Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Thanksgiving is a special time

I love Thanksgiving. For me, it’s a perfect holiday in that it is inclusive, family-centered, is not overly commercial and leaves religion out of the discussion.

More important, Thanksgiving gives us an opportunity to reflect our lives and really think about all of the things we have to be thankful for. The only “gifts” exchanged on Thanksgiving are love and good times with friends and family.

On Dec. 5, the Birmingham Bloomfield Chamber will give thanks to two special individuals that go above and beyond to make our community a better place to live, work and play. Each year at our Annual Meeting, we name a Business Person of the Year as well as a First Citizen.

Linda Hatfiled, Birmingham Bloomfield Credit Union
2012 Business Person of the Year
The Business Person of the Year award acknowledges a Chamber member business leader who uses both their personal time and company resources to the benefit of our community. The First Citizen Award – which is presented in conjunction with the Birmingham Eccentric newspaper, acknowledges an individual who gives their time and talent to nonprofits and charitable organizations that work to improve the lives of those who need help the most.

Both awards are special to me personally. The Business Person of the Year award allows the Chamber to acknowledge and celebrate one of its loyal members, and I had the pleasure of presenting the First Citizen award for many years as former editor of the Birmingham Eccentric and pay much-deserved accolades to a quiet community leader who typically does not seek recognition for their efforts.
This year’s Annual Meeting is scheduled for 8-9:30 on Thursday, Dec. 5 at the Birmingham Athletic Club. Details can be found on the Chamber Web site at www.bbcc.com

Speaking of giving thanks, we all have a chance to thank our local business owners for supporting the community by heading to downtown Birmingham on Saturday, Nov. 30 to take part in Small Business Saturday. The event is intended to remind residents to “Shop Local” and support their local shopkeepers that do so much to support the greater community.

Many retailers throughout Birmingham have special events planned for the day, and shoppers will even be able to park for free at all meters downtown for the entire day. Other perks awaiting shoppers include Perks include complimentary carriage rides, live carolers, visiting Santa in Shain Park, and free cookies and hot chocolate.

I look forward to seeing everyone on Nov. 30 as well as at our Annual Meeting.
Joe Bauman is president of the Birmingham Bloomfield Chamber. He welcomes feedback at joeb@bbcc.com

Monday, November 4, 2013

Chamber internship has taught me to appreciate the truly important

Weeks ago, I told a coworker my plan to work myself into the ground while in college so I can enjoy life when I’m older. She said that this is what everyone says.

I am about to graduate into the “real world.” Like other people my age, I am afraid I am not prepared enough to achieve my idea of future success; but isn’t that what everyone, at any age, struggles to believe?

I am trying to do all the right things. I am a senior at Oakland University completing a dual major in communications and musical theater with a full-ride scholarship; an honors college member; and vice-president of a student organization. I am blessed with a well-paying job, and now I am half-way to completing an internship at the Birmingham Bloomfield Chamber. Every opportunity I am given to grow, I take.

The Birmingham Bloomfield Chamber has changed me, but in a way I did not expect at all: It made me slow down and look around at what is truly important. The folks at the Chamber bring a sense of friendship and celebration to the community. They host gala events, parades, ribbon-cuttings and road rallies. They take time to appreciate important things in life. Yes, it is beneficial to keep up with the times and always be ahead of the game. The Birmingham Bloomfield Chamber works hard to do this; but it worries me that elsewhere, people caught up in this fast-paced line of work forget the reason they do things.

I recently sat in a presentation by the Head of World Class Manufacturing at Chrysler, Jeff Kalinowski. He said that most people are unhappy because they don’t know what they’re searching for. To this, I thought there was an easy fix: always seek out what is important to you. Create your own idea of success. If you like being a stay-at-home mother, stay one. If you want to head a giant corporation, by all means don’t let me stop you.

Checking off the important things is what ultimately makes us happy, no matter what that means – landing your dream job or finishing a whole TV series on Netflix. The reason any of us keep living is to do more; achieve more. When we say this, though, we always focus on the incomprehensible future. Let this be a lesson to people of all ages and occupations: focus on what is important to you today. Do better with that, and sometime in the near or distant future – no worries –you, yourself, will become more.

Do what the Chamber does. Appreciate the small things: like being able to dress up once in a while, bonding with a coworker over lunch and finding in them a new friend, or savoring that morning cup of coffee. Who you are today is enough. If you ever don’t believe this, stop what you are doing. Decide what it is that’s truly important to you and carry on appreciating life.

Colleen Miner is a senior at Oakland University and is actively seeking employment. She welcomes feedback at chamber130@bbcc.com