bloomington. It is also another reason why greater Bloomington is a great place to live and work.

The BEDC’s approach to economic development is aimed at improving job opportunities, creating new wealth, increasing the tax base and serving the long-term vision of the community. We can be reached by visiting our website at

Thanks, Ron! We couldn’t have said it better!

Our Under 40’s: Our Community’s Next Leaders.

Almost two years ago, The Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce launched its young professional program hYPe: Helping Young Professionals Excel. From its inaugural 2011 event where 125+ young people under the age of 40 attended, to the group of hYPe members who volunteered at last month’s Taste of Bloomington, this has been and is an organization about involvement. Each month hYPe members attend personal or professional development events where they learn new skills and make new connections with peers. As important, the programming of hYPE helps to create a support structure that builds leaders. Always, these young professionals are involved in the learning process – becoming better employees, stronger leaders and forging stronger bonds within their community.

This was exactly the hope when hYPe was launched.

The Chamber‘s Board of Directors recognized the importance of engaging our next generation of leaders to help generate a greater pipeline for talent within our community. To underscore their commitment to hYPe and its mission, the Board’s nominating committee selected the hYPe Steering Committee Chair – Faye Jameson, to serve on the Chamber’s board of directors. For a young professional to play an active role on a board filled by some of the community’s strongest leaders is an incredible opportunity. But, the opportunity to have a “fresh voice” of a young leader on the Chamber Board is equally as important.

You get a very different voice at a table – whether it’s in the boardroom or as part of your leadership team – when there is someone under 40. So many believe that our under 40’s only bring an understanding of technology since most all have grown up in a world where apps, social networks and smart phones are the Millennial generation’s versions of Sesame Street and Mr. Rogers. But, this limited thinking is…well, limited. Our under 40’s bring so much more.

A young professional’s fresh perspective, insight as to what resonates with their age group, willingness to try new ideas and out-of the-box thinking can benefit any organization or any board. Our world is changing at a rapid rate and our young professionals are skilled at navigating a rapidly changing world. These are individuals you want to have at the proverbial “table”.

According to one study, less than 2% of nonprofit board members are under 30 years old. In contrast, 57% of nonprofit board members are 50 and over. All they need is a chance to utilize their skills…But first, they need to be asked. I encourage businesses and organizations in our community to look for ways to engage our young professionals in meaningful professional relationships through board service, volunteer task force or committees.

Not certain how to make it happen?

  • The first step is to identify and remove any barriers to engaging young leaders. Sometimes this means you have to “break the mold” of what you usually look for from a person when filling these positions.
  • If you know and can articulate the value they will bring to your organization, you’re half way there.
  • Provide your young professionals with proper expectations and allow them to feel comfortable within your organization.
  • Finally, make a commitment to always find room for a young professional to “be at your table.” They have been reared in a world of constant communication and collaboration, so be prepared for the energy and ideas that can be unleashed.

On July 26, The Chamber and our hYPe program will host the “10 Under 40” Awards at the Bloomington/Monroe County Convention Center. If you want to see, first-hand, the amazing young talent and leadership we have in our community, please join us. For more information about hYPe or the “10 Under 40” Awards, please visit or

Calling All Leadership Volunteers!

Do you serve on a nonprofit Board of Directors, or would you like to?

Do you have questions about what is expected of you?

The City of Bloomington Volunteer Network is pleased to announce the launch of the Nonprofit Board Certificate Program. This certificate will be offered to individuals who complete a ½ day seminar consisting of four one-hour sessions.  These sessions cover the regulations, legal responsibilities, financial and fundraising obligations, and ongoing activities involved in serving as a member of the Board of Directors of a nonprofit organization in Indiana. Each of the four sessions includes opportunities for discussion as well as hands-on workshop activities.

Nonprofit Board Certificate Program

Date: Thursday, Oct. 20 from 1-5 p.m.

