Homewood Magazine

2015

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h o m e w o o d c h a m b e r. o r g 11 H Strategic plans give us a better sense of direction, help guide us as a staff, and make the organization more focused. Left to Right: Meredith Drennen; The Chamber's new building located on Hollywood Blvd. We sat down to talk to Meredith about the Homewood Chamber's 75th Anniversary, the Chamber's new home, and what the future holds for Homewood's business community. 1) HOMEWOOD MAGAZINE: What's your background? MEREDITH DRENNEN: I graduated with undergraduate and master's degrees from the University of Alabama. My fi rst job out of graduate school was with the Birmingham Business Alliance where I stayed for 8 years. During my time at the BBA, I developed young professional initiatives, worked in operations and events, community planning, and developing strategic plans. It was a great learning experience and gave me Chamber of Commerce experience. 2) HW MAG: What made you want to pursue the Homewood Chamber Directorship? MD: Through the BBA, I had a breadth of experience in the Chamber world, and I have lived in Homewood since 2011. The job became available, and honestly it's not very often that the Chamber job in your town comes open. All the pieces came together, and I'm just happy to be here and help our Chamber members achieve their business goals. 3) HW MAG: What skills do you bring to the Homewood Chamber? MD: My skill set is organizational management. I'm two years in to the four-year U.S. Chamber of Commerce program, which has taught me so much about all of aspects of Chamber of Commerce management. It has taught me the language of technology as applicable to Chambers of Commerce. I'm very tech-focused—we've installed ChamberMaster database manage- ment software, which will help streamline billing, invoicing, and membership management. I also have experience creating strategic plans, planning events, and running successful websites. 4) HW MAG: What do you think about the Chamber's new home (the Homewood Chamber of Commerce began the year by moving from its offi ces in the basement of the Homewood Public Library to the former Homewood Board of Education building on Hollywood Blvd.)? MD: Our new building gives us great street presence, a storefront if you will. That allows us to be more open and engaged as an organization just by being more conveniently located. We are in close proximity to major areas of business and schools. We also have room to grow here. 5) HW MAG: What are your goals for the Chamber? MD: We've already accomplished one of my fi rst goals: to install a membership database. I think this will change our relationship with our members. Long term, I want to work with the city, our members, and the community to create a strategic plan. Strategic plans give us a better sense of direction, help guide us as a staff, and make the organization more focused. 6) HW MAG: What do you love about living and working in Homewood? MD: Homewood is so walkable! The whole city has great foot access, and the sidewalks create connectivity. I love how broad the business community is—we have great retail, industry, a strong medical sector. It's been a fun ride so far—we have fresh eyes and new energy. I'm excited to get to work!

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