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What you can learn from the director of the Lebanon Area Chamber of Commerce

Renee Wisser has served as the Executive Director of the Lebanon Area Chamber of Commerce since May of 2017. We recently talked with Wisser about her role and learned more about the Lebanon Expo, which is coming up on Saturday, March 3.

The Lebanon Area Chamber of Commerce serves 350-member businesses and organizations. Visit the Chamber online at www.LebanonChamber.org, or call 513-932-1100. The Lebanon Area Chamber of Commerce is located at 212 N. Broadway #2.

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Q: Tell us about yourself.

A: I am originally from Findlay, Ohio, went to high school in London, England, and met my husband at Miami University. Our families both lived far away, and after we were married, we decided live and work in the Cincinnati area. We have called Lebanon our home for 25 years. We have 3 children: Tyler (24), Cael (16,) and Rachel (14).

I graduated with degree in business administration with a major in Personnel and Employment Relations and my career has included experience in purchasing and operations, human resources, project management, customer relations and fundraising. I had my first job when I was 14 and have worked in a variety of industries including retail, manufacturing, and non-profit.

Q: What does a typical day look like for you?

A: Every day is different. I spend most of my time building relationships and serving our membership, while juggling many different tasks, so each day takes on a life of its own. I communicate with members and the community at events, meetings, via phone and email, and at the grocery store.

Q: What are some of your hobbies? What do you enjoy doing when you’re not at work?

A: I enjoy cooking and spending time with my family. My favorite thing to do is to work outside kneeling in flower beds pulling weeds as long as I can stay away from poison ivy. I love being outdoors with my phone turned off and having my hands in the soil.

Q: What are you enjoying the most about your role?

A: I really like helping people connect with one another, so that needs are met, and that can be through a variety of ways. It might be a community member calling for help to connect to an organization that’s going to provide them with a service they need, or it may be a business needing to connect with someone specific in regard to a need that they have. I can invite them to a function where they will meet people that will help them. It’s hard to answer what I like the most, because there are so many different aspects.

I like trying to bring order out of chaos, but I don’t want that to be perceived in a negative way. There are a lot of moving parts for what we do. I like the opportunity to bring those parts together for a common purpose, and do it with at level of calmness, so that people feel like everything is being handled in a professional way, and in a way that promotes teamwork.

Q: How have you seen community leaders engage through the Lebanon Chamber?

A: We have a tremendous community in Lebanon and community leaders that are very active in the Chamber. Some serve on the board or on event committees, and many engage in Chamber activities and events. The Chamber’s success is dependent upon the leaders in the community, businesses and individual community members working together to support (the various) initiatives.

Q: From your perspective, what are some of the biggest benefits the Chamber offers to its members?

A: Chamber membership is available to all businesses and organizations in the Lebanon area. The Chamber offers a wide variety of benefits and some members may find that some available benefits apply to more to their organizations than others. For example, worker’s compensation discounts offer significant savings to some of our members that make chamber membership a necessity. Others may view chamber membership as a way to network with other members and make connections that are necessary for their success. Being a chamber member often has different advantages to various members, but one thing we offer to all is visibility in the community and the ability to work together to make Lebanon a place that attracts others to live, work, and visit.

Q: Why would you encourage those in the community to become a member of the Chamber?

A: One of the things we like to look at is when you become part of the Lebanon Area Chamber of Commerce, you become part of the business community. One of the quotes on our brochure is “We’re committed to helping your business thrive by offering cost-saving programs, visibility and tools to help you connect, grow and lead.” That’s a tagline we’ve used over the last year.

Every Chamber member benefits from our wide variety of programs and services that help members build their companies, reduce the cost of doing business, and contribute to a better community.

Q: Can you share about a few upcoming events?

A: We are currently planning for the Lebanon Expo on Saturday, March 3, our Golf Classic on May 4 and the third Friday on Mulberry summer series.

Our biggest event of the year is the Lebanon Horse Drawn Carriage Parade and Christmas Festival and we have already started planning for that event. We will be celebrating 30 years this year on Dec. 1.

Q: The Expo is coming up on March 3. Can you tell us about that event and what to expect?

A: The Lebanon Chamber of Commerce provides an opportunity for the community, business and service providers to connect during The Sixth Annual Lebanon Expo, which will be held on Saturday, March 3 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Attendees will learn about the great local products and services that our community offers. The event is located at the Lebanon High School and will held in conjunction with the Rotary Pancake Breakfast. Lebanon Expo will highlight more than 70 exhibitors, which will feature service businesses and non-profit organizations. The expo event is free and open to the public. Tickets for the “All-You-Care-to-Eat” Rotary Pancake Breakfast are $6 for adults and $4 for children under 12. The Rotary Pancake Breakfast will run from 7 to 11:30 a.m. Tickets for the breakfast are available at The Chamber, from Lebanon Rotary Club members and at the door the day of the event. The Expo and Rotary Pancake Breakfast will be going on side by side with the breakfast in the cafeteria, and the Expo in the gym. Lebanon High School is located at 1916 Drake Road.

There are several new features at Expo this year. We are partnering with The Arts Council of Lebanon to offer an art component to the Expo. The Arts Council of Lebanon is working with art teachers from Lebanon High School. They are going to be doing a “Senior Spotlight,” which will showcase artwork from seniors at Lebanon High School. Several live art demonstrations are also being planned. Additionally, two musical groups will be performing in the cafeteria during breakfast. The Lebanon High School Orchestra will perform from 10 to 10:45 a.m., and the Lebanon Symphony Youth Orchestra will be on stage from 9 to 9:30 a.m.

Q: Anything else you’d like to share?

A: I would like to extend gratitude toward so many people that make this organization flourish. That goes to our board members, but also to our key business members, who are engaged and supportive of all of our initiatives.

I’m also happy to announce that Genevieve Sanzi, a Lebanon resident, joined the Chamber in October of 2017 as our Membership & Marketing Specialist. It’s wonderful to have her on board.

Contact this contributing writer at gmwriteon@aol.com.

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