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September 19, 2018

Q&A with Tameika Miller, director of marketing, Greater New Haven Chamber of Commerce

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From grand events to smaller group sessions, Tameika G. Miller is hard at work making sure the Greater New Haven Chamber of Commerce has the business community’s back. As the 222-year-old business group’s director of marketing strategy and communication, Miller strives to keep up with the changing needs of chamber member companies.

Q: Why is it still important for the chamber to focus on diversity and inclusion?

The chamber has a long history of serving the needs of our business community. From our historic beginnings [founded in 1794], where we represented the concerns of 26 New Haven businessmen who united to persuade the federal government to keep the city’s maritime shipping out of the hands of privateers, to today -- we review continually the content of our programming and initiatives to ensure relevancy and value for all members of our community. With the region’s increasingly diverse market and workforces, the Greater New Haven Chamber recognizes the importance of diversity and inclusion as catalysts for growth and prosperity. We promote situations and environments where all contributions are heard.

Q: In the time since you joined the chamber, which initiatives have you focused on first?

I began my tenure at the chamber in May 2017. Since then I’ve worked on a number of initiatives that support our strategic plan to promote economic development and growth for the region and to make this area is a place where people want to live, work and play. That trifecta is important to me personally.

Specifically, I helped to launch a diversity and inclusion committee, a volunteer team of chamber partners focused on assisting the chamber in maintaining relevant governance, programming and events that appeal to all. I also helped to plan the sessions for our signature leadership development program called the Leadership Center. This center, sponsored by the Regional Water Authority, is home to both Leadership Greater New Haven and the Executive Orientation. These two programs offer aspiring community leaders and business executives a series of practical hands-on training in professional development, as well as education in social and economic issues that impact our greater New Haven community.

Toward the end of my first six months, I led of team of staff and volunteers to host our largest event, always in November, that attracts over 2,000 attendees — our business expo. It’s a packed one-day event filled with exhibitors, keynotes, seminars, an amazing food showcase for lunch called “The Big Taste,” and plenty of opportunities for professionals to network.

Q: What are some of the most pressing needs for your members? Does the role of the chamber remain essentially the same over time, or is it always evolving?

In my time as director of marketing at the chamber, as I speak with people at our various events, it seems to be most about connections and advocacy. Business professionals value our ability to connect people and organizations who have a common goal. And when there is a cause or initiative that is of concern to our partners, we investigate and vet the issues, and then rally support to address those issues with key stakeholders and constituents in the business community — advocacy.

Q: What are you looking forward to for the fall season of chamber programming and events?

There is so much to do and get involved in when you are a partner of this chamber! From joining a leads group, to becoming a member of our industry-focused councils, to attending our many events, there is so much for a hungry business professional. This fall, we’re gearing up to host 600 members of the business community at our annual Business Leadership Awards luncheon on Oct. 4 at the Omni New Haven Hotel at Yale. We honor 10 outstanding business individuals and/ore organizations who have made significant contributions to our region. Also in October, we launch our Leadership Center programs sponsored by the Regional Water Authority, where we equip aspiring community leaders and business executives with the tools, resources and connections to compete and be successful in this region. It’s definitely not your ordinary leadership training program. Finally, in November, we’ll host more than 2,000 business professionals at the Big Connect, Connecticut’s premier business expo, taking place on Nov. 15 at the Toyota Oakdale Theatre in Wallingford.

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