Cost: $25 per person

Location: Council Chambers of City Hall (8th and Morton St. Bloomington)

To register: Go to

Mail payment to: City of Bloomington Volunteer Network PO Box 100 Bloomington IN 47402

If you have questions or need an invoice: Contact Bet Savich, Director, City of Bloomington Volunteer Network at 812-349-3472 or


Benefits to businesses of their employees joining nonprofit boards:

  • Nonprofit boards provide a learning environment to cultivate leaders, including the ability to think and act more strategically. These skills will transfer back to your work place.
  • your business or corporation’s name will be extended out into the community through professional networking
  • employee morale, retention and recruitment will be enhanced by the opportunity for board service
  • your employees will contribute critical business expertise to a local nonprofit organization which also contributes to both the quality of life and the economy. These skills include finance, mergers, public relations, human resources, law, real estate, accounting, and other core areas.
  • In addition to the practical skills which your employees contribute, they will also focus their time and attention on the organization’s mission and vision, and how to achieve it. This will carry over to their thinking about your business.

The Volunteer Network’s Purpose in bringing this training to the community:

  • To provide individuals from businesses, from the professions, and from the general community who currently serve or are considering serving as volunteer members of a nonprofit board of directors with a strong grounding in the roles and responsibilities involved with such service.
  • To provide interested nonprofit organizations with an excellent resource for potential new volunteer board members – individuals that have demonstrated interest in nonprofit board service as well as the knowledge needed to be an effective board member
  • To strengthen and transform the Monroe County nonprofit landscape by elevating the performance of its governance teams.

The program will answer questions such as:

–          How do I find out what will be expected of me?

–          What should I expect from the organization?

–          What are my financial and legal responsibilities?

–          What authority do I have – and do others have?

–          Will I have to raise money?  If so, how do I go about it?

–          What questions should I be asking if I’m asked to serve on a nonprofit’s board?

–          How can I make a significant and positive impact on the organization – and on our community?


  • Completion of the four hour Nonprofit Board Certificate Program
  • Completion of an “Areas of Nonprofit Board Interest” questionnaire (given during final session)

Each individual who completes the program may opt to be included on a list available to organizations which are actively seeking board members. After 12 months, individuals who wish to continue to be listed must participate in a free one-hour workshop which provides updated information on nonprofit regulations, the opportunity to share board experiences and the opportunity to update your questionnaire.

This program is supported by the Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce, Leadership Bloomington Monroe County Alumni Association, NonProfit Alliance of Monroe County, and United Way of Monroe County.

Elizabeth D. Savich, Director
City of Bloomington Volunteer Network

smaller big invite

Help us grow the collective voice of business! The Big Invite!

The Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce is excited to announce its new initiative to grow the voice of business in our community — The Big INvite!

Believing that members are the foundation of our organization, The Chamber is looking to strengthen that foundation and increase the collective voice of business with this important membership initiative. The event will be held on Tuesday, June 28th at the Clubhouse at Cedarview Management’s “10th & College” Building.

Volunteers representing a cross-section of Chamber member businesses are expected to participate in The Big INvite, working on the premise that a phone call from a friend or colleague regarding Chamber membership is the best testimonial possible. More than 120 Chamber member volunteers will participate in the day’s activities that will include refreshments and friendly competition among the various teams of volunteers.

“The Chamber is a membership organization and many businesses believe they have to be invited to become a Chamber member. While this isn’t the case, an invitation to join from a friend or professional colleague is a wonderful way to become involved,” said Mary Jo Orlowski, account executive with The Chamber.

An “After Party” is planned for the volunteers and will be held immediately following the event at Grazie! Italian Eatery from 4:30-6:30pm with hors d’oeuvres, wine & beer provided.

Interested in being part of The Big Invite! Want to encourage your peers, business associates, etc. to join the Bloomington Chamber to grow our voice in the community, provide more services for all members and expand our community’s business network? Sign up to volunteer from either 8-11am or 1-4pm to compete for bragging rights and be a part of this important Chamber initiative!

Contact Mary Jo Orlowski at or 336-6381 to get INvolved in The Big INvite!

Exciting Times at The Chamber

What a crazy last couple of weeks. Of course I broke my New Year’s resolution to blog every week the second week of 2011… At least I’m jumping back on the horse and trying again this week.

