East Portland business people celebrate, educate, and associate

See how members of the East Portland Chamber of Commerce have welcomed businesses into the community, provided valuable information to members, and socially networked during 2009 – and why you should consider joining their group …

In February, members of the East Portland Chamber of Commerce gather after work for an informal get-together for networking, conversation, and relaxation at Montavilla’s “The Observatory” at 8115 SE Stark Street. They’re welcomed by one of the four owners, Chelsey Kjarstad (back row, far left).

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
The East Portland Chamber of Commerce (EPCC) has matured into an organization that gives a “voice” to businesses east of the Willamette River. Additionally, it provides weekly opportunities for members and guests to network – and they provide educational opportunities as well.

In this article, we’ll visit – or revisit – some of the many EPCC activities held this year, and reveal how you can learn more about this fine organization.

Educational Seminars

One of the well-attended seminars was a “Lunch-and-Learn” session held this fall at the offices of The Bookkeeping Company in NE 122nd Avenue. The topic of this well-attended event was “Networking: In & Out of the Net”.

Coach Charles Powell with Coaching at its Best, tells how to use the “power of multiplication” to increase quality business contacts.

First up was personal and business coach Charles Powell, with Coaching at its Best (CLICK HERE to see Coach Charles’ website).

“Having 2,000 business cards on your desk doesn’t bring success,” Powell began. “But, making 100 good friends does. If you have good 10 networking friends, you also have access to their friends. If each of them has 10 friends, you now have access to 100 people. The mathematics of networking will hold you back – or help you succeed.”

Powell suggested an exercise he called “The Power of Ten”: Making a “top ten list” of people you know, who are the best in a given business area. “This could be best professional networker; most supportive Friend/Buddy; mentor, coach/expert; marketing/selling professional.”

The more in-depth knowledge one has of their business friends, Powell suggested, the more successful one will be. “Take them to lunch at least once a year – not to get business, but to learn more about them and how you can help them. They will become your referral base.”

Scott Hendison, President of Search Commander, tells why businesses should learn more about “social networking” technology.

The next speaker was Scott Hendison with Search Commander (CLICK HERE to see Hendison’s website).

Hendison told how, after running a retail computer shop called Cyber Exchange in the Gateway Shopping Center, he became fascinated by Internet marketing.

“What we call ‘Web 1.0’ was static communication – unchanging, websites. ‘Web 2.0 sites feature varying degrees of interaction, and user generated content,” Hendison noted. “The term we use is ‘crowdsourcing – which include forum posts, product updates, and service ideas. For example, more than 60% of nationally-branded product reviews on the Internet are posted by consumers.”

Business owners and managers should take to heart that buyers say their buying decisions are influenced by online feedback. “Online feedback is second only to personal advice in terms of influence. Consumers are willing to pay an average of 20% more for better-reviewed products and services.”

The Internet isn’t only for kids, Hendison pointed out. “Of all Oregon ‘Facebook’ visitors, 46% of them are middle age. This makes Internet marketing important to business owners who care about building a brand through having positive visibility by demonstrating expertise.”

Full of enthusiasm for the topic, Hendison gave attendees a whirlwind tour of concepts such as social book-marking, social networking, and hybrid sites that build interaction among potential customers. “Those who don’t take advantage of this technology will be left out.”

Norm Rice with First Class Properties, tells how he incorporates online marketing with in-person networking.

The last speaker of the day was Realtor Norm Rice, with First Class Properties (CLICK HERE to view Rice’s website).

“I feel like an amateur among networking professionals,” confessed Rice as he began. “Allow me to tell you about my experiences – and, why it’s important to blend in-person meetings with technology.”

Rice said his Facebook page has 212 ‘friends’ listed. “But ‘friends’ are, from a business standpoint, useless, unless you’ve met them in person and gotten to know their wants and needs. It’s not about the number of people who follow you; it’s about the quality of people who follow you.”

