A couple years ago, we made a transformation in the way we think about Partnership membership, and renewed our focus on building relationships, rather than simply memberships. We created a team in our membership department called Investor Relations, whose job it was to basically sit down with as many of our members as possible to hear their stories, celebrate their successes and learn their challenges.
From the information we've been gathered, we've been able to steer Partnership programming to better meet the needs of our members. Think of Amazon.com - how every time you make a purchase, they collect your information. Then, the next time you visit, they put together specific suggestions for you that what you've already told them indicates might be useful to you. We've done the same thing here - you tell us what your company needs and we assess that information and find a way to present it in a way that benefits you. Some of the Partnership initiatives that have come out directly of listening to and analyzing the needs of our members include:
- Creation of Buffalo Niagara 360 - the region's young professionals program developing the Buffalo Niagara's next generation of business leaders and innovators. (Don't forget about the Buffalo Niagara 360 One-Year Anniversary Party, this Thursday, 9/17 at Shanghai Reds!)
- Partnership target industry "action agendas," which will be released next week, and will drive the Partnership's efforts in each of the region's six target industry sectors: advanced manufacturing, agribusiness, life sciences, logistics, professional services and renewable energy.
- Placement of UB2020 as the region's top economic development priority in the 2009 Regional Agenda
- A move from the day-long "Issues Summit" event from year's past to the very popular Innovate Buffalo Niagara awards program, which focuses on the region's growth industries and highlights successes in our region.