by Melanie Jongsma
1. The Lansing Area Chamber is one of the largest and most active in the region.
The Lansing Area Chamber has about 200 members—roughly 25 percent of the businesses and other organizations in Lansing join each year. But what makes the Lansing Chamber distinctive, says Director Amy Todd, is how involved the members are. Each month the Chamber offers either an after-hours networking event or a lunch-and-learn educational presentation—and attendance at events is typically 40–50 members. This kind of involvement is what makes the Chamber thrive, says Todd: “We can put on all kinds of events and offer all kinds of tools, but if people don’t participate, they won’t get anything out of the Chamber.” Todd credits the Lansing business community for making the Lansing Area Chamber a success, because they are “people who want to network, get together, share ideas, and try to get business from each other.”
2. You don’t have to be a business to benefit from the Lansing Area Chamber.
Members of the Lansing Area Chamber include schools, churches, the Lan-Oak Park District, nonprofit organizations, and government employees. Because the members are so active, all types of organizations benefit from the connections they make at Chamber events. For example, at the February Business After Hours event, representatives from LARC were able to make new contacts who might be interested in attending or sponsoring their Annual Appreciation Dinner, a Lansing tradition. And the March Chamber luncheon at JJ Kelley’s will feature a presentation by Kevin Kaminski of Edward Jones, who will share information about retirement financial planning.
3. You don’t have to be an organization to benefit from the Lansing Area Chamber.
Of course, a thriving business community helps the community at large, but the Lansing Area Chamber also hosts special events and programs that directly benefit residents. “We do a lot for the business community, but we also do a lot for the residents,” says Todd. Events that people might not realize are run by the Lansing Area Chamber include:
- Good Neighbor Day Parade
- LOOP Bike Ride
- Family Giving Program—school backpacks
- Family Giving Program—Christmas gifts
4. You don’t have to be a member to benefit from the Lansing Area Chamber
All Chamber events are open to anyone who wants to attend. One of the member benefits is discounted pricing for events where a registration fee is required, but other networking events are free, and they’re still open to anyone. Todd encourages nonmembers to attend and get a sense of the kinds of people and businesses in Lansing, and she’s honest about her motivation: “I think they’ll become members once they experience our events and see what we have going on.” For example, at Business After Hours events, she says, “A LOT of business cards get passed around.”
5. You don’t have to be in Lansing to benefit from the Lansing Area Chamber.
Todd has built relationships with Chambers from neighboring villages, and she offers discounted rates to members of those Chambers who want to join the Lansing Area Chamber. (Those Chambers also reciprocate if Lansing businesses want to join their Chamber.) The January lunch event was hosted by the Glenwood Country Club, a new member. Todd mentioned that Gabe’s Restaurant in Glenwood also recently joined.
More information about membership, benefits, and upcoming events is available from the Lansing Area Chamber: