By Sara E. Teller
KERI VALMASSEI HAS HELD THE TITLE OF DIRECTOR at Madison Heights/ Hazel Park’s Chamber of Commerce for six years. Asked to describe what her position entails, she said, “A lot of hats. Lots and lots of hats. I’m an ambassador, event coordinator, counselor, marketer, promoter, welcome-wagon, connector and more plus cleaning service and secretary. Directors do a lot of things under the umbrella.”
Regarding what the Chamber does, exactly, Valmassei said, “The Chamber of Commerce is here to promote local business. We do this through arranging networking events, publicity, making introductions, and general promotion. The Chamber is the only place where you can get a marketing team at a fraction of the price you’d pay an agency. And no one knows our communities better than we do!” She added, “The Chamber of Commerce is valuable to residents because we provide a trusted lineup of providers that has been vetted, so consumers know they can trust our members.”
The Madison Heights/Hazel Park Chamber of Commerce is governed by a Board of Directors, with execution by a Director. According to its website, it is “dedicated to promoting business and provides lines of communication with the cities.” It also “encourages and sponsors civic activity.” The Chamber is responsible for coordinating the annual State of the Cities address, where community members can get a playback of the previous year as well as hear what’s planned for the current year from community leaders.
Members of the Madison Heights/Hazel Park Chamber of Commerce include an eclectic mix of home-based businesses, large corporations, and everything in-between. These businesses do not have to have a residency in either city to participate, and they enjoy exclusive benefits such as discounts and deals made available to them via an affiliate program, networking possibilities, and access to an online directory, to name a few.
THE ORGANIZATION ALSO SUPPORTS THE COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT TEAM, the Hazel Park Literacy Project, Hazel Park’s animal shelter, and its school district, and members participate in charitable events, partnering with the Community Coalition. In the past, participating businesses worked together with the Coalition to donate well over 100 backpacks to needy families with children getting ready to go back to school.
“We plan at least three events a month,” Valmassei explained, “Our calendar is available online at www.madisonheightschamber.com. “Coffee & Companies,”
“Drop-In Lunches” and “After Hours” are some of the events currently scheduled, as well as our annual Golf Outing and Gala Fundraiser.”
The Chamber also arranges ribbon-cuttings and grand openings for members and partners with other area Chambers to host collaborative events. These events bring people from all over and provide a perfect opportunity to mix and mingle.
Prior to landing her current position, Valmassei had a marketing and promotions background, and also held management positions as well as on-air positions at a few radio stations. A local to the area, she said, “I sleep in Royal Oak, but I live in Madison Heights and Hazel Park.”
She loves the ability to wear many hats in her current role and be involved in many different activities. “There are no two days the same,” Valmassei said fondly. “I’ve really enjoyed making connections with so many people in the community. I feel like I’ve found another family.”
Asked about plans in the works at the Chamber for the current year, she added, “2019 is going to be an exciting year! The Chamber is here to serve residents and businesses – give us a call.”