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New options for chamber members: Famulak

Five different levels of membership offer products and services tailored to needs



Members of the Whistler Chamber of Commerce have voted to allow a new tiered model for membership to the organization.

There will now be five levels of membership: Build, Grow, Connect, Influence and Lead.

Chamber chief executive officer Fiona Famulak said the new model provides greater opportunities to those members who want more involvement and answers their need for relevance and value from the chamber.

"Also because of demographics, changes to how we do business, how we communicate, the impact of social media and technology and so on... if we're not aware and receptive to those changes then we'll become a dying breed," Famulak said.

"The important message for our members is that the new model represents no change for the majority because those who invest at the $300 level today will be able to invest at that level going forward. However, the model represents loads of opportunities for members to consider."

The changes were discussed by the board in 2011 and are part of its strategic plan that runs until 2016.

With Famulak leaving the Whistler chamber on July 29 to take on the role of president and CEO with the Vancouver Regional Construction Association, this is one of her last major changes to the chamber.

"Relevance and value was one of the four areas we identified in 2011 and the implementation of tiered membership is basically another tool to deliver increased value to members," she said.

"It helps to attract new members and is important to the business community as a whole."

The Build level of membership offers benefits identical to those currently offered by the chamber at $300 per year. Famulak calls it the "entry level" membership that many will recognize and said she expects 90 per cent of members, who already have the $300 membership, sticking to it until they see which other tiers can work for them.

"The tiers have been created according to what our members want. We've bundled tiers that include chamber products and services that we've tested with our members," Famulak said. "The beauty of the model is that as their business needs change, they grow and take on more staff or diversify, the can join another tier that fills those needs in the future."

These include access to enhanced promotional tools, opportunities to access peer-to-peer learning groups, playing an active role in policy and advocacy and influencing the strategic direction of the business community.

The other tiers are Growth for $625 per annum, Connect for $1,300 per annum, Influence for $2,500 per annum and Lead for $3,600 per annum.

The Whistler chamber is the second in British Columbia, after Kelowna, to bring in such changes. The new membership options are effective Sept. 1, 2013.

Saying thanks

All Whistler Chamber of Commerce members are invited to a leaving event for Famulak, whose last day with the chamber is on July 29. The party takes place on the patio at the Nicklaus North Golf Course on Wednesday, July 24 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. There will be cocktails and appetizers.

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