Every job comes with a list of favorites

As with any career, some parts of my job I like more than others. Today, you’ll learn about all my favorites of my Alpena Area Chamber of Commerce position. First, a quick disclaimer. I am not going to name the people with whom I work as one of my favorites, even though I adore our staff and volunteers. The reason I am not going to name them in my favorites of the job is because I’m talking about the things we do at the chamber, like the services we provide and projects we are involved with, and not other aspects, like the people I work with, that make this a rewarding career.

What prompted this column was the annual arrival of one of my favorites — distribution of dividend checks from our Accident Fund Worker’s Compensation program. Alpena Chamber members who choose to be involved with this program receive an up-front discount on their worker’s compensation insurance and have the potential for dividends paid back to them annually, depending on how well the entire group does. I really enjoy delivering checks to our members. The check amounts vary, but the largest check this year is over $2,800, and the total is over $17,000. I love this annual activity because it is fun to be the bearer of goodness.

When it comes to chamber events, my most favorite events have several things in common. First, people have fun at the event and are happy to be there (as opposed to an educational opportunity that is necessary but may not have the most entertaining content). Second, I get to watch networking happen at the event. Third, the event includes a component of appreciation. Those are the reasons my two favorite events that we host are the chamber’s Annual Dinner and the chamber’s military support receptions.

The Annual Dinner is an event that just keeps on growing. It is a very positive event that is fun and energizing, jam-packed with networking (so much so that we have a hard time getting people to take their seats when it is time), and it is a chance for us to recognize deserving businesses and individuals. Although we do receive complaints periodically about different aspects of the event, the value of the event to those who attend is far greater than the few complaints we sometimes receive.

Military support receptions are in my top-two favorites because of those three reasons, as well. They are fun, include networking, and give us an opportunity to show appreciation. The biggest reason I like these events is because they are the one event that we host in which attendees are consistently appreciative and happy. After being part of hosting more than 30 of these receptions in my 11 years here, I can count on one hand the number of complaints we have received, and only one or two have to do with items we can impact. We thrive on creating events that are fun, and leave people feeling good about having attended, having found value in their decision to attend.

Another favorite of mine is when I get to work on a specific issue regarding government, legislation, or regulations that impact businesses. I don’t mind working on general items like finding pro-business people to run for election, or researching ballot proposals, or educating on legislation, but I really enjoy working on very specific issues that impact our businesses. For example, we have worked on an issue with the Michigan State Police Motor Carrier Division, truck route issues, and recruiting SkyWest to service the Alpena Airport. I think the reasons I enjoy working on specific issues include my enjoyment in digging deep into singular issues to understand every side, my desire to stand up for our businesses against specific issues that make it more difficult for them to do business or that might be unrealistic demands, and I enjoy seeing a definite result of my work that comes with working at a more micro level.

There are plenty of things I really enjoy about my work with the Alpena Chamber. These are just my most favorite. Other enjoyable activities include our Grub Crawl (simply put, it’s fun!), writing (I love to write, and I get to spend a considerable amount of time writing for the chamber) and making connections for our businesses. Of course, there are things I don’t like about our work, but what’s the point of talking about it when it is much more valuable to focus on the things I like and I appreciate that I have the opportunity to work in a career that brings me satisfaction and the ability to make an impact every single day.

Jackie Krawczak is president/CEO of the Alpena Area Chamber of Commerce. Her column runs bi-weekly on Thursdays. Follow Jackie on Twitter @jkrawczak.