It has been a bit of a whirlwind these past couple of weeks as The Chamber hosted the first Women Excel Bloomington luncheon of 2011 on Tuesday, January 18, there was a snow storm later that week that delayed the hYPe Launch, but we were finally able to have the launch event on Monday, January 24. Last week we also had the first Business After Hours of 2011 at the Monroe County Building Association Home Show the evening of January 27, and an ABC: About Business Connections that focused on credit card processing with Infintech on Friday, January 28. This week, we host our first Healthy Business Bloomington Breakfast of 2011 on Wednesday, February 2, another ABC on February 8, and the first hYPe professional development event on February 9. Then, on February 23, we host the first BizLink event of the New Year focusing on website optimization.

Whew, just typing all of those events made my fingers tired, but we think it is important to offer a variety of different events so that all business, small and large, for-profit and not-for-profit all benefit from their Chamber membership. We also encourage non-members to attend many of our events, get a feel for what we are all about, and explore the many benefits that come with Chamber membership.

Do you have a suggestion for a new event or ideas to make current events better? We want feedback from you so that we are meeting our member’s needs. If there is something we are not doing, or something we could do better please let us know so that we can discuss as a staff your suggestion and possibly make changes to improve our service.

Chamber to Debut New Young Professionals Program

The Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce is excited to announce the creation of “hYPe: Helping Young Professionals Excel,” a new program for young professionals between the ages of 21 and 40 in Bloomington, Indiana.  Slated as one of The Chamber’s new programs for 2011, hYPe will facilitate professional and personal development while encouraging networking for young professionals who live, learn, work, or play in Bloomington.

“As a community, Bloomington has taken positive steps to define and nurture business growth opportunities, and we see hYPe as a great way to help retain the immense talent that our local universities and organizations produce,” says Christy Gillenwater, President and CEO of The Chamber. “By connecting our young professionals to others and providing paths to continued professional development, The Chamber is actively creating our next generation of leaders.”

The hYPe program officially launches on January 20, 2011 with a special kick-off event at KRC Catering and Banquets from 5:30-7:30 p.m.  The event is free and is open to individuals between the ages of 21 and 40 years old.

The event will feature networking activities and a special presentation by Scott Wise, founder and owner of Scotty’s Brewhouse, who will discuss being a young entrepreneur and share business advice with attendees. Steve Bryant, Executive Director of the Gayle and Bill Cook Center for Entrepreneurship at Ivy Tech Community College in Bloomington, will emcee the evening’s activities.  Hors d’oeuvers will be served throughout the event and a cash bar will be available.

“The Chamber plans to hold future hYPe events on the second Wednesday of every month,” explains Gillenwater. “Events will alternate focus on professional development and personal development, and all of them will include ample time to network and meet other young professionals in Bloomington.”

The Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce extends its thanks to professional development series sponsor Solution Tree, and event sponsor KRC Catering and Banquets for their generous support of this new initiative. More sponsorship opportunities are still available for this year’s calendar of events. Contact DeJohn Rose at or (812) 336-6381 for more information.

To register to attend the first event visit, or sign up to be added to the mailing list by filling out a participant information sheet and returning it to You can also find more information about hYPe on Twitter at, or on Facebook at

The Combine: Bringing Great Minds to Bloomington

When I opened up my Twitter feed one day and had a message from @TheCombineorg suggesting that I blog about them, I wasn’t sure how to react. I had no idea what The Combine was. So I tweeted them back, and asked for some details. They sent back their website, and as soon as I got through the front page I was impressed.  According to their website, “The Combine is a display of talent, entrepreneurship and innovation. It’s an event about tech, specifically the people, ideas and environments that drive technology.” Impressive right?

As I dug deeper I saw a talented roster of speakers and entertainment for the event, September 9-12. Some people, such as Sloane Berrent, I had never heard of, while others, such as Michael Ian Black and Michael Showalter, I recognized from one of my favorite movies, Wet Hot American Summer. Continue reading