From hip and happening Newburgh to historic West Point and quaint and cozy Warwick, Orange County is home to a robust community of businesses and organizations of all sizes. Providing county-wide support and resources for such disparate voices may seem like a difficult job, but it’s one that Heather Bell-Meyer, newly appointed President and CEO of the Orange County Chamber of Commerce is approaching with energy and enthusiasm for the future after the last year of the pandemic.
“Covid allowed us to really think out of the box,” says Bell-Meyer, who prior to becoming President and CEO was the Chamber’s Director of Membership and has been an active member of the region’s business community for more than a decade.
For instance, while the pandemic created a need for virtual events, Bell-Meyer and the team at the Chamber realized that virtual and hybrid events were actually a better fit for many of its members, over 75 percent of whom are businesses with less than five employees. “Because our county is so vast, it’s difficult to come to a “lunch and learn,” so we’re making those convenient by keeping them virtual,” she says. Alongside the return of its live events, many of its workshops and networking events like “Business Essentials,” “Workplace Wellness,” and “Speed Networking,” will remain virtual to allow more members to join from wherever they are.
“We’re working with members daily to understand what they feel is valuable to them,” Bell-Meyer says. “We’ve also added the ‘Meet The Member’ spotlight video as a benefit of membership and we’re providing a heavy focus on our networking, free marketing, and credible referrals.”
After such a hard year, Bell-Meyer and the team have also purposely created affordable sponsorship and participation opportunities to ensure that the county’s smaller businesses can engage in important brand awareness, networking, and county-wide awards events. These include the Chamber Runs OC, its now-annual 5k, and its Orange Re-Opened Golf Tournament & More, a full day of golf and other activities followed by its Chamber Awards Dinner. “The investment in membership is something we’ve added to over the last year and are quite proud of,” she says.
As the leading supporter of business in the county, providing legislative advocacy, connectors, exclusive member benefits, networking and marketing opportunities, seminars and more, under Bell-Meyer’s leadership the team at the Chamber is well-positioned to continue providing one of the best investments a business can make in its own growth and that of Orange County as a whole.
For more information on membership with the Orange County Chamber of Commerce, visit Orangeny.com or reach out to Heather Bell-Meyer directly at [email protected].