From Katherine Harrington, President & CEO | West Des Moines Chamber of Commerce
Dear Members, Partners, and Friends of the West Des Moines Chamber of Commerce,
As we reflect on the remarkable year that was 2023, I am thrilled to share with you the exciting impacts and achievements of the West Des Moines Chamber. It has been a year of tremendous growth, recognition, and community engagement, and we owe our success to our dedicated team of seven, including our exceptional interns, and the hundreds of volunteers who continue to support our mission.
Over the past three years, the WDM Chamber and its team members have received an astounding 14 awards, a testament to our unwavering commitment to excellence. In 2022, we were honored to be named one of the three finalists for the ACCE Chamber of the Year USA award, an achievement that we take immense pride in.
Our primary goal has always been to serve our community and contribute to making the City of West Des Moines the best place to live, work, and play in America. In 2023, we made significant strides toward this goal, and here are some of the outstanding accomplishments we have achieved:
- West YP: Our young professional’s group, West YP, has become the largest YP program in the entire state of Iowa, showcasing the talent and potential of our community’s future leaders.
- Talent Attraction Campaign: We embarked on a groundbreaking talent attraction campaign in partnership with 10 organizations, aiming to bring exceptional talent to our community and help keep them here.
- Candy Cane Trail: We introduced the “Candy Cane Trail,” a new promotion to drive traffic to small businesses, providing a sweet boost to our local economy.
- YURtern for Summer Interns: Over 300 youth from 17 colleges and universities, representing 28 areas of study, participated in our YURtern program, preparing the next generation of professionals and leaders and helping them fall in love with our city.
- Community Giving: Since 2011, the WDM Chamber has raised and donated over $450,000 to nonprofits, small businesses, and more through sponsor donations and fundraisers, demonstrating our commitment to the well-being of our community.
- Social Media Growth: Our social media presence grew by 10%, attracting nearly 2,000 new followers and reaching over 15,000 individuals, allowing us to connect and engage with a wider audience and tell the story of our beautiful city and members.
- Event Expansion: We successfully organized over 150 events and gatherings in 2023, with event participation increasing by 10%, highlighting our role as a hub for networking and collaboration.
- Membership Growth: We welcomed 145 new Chamber members in 2023 (and counting), strengthening our community of businesses and organizations, and as of December 19, we stand proudly at 785 members strong.
- President’s Council: We are excited to announce the addition of five new President’s Council members, the highest level of membership within our organization.
- Committees & Micro Groups: The WDM Chamber is proud to work with hundreds of volunteers from across the entire region who generously support our programming. We are thrilled to have over 25 committees and micro groups dedicated to serving various areas of our community, fostering collaboration, and driving positive change.
- Team Expansion: Two new team members joined us this year, further enhancing our ability to serve our community effectively.
- WDM Chamber Foundation: We initiated the WDM Chamber Foundation, marking a significant step in supporting initiatives that will benefit our community for years to come.
- Promoting our City: Our team produced an impressive 166 newsletters, generating over 850,000 total impressions, keeping our members and community informed and engaged.
As we look ahead to 2024, we anticipate a very special year as we celebrate our 100-year anniversary. We have more than 10 exciting programs and event amplifications planned, making this the perfect time to become a WDM Chamber member and take full advantage of the dynamic developments taking place in our region. Remember, “The WEST is yet to Come,” and together, we will continue to shape the future of West Des Moines.
Thank you for your continued support, dedication, and enthusiasm. We couldn’t have achieved all this without each and every one of you. Here’s to a bright and promising future for our Chamber and our community!
Katherine Harrington – The Very Proud President and CEO of the West Des Moines Chamber of Commerce