The Greater Winter Haven Chamber of Commerce is honored to announce that we have been awarded Five Star Accreditation Status from the United States Chamber of Commerce. This status is the highest level possible to reach under this program.
Since 1984 the Winter Haven Chamber has been accredited as a four-star chamber. Building upon that strong foundation and with the support & strategic forward-thinking of our Board of Directors, the investment from our members, the dedication of our Chamber team and our numerous volunteers, the US Chamber has now recognized us as meeting their highest standards for our sound policies, effective organizational procedures and our positive impact on the community.
The United States Chamber of Commerce Accreditation program honors Chambers for their activeness in community change, excellence in strategic planning and for advocating for a healthy business environment. Out of 7,000 Chambers in America, only 113 chambers in the country have this 5-star distinction. Accreditation is the only program of its kind that defines excellence in chamber planning and recognizes chambers for outstanding contributions toward positive change in their communities.
The Accreditation process is quite a rigorous one, taking months to complete. Led by VP of Finance and Events, Jennifer Romberger, with the strong support of President/CEO Katie Worthington, VP of Member Services Amanda Jo Nicholson and Marketing Coordinator Brianna Price, the Chamber submitted their application for reaccreditation in December 2017. This was 2 years prior to the required reaccreditation as the Board and staff felt that immense progress had been made in order for the Chamber to reach Five Star Accreditation. The application focuses on 9 areas, each with an in-depth analysis of our operations and effectiveness. We had to show the US Chamber of Commerce everything that we do for the business community, the Winter Haven community-at-large and also how we plan to create a vibrant environment for our members to enhance their business. The areas of focus are:
3. Human Resources
4. Government Affairs
5. Program Development
Four years ago the Chamber Board of Directors laid out a strategic plan to ensure the long-term sustainability and viability of your Chamber of Commerce.
Adrian Jones, President of Merlin Entertainments USA and Chairman of the Chamber Board of Directors said this of the accreditation news, "Back in 2014 the Winter Haven Chamber of Commerce Board Directors constructed an extremely comprehensive strategic plan with clearly defined goals. The Boards ultimate strategic intent was for the Chamber to receive a 5 star accreditation as a direct result of these plan goals being realized. So achieving this accreditation is a testament to all the fantastic efforts and hard work the Chamber team have undertaken since then. Led by Katie Worthington, the team have delivered on that strategic plan, created a stable financial platform and grown a membership base that is both engaged and dynamic."
Based on the feedback of our member-investors and community partners, our Board of Directors, past Chairmen and chairwomen, and the Chamber staff, we developed 5 core pillars to focus on in our strategic plan. In 2017 we refined those five core pillars to be:
Through the course of the last four years we have strengthened the long-term financial position of your Chamber, ensured a return on investment for our member-investors and improved our tiered-dues membership for transparency and benefits that meet your needs as members, greatly ramped up our local, regional and state advocacy to ensure your voices as Winter Haven businesses are heard when it comes to a business-friendly environment, and increased our community engagement as a whole both from an advocacy prospective as well as a protection and enhancement of the many reasons we call Winter Haven home.
Thank you for your membership and investment in the Chamber as well as your dedication to improving our community!