However, he says social networking sites such as Facebook, actually help him discover ways he can help people he knows. “By following the activities of my ‘friends’, I can see what they’re doing and how I may be able to help them. And, I follow several Realtors, all around the country, on Twitter.”

When he discovers an opportunity, Rice said he sends a written note, suggesting they can learn more in person, by telephone, or electronic communications. “High tech has a place, but there must be balance with the touch of personal communication.”

It costs nothing to learn more about the upcoming EPCC seminars in 2010 – learn more at the end of this article.

EPCC Event Photo Album

In May, EPCC members were on hand at the grand opening of the Adventist Medical Center Pavilion. (Read our article about it: CLICK HERE). EPCC President Rich Sorem, with Fullerton & Company Insurance stands next to AMC President Tom Russell (holding the giant scissors) just before the ribbon was cut.

In September, Smitty’s DOT Golf was welcomed to the Gateway area by Chamber members Kevin “Not Your Ordinary Beancounter” Minkoff, CPA, holding the ribbon at the left end, Portland Police Bureau East Precinct Officer Cathe Kent, Sheriff John Bunnell [Ret] of COPS television fame, Smitty, EPCC president Rich Sorem from Fullerton Insurance, Frank Ryan, advertising guru – and Norm Rice from First Class Properties, shown holding the ribbon on the right end.

Another business welcomed into the community by the East Portland Chamber of Commerce was PC PARMEDIX, at 6834 NE Glisan Street.

We here at East Portland News (www.EastPortlandNews.com) welcomed Chamber members and guests to a pizza feed at Bill Dayton’s Pizza Baron in November.

At the Annual EPCC Turkey Bowl on November 14, Kevin Minkoff, CPA, rolled another strike.

Dianne Gill of Eastport Plaza, and event coordinator Holly Moss, from The Bookkeeping Company, tabulated scores during this just-for-fun tournament that included bowling, prizes and lots of pizza!

The Kevin Minkoff CPA team took third-place honors at the Annual EPCC Turkey Bowl.

Second place honors were awarded by event volunteer (and major event sponsor) Priscilla Hulin, of Courtyard Marriott Portland Airport, to Axis Design Group team members James Ponto and Nick Carter.

Winners of the Annual EPCC Turkey Bowl averaged 470 – rolled by Peach and Elliot West and Ginny Sorem, and EPCC President Richard Sorem of Fullerton & Company Insurance.

Chamber members and guests are kept up-to-date on current issues affecting businesses, thanks to speakers and debates presented by EPCC’s Governmental Affairs chair, Ken Turner. In December, Oregon State Representative Jefferson Smith and J. L. Wilson, Vice President of Associated Oregon Industries squared off for a spirited-yet-polite debate regarding Oregon tax hike measures 66 and 67. (Read our full-text coverage of this important issue by CLICKING HERE).

Learn more about EPCC

There are several ways to learn about, and get involved with, the East Portland Chamber of commerce.

“Good Morning East Portland” networking meetings are hosted by different Chamber members each Wednesday morning from 7:30 to 9:00 a.m. Meetings are free, and guests are welcome. The first gathering of the New Year is on January 6, and it’s hosted by Committees of the East Portland Chamber of Commerce. It will be held at The Ambridge Center, 1333 NE Martin Luther King Boulevard. (CLICK HERE to check our Community Calendar for dates, times and locations for all EPCC events!).

In addition to the early Wednesday morning networking sessions, EPCC also holds occasional “After Hours” gatherings.  Come by on January 21 from 5:30 to 7:00 p.m. for good conversation, networking, refreshments, and a no-host bar hosted by Priscilla Hulin of (and at) Courtyard Marriott, 11550 NE Airport Way.

The Chamber also keeps members updated through a weekly newsletter and an interactive web site: CLICK HERE to visit it, or follow the Chamber on TWITTER, or call the Chamber office at (503) 788-8589.

© 2009 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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