Teach for America founder speaks at Chamber luncheon
Every child deserves a quality education. Wendy Kopp, founder and CEO of Teach for America, shared this message during her keynote speech to 350 guests at the Chamber’s annual State of Education address, held last week at the Doubletree Hotel Tulsa Downtown.
Kopp discussed how Teach for America is helping to eliminate educational inequities in cities around the country, including Tulsa.
“These inequities are a solvable problem,” Kopp said. “A movement for genuine education reform in Tulsa is already under way, and to channel the energy of Teach for America into Tulsa is exciting.”
At an April press conference, Tulsa Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Keith Ballard announced Teach for America’s decision to expand educational opportunities for students in Tulsa beginning the fall 2009 semester.
“Teach for America has a long track record of providing talented educators who do whatever it takes to help their students succeed,” Ballard said in a press release. “I am thrilled to welcome their corps of members into our classrooms this fall.”
Teach for America is a national corps comprised of recent college graduates from all academic majors who commit to teach for two years in urban and rural public schools in an effort to eliminate educational inequity. Through the nonprofit program, 50 top college graduates will teach in Tulsa’s highest-need schools. An additional 50 teachers will come to Tulsa each of the following two years.
“The addition of these outstanding teachers and the dedication of the Teach for America program to Tulsa will help ensure more of our students are provided the opportunity to succeed,” said Susan Harris, the Chamber’s senior vice president of education and community betterment. “Tulsa’s ability to recruit and retain a talented workforce begins with the quality of our schools.”
The Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation, George Kaiser Family Foundation, and the Williams Foundation are the founding investors in Teach for America’s Tulsa site. Significant support is also being provided by QuikTrip Corporation and Tulsa Public Schools.
TYPros tackle green, fitness issues
Tulsa’s Young Professionals hosted two events last week to educate members about topics important to YPs: sustainability and health. On Tuesday, members attended the second lecture in the GreenSpeak series to learn the how-to’s of a successful household recycling program. TYPros member Lauren Lunsford (known as Rainbow Girl), a Tulsa Master Recycler and Oklahoma’s 2008 Recycler of the Year, discussed the basics of waste prevention and recycling in the Tulsa area.
TYPros also hosted the first event in its new F.I.T. (Fitness in Tulsa) series. Karisha Arnett, 2009 TYPros chair, developed the F.I.T. initiative to help give young professionals more opportunities to engage in healthy lifestyle choices and the activities and organizations Tulsa already has in place.
“When young professionals choose where they want to reside, they look for certain characteristics,” Arnett said. “Healthy lifestyle ranks up there with cost of living, arts and entertainment, and green practices.”
The April event highlighted the basics of biking and running and featured guest speakers Adam Vanderburg, owner of Lee’s Bicycles and Trek Bicycle Store of Tulsa, and RunnersWorld Tulsa owners Brian and Kathy Hoover. An optional run was also offered to F.I.T. attendees.
Visit www.typros.org for more information about the GreenSpeak series and F.I.T. initiative, and other TYPros events and involvement opportunities.
Survey shows chamber membership is good for business
Belonging to a chamber of commerce is a smart business move according to results from a recent research study conducted by the Schapiro Group and Market Street Services.
A scientific web-based survey of 2,000 adults nationwide found seven out of 10 consumers believe being actively involved in the chamber is an effective strategy for enhancing a business’ reputation and for demonstrating it uses good business practices.
“These research findings prove what we’ve suspected all along,” said Tulsa Metro Chamber President and CEO Mike Neal. “Being a member of the Chamber not only shows your support for the Tulsa community, but now we know it also improves your image among consumers and can lead to increased business.”
According to the survey, 59 percent of consumers think being active in the local chamber of commerce is an effective business strategy overall. It is 29 percent more effective for communicating to consumers that a company uses good business practices and 26 percent more effective for communicating that a business is reputable.
Additionally, results proved chamber membership for small businesses could be overwhelmingly effective in enhancing their bottom line. According to the survey, when consumers know that a small business is a member of the chamber of commerce, they are 44 percent more likely to think favorably of it and 63 percent more likely to purchase goods or services from the company in the future.
Further results of the study showed that consumers are 12 percent more likely to think the products of a highly involved chamber member (e.g., sits on the chamber board) stack up better against its competition.
To download a full copy of the report, click here.
Chamber Choice remains popular members-only benefit
For a fourth year, the Tulsa Metro Chamber partnered with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Oklahoma to provide more affordable insurance to small businesses as a member benefit, and the program saw a nearly 30 percent growth last year.
As of March 31, the program has 663 employers enrolled insuring more than 4,000 employees.
Chamber Choice is available to members with two to 99 employees with benefits including no medical underwriting, BlueOptions PPO, BlueLincs HMO, prescription drug coverage, network availability in all 50 states, dental coverage available, Group Term Life + Accidental Death coverage available, and Qualified Insure Oklahoma health plans.
The Chamber expanded the program in 2006 to offer Chamber Choice to all surrounding Chambers of Commerce. The program is now offered in Bartlesville, Bixby, Broken Arrow, Claremore, Cleveland, Collinsville, Glenpool, Greater Tulsa Hispanic Chamber, Henryetta, Jenks, Muskogee, Okmulgee, Owasso, Sand Springs, Sapulpa, Skiatook, Wagoner and Wynona. By partnering with the surrounding communities, the Tulsa Chamber is expanding the program’s availability with the goal of keeping the workforce healthy and increasing small business owners’ ability to provide for employees.
For complete details about the program, download the 2009 Chamber Choice brochure here, contact your Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Oklahoma representative, or call 918.551.3385 or visit www.bcbsok.com.
Can Twitter help your business?
With all the hype about Twitter.com these days, you may be wondering if the microblogging service can help your small business. Here are some suggested uses:
• Monitor your company name to find out what people are saying about you. If they are complaining, you can respond in real time.
• Monitor your competitors and see what people are saying about them. Search using keywords of what you offer and see if anyone is looking for the same thing.
• Use it to promote specials or communicate timely information to your customers.
Still not sure if Twitter is for you? At least sign up to register your company name as a username before someone else does. And don’t forget to follow the Tulsa Chamber for the most up-to-date news and information.
Chamber welcomes new businessesEach month the Tulsa Metro Chamber's Hospitality Club welcomes new businesses and new Chamber members to the community by assisting with ribbon cuttings and groundbreaking announcements.
Aaron Kimbrough, General Manager
524 S. Main St.
Broken Arrow, OK 74012