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2024 Affiliate Chamber Spotlight: Norwalk Chamber of Commerce

Norwalk Chamber

May 10, 2024

Chamber Name & Website

Norwalk Area Chamber of Commerce

Elected Leader for 2024

Lorie Williamson, President

Professional Staff Leader of the Chamber

Lauren Ebensteiner, Executive Director

Number of Members

233 & counting!

How Does a Business Join Your Chamber?

Most members join online through our website. That way they can join when it’s convenient for them, and they’re able to enter their information themselves. For members who have bigger teams, are investing in sponsorships or have more questions, I’m happy to walk through the registration process either in person at the chamber office or via phone. We welcome businesses, nonprofit organizations and individuals to be part of our growing membership!

2024 Board

What Inspired You to First Get Involved with Your Chamber?

I have fond childhood memories of when my parents owned a small business in rural Iowa, and I knew I wanted to support local businesses in the way others supported my family’s business. I love working with people, and the chamber allows me to play a small part in building up our business community through facilitating networking opportunities, connecting members to resources, and promoting our member businesses.

What is the Signature Offering of Your Chamber?

Part of our mission is to work to enhance the quality of life in the Norwalk area, and one of the ways we do that is through our relationship with the Norwalk School District. Each year, we host a membership lunch that is focused on welcoming the district’s newest teachers and admin to the community. We gift each new district employee a bag full of teaching necessities and goodies, all generously donated by our members. It’s a unifying event and one of our favorite days!

What is Your Chamber’s Biggest Accomplishment in the Past 12 Months?

Last year we debuted the Norwalk Area Women’s Collective, which is a networking group that meets monthly for coffee and professional development. We bring in speakers to inform attendees about a range of topics relevant to women in business. Some of our past topics have included work-life balance, volunteerism, women’s rights, goal setting and leadership. It’s been rewarding to watch the group grow from just a handful of attendees to nearly 30 last month. The friendships and mentorships that have come from this group have been wonderful to witness!

What Initiative/Project Are You Looking Forward to in the Upcoming Year?

This year, we’re hosting our first Speed Networking Event and we’re looking forward to offering this to the community, not just to chamber members. We’ve hired Lisa Even to lead the event and she’ll be giving participants prompter topics and questions to utilize during the networking portion of the event. The goal is to give participants the opportunity to build authentic connections in a short period of time that can translate to future clients, career opportunities, referrals, etc.

We’re also really looking forward to collaborating with the City of Norwalk to celebrate the grand opening of Norwalk Central. We’re anticipating a fall date and highly encourage you to keep an eye out for details!

What Partnership Tools/Resources Have Been Most Beneficial to Your Chamber Members?

In the last year, we’ve initiated quarterly Small Business Roundtables where we invite a group of chamber members to a roundtable discussion with Greater Des Moines Partnership leaders. Topics vary, but each roundtable has resulted in new connections and opportunities for our members, and the partnership’s representatives get to hear NACC members share their strengths and challenges of working in the Norwalk area. It’s a win-win for everyone who participates.

Norwalk Chamber Ribbon Cutting

What Are Your Upcoming Events?

  • Food Drive: Wednesday, May 15 from 3:30 – 5:30 p.m. at the Fareway Parking Lot; (Benefitting the Norwalk Area Food Pantry)
  • Speed Networking Event: Tuesday, May 21 from 2 – 4 p.m. at St. John the Apostle Catholic Church
  • Annual Golf Outing: Tuesday, June 18 at 9 a.m. at The Legacy Golf Club; (Benefitting the chamber’s scholarship fund)
  • RUNorwalk 5K & 10K: Saturday, Oct. 26

The Greater Des Moines Partnership is the second largest regional Chamber of Commerce in the nation. Learn more about Partnership Affiliate Chambers, find out about Partnership Member benefits, browse the Membership directory and find Chamber events across the region.

Becca Squiers

Becca Squiers has been the Executive Director of the Pleasant Hill Chamber of Commerce for almost two years. She loves meeting with Chamber members to get to know how to serve them better. On a personal note, she loves karaoke and supporting the live music scene.