Best chamber events promote business, community

Lisa B. Konicki in November was named the 2011 Chamber Executive of the Year for New England by the New England Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives. More

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Best chamber events promote business, community

PBN PHOTO/RUPERT WHITELEY
RHODE MAP: Lisa Konicki, executive director of the Greater Westerly-Pawcatuck Area Chamber, says the Chamber cannot support a toll on I-95 in the Hopkington area as a way to generate revenue.
Posted 1/2/12

Lisa B. Konicki in November was named the 2011 Chamber Executive of the Year for New England by the New England Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives.

As executive director of the Greater Westerly-Pawcatuck Area Chamber of Commerce for 11 years, she has more than doubled the Chamber’s operating budget and the revenue needed to support it. She organizes dozens of annual events that literally bring in thousands of dollars to the Chamber and its members, such as an art show, a gift-certificate program and a river duck race.

She helped save downtown trolleys, began a welcoming campaign that gives free advertising to new businesses, made sure flowers brighten up the business district and she’s started a coalition for those engaged in revitalizing Main Streets across the region.

PBN: What is your top priority as director of the Greater Westerly-Pawcatuck Area Chamber of Commerce?

KONICKI: I believe my top priority is making my members money or saving them money, plain and simple. They invest their dues with us, they entrust us with that investment and I believe it is my responsibility to see that they get a significant return on that investment.

PBN: How do you go about doing that?

KONICKI: There is nothing better than when I have the opportunity to write a check to one of my members, and we do a lot of that. We have a gift-certificate program here that generates more than $260,000 a year for our members. There are some companies that pay us $185 or $200 a year [in dues] and they get 10, 15 times that back in gift-certificate sales.

PBN: How does that program work?

KONICKI: We sell gift certificates year-round in denominations of $10, $25 and $50 and they can be used at any Chamber-member facility. So when you buy a gift certificate from us, we give you a list of all our members.

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