Hailey Jungel, Author at Lakewood Construction

Creating a Stronger Community Together

Guest Post: Jodi Owczarski, Michigan West Coast Chamber of Commerce

Volunteering is an essential aspect of building stronger communities, and leaders have a significant role to play in this regard. Back in 1988, the Chamber launched the first cohort of its Leadership program. This program was designed to build an informed, committed, and diverse network of community trustees. Since that time, more than 900 of our community members have gone through the program and are prepared to serve in critical leadership roles. However, that’s not been enough. The challenge often comes in creating an ongoing awareness and connection between the needs that exist and the individuals that are willing to serve. In fact, it was this very challenge that was identified as a critical issue to be addressed by the Lakeshore Leadership Council in the fall of 2022.

As a result, the West Coast Chamber, in partnership with the Lakeshore Leadership Council, has launched a new program called West Coast Connect. This online platform is designed to remove barriers and provide visibility to both opportunities to serve and leaders who are willing to volunteer. The online directory will highlight opportunities to serve nonprofit organizations through roles on a board of directors or in high level/skilled committees. It will also include opportunities to serve in important roles at local municipalities, such as a school boards, township boards and committees, city council, county commission, as well as state
and federal legislative seats.

By participating in the program, all leaders in our community will be able to create a profile that highlights their areas of interest as well as the unique skillset that they would bring. Organizations would have the opportunity to review the leadership directory to help find individuals to fill their open needs.

The platform will also have an educational component to provide the resources needed to serve effectively. The impact of this program on the community is expected to be significant. By providing a platform for leaders to volunteer, the program will help to bridge the gap between the business community and the needs of the community at large.

West Coast Connect has the potential to create a ripple effect of positive change for years to come. When leaders volunteer and inspire others to do the same, it creates a culture of giving back and makes a lasting impact on the community. As more individuals and organizations get involved, the program can continue to grow and have an even greater impact on the area. Our community is stronger when we work together, and West Coast Connect is an excellent way to do just that!