Chamber adds 50 new members

Kim Bova wants to break through the ceiling.

The executive director of Ridgefield’s Chamber of Commerce has reversed the fortunes of the fledgling business network that she inherited in October 2018 by building a national health insurance network for members and offering them a discount on Verizon phone services.

“It’s a challenging world for small business owners,” said Bova, who’s incentive package has helped attract 50 new members to the Chamber in 2019. “We have to help them adapt and thrive. Business is not the same as it was 10 years ago, and that means Chambers are not the same as they were 10 years ago. ... It’s not enough any more to say that you ‘should’ be part of the local chamber just because you have a business in town. We have to provide value to our members. We fail if they don’t see the value.”

Now that the Chamber has made it “halfway through a year that we knew was going to be about triage and transition,” Bova is looking forward and setting goals.

Big goals

“We’re a little over 350 members right now, and we’re incredibly proud of that,” said Bova. “But we have to keep going forward. And that’s why it’s my goal to eclipse the largest membership the chamber’s ever had, which is a little short of 400 ... I’m confident we’re going to make it.”

She believes the incentive package she created earlier this year is one reason for businesses to join. But there are many others.

“We’re helping people,” she said. “We’re helping them create savings on their electric bill and finding cheaper health insurance coverage. These are stronger businesses because of the value they’ve received as Chamber members, and we have to keep giving them that value.”

As for reversing the trend of declining membership, Bova said she isn’t one to look back.

“Chambers have to evolve just like any other business, and that’s been my goal from day one,” she said. “... We’re building toward the future. ...

“We’re no longer a chamber of ideas, we’re a chamber with a track record.”