HollyPritulsky's avatar
How to Find Your Niche Within Your Community

I get asked by new agents in my field “How did you get involved in your community so quickly?” My answer is easy … it’s my Chamber experience. In a short five years, having made the most of my Chamber experiences and contacts, I am proud to say I am a Gilbert Chamber member! How did this happen?

Five years ago, I was given the opportunity to move from a corporate role into a sales position. As an independent contractor, I was told that you had to “get out there and make things happen”. My goodness … that was a tall order. I had no idea where to go and who to talk to make things “happen”. What did “happen” even mean?

I started in my comfort zone – my daughter’s school. I had missed out on all of the PTO/PTA type activities when she was in elementary school (since travel was over 50% of my corporate role), but since she was in junior high at the time of my new sales role, I thought “is it too late to be one of those ‘moms?’” The quick answer is no, it’s never too late! I got a notice from the school of the next PTO meeting, and I went. Surprisingly, there were only 12 parents there, unlike the hordes of moms at the elementary level that get involved. As I sat there, I volunteered an answer to a question, and to my amazement, that led to being quickly nominated and elected as Secretary of the PTO on the spot. YIKES! (Note to self, don’t raise your hand without an inkling of where that could lead! Lesson Learned!) The silver lining was that I met a mom like me, and she advised me to check out my local Chamber of Commerce’s Leadership program.

What sold me on this suggestion was the idea that I could enroll in a program that would expose me to multiple areas of my town. The opportunity to learn about things that would benefit my personal life, as well as my ability to network, made this option very appealing. My new friend said I would quickly get an overview of ALL of the places and activities that may be out there for someone like myself; someone who “needed to get out there”.

I applied for and was selected for the next Leadership class at the Chamber. It turned out to be the time of my life! It also provided a springboard into committees and events within the Chamber that piqued my interest. One of them was the Small Business Council, which concentrated on education (which was my corporate background) for increasing business acumen among small business owners. I found a home … and found a launching pad for other areas of the Chamber that excited me. I have made not only business contacts, but true friends.

I encourage everyone that needs to “get out there” to find an organization that can give them the type of exposure that I found within my local Chamber. Meeting business owners of all types within my community has made me a better manager, agent, and mom.

From someone who “Needed to get out there” … and was terrified and clueless on how to start that journey … I am lucky to say that I am out there and loving it!