Cleveland Business Connects

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Business Networking Organization of the Year (All-Around) — Heights-Hillcrest Regional Chamber of Commerce

The Heights-Hillcrest Regional Chamber of Commerce — representing Cleveland Heights, Lyndhurst, Richmond Heights, Shaker Heights, South Euclid, and University Heights — approached each of its members in 2015 with a message: “We’re on a mission.” Many of those members, of course, figured HRCC was seeking support. But led by Executive Director Angie Pohlman and Board President Chris Scheuer, the chamber convinced its constituents that all it wanted was for them to make one more significant connection — to help themselves. This could be with another member, service, or product; with one of the group’s partnering organizations, such as Bad Girl Ventures, 10,000 Small Businesses, or COSE; or even with someone who wasn’t a member of the chamber. One of HRCC’s member companies, Bluestone Trading, wound up meeting a prospective member, Wes Airgood, the owner of Wanderlust Jewelers. “We asked Richie, the owner of Bluestone Trading, if he might like to meet someone who made custom jewelry, and before I could finish the question, there was a ‘Yes,’” Pohlman said. “It has already proved to be a successful relationship; Richie gained a new client, and Wes found a new supplier locally, who was able to save him money to boot.” Airgood not only joined the chamber, he started spreading the word to other business owners about HRCC and bringing more people to its events. “The connection turned out be a multi-layered success story,” Pohlman said. “Not every story has had such a swift and dramatic impact, but they are plentiful and ongoing, and the connections are creating a new level of networking satisfaction, and a new buzz at our events.” This intentional, systematic approach to offering customized networking service has empowered HRCC and “keeps us sharp,” Pohlman said. “In terms of finding joy in our journey, it is a ‘connectivity high’ that can happen every day. Each and every connection that is made is a rush.”

Runners-up: International Special Events Society Cleveland; The Opportunity Network; Rotary Club of Cleveland; Willoughby Western Lake County Chamber of Commerce.

2015 —Heights-Hillcrest Regional Chamber of Commerce
2014 — YP Pantry, Greater Cleveland Food Bank
2013 — International Special  Events Society Cleveland
2012 — Rotary Club of Cleveland
2011 — Council of Smaller Enterprises
2010 — Sales and Marketing Executives Cleveland
2009 — Sales and Marketing Executives Cleveland
2008 — International Special Events Society Cleveland
2007 — Sales and Marketing Executives Cleveland

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