When times change, so do the needs of the local business community. The Edina Chamber of Commerce continually seeks to understand those needs and to fine-tune its mission to help create the best possible living and working environment in Edina.
Our changing times are immediately evident in the chamber’s all female staff made up of women who represent varying life stages and perspectives.
Lori Syverson has served as chamber president for seven years and has put a lot of effort into determining what a chamber of commerce mission looks like for the future. She believes that our unique community is more open than most to the idea of partnerships. The Edina Chamber of Commerce has gone from being strictly focused on helping businesses grow to also trying to help the entire community grow and prosper. “That’s good business,” Syverson says. Projects that help Edina become a “well-being” destination where residents and business owners can live a happy, healthy life throughout their life are priorities for Syverson, including attention to green space and healthcare programming. “Business owners today want to be part of something bigger than just having their own business prosper,” she says.
Deb Hanson is the membership sales manager. She also oversees the chamber’s Sunrise Education initiative. The Sunrise Edina business breakfast happens once a month at Tavern on France. Local businesses get to be presenters at these events and that’s an attractive opportunity to local business owners. Hanson also spends a lot of time building relationships through networking and helping to connect businesses that might be interested in collaborating. She says the annual State of the Community event put on by the Edina Chamber of Commerce and the Edina Rotary Clubs is an excellent example of a collaborative effort that is great for residents.
Shelly Loberg is director of Explore Edina, the chamber’s visitor bureau. She notes how vital tourism is to the city of Edina. She says, “Forty thousand people come to Edina to work every day. Hospitality is a large part of that.” She also notes how important it is to her to have a career where the work is meaningful and how much she appreciates that all factions of the community really support each other even when they disagree.
Lauren Elrick is the chamber’s communications coordinator and also heads up the chamber’s emerging leaders initiative. She recalls one of her first big days was helping put on the Taste of Edina immediately after the event planner had left the organization for another opportunity. “We all needed to chip in and it came together,” Elrick says. Syverson remembers how Elrick was all smiles and said, ‘that was so fun!’” Syverson values that moment as a reminder of the infectious can-do spirit of her team.
“It’s a great support group,” Hanson says of her co-workers which now also includes the newest team member Caitlyn Quast, marketing and event coordinator. “I so appreciate the women I work with. We are all strong and passionate about what we’re doing.”