“Hi, my name is Shelby, I’m the summer intern for Jason and Meghan at the chamber.”
This has been my introduction for a month now.
I started at the Gardner Edgerton Chamber of Commerce at the beginning of May and I knew close to nothing about Chambers of Commerce or what they do, but I jumped in.
My first day was the day of the Annual Chamber Dinner. I helped with set up and clean up, but in between that I just watched and listened trying to learn as much as I could. I met a ton of people and did the best I could to remember names. Every person greeted me with a warm welcome and was very inclusive.
My first few weeks in the office I was pretty quiet (which if you know me, you may call this a miracle). I was quiet because I was trying to absorb and understand everything around me. Both Jason and Meghan gave me direction, but at the same time, freedom to learn on my own. Since I started I have been encouraged to offer my opinion and ask questions which really helped in my understanding of the chamber operations.
Now, a month later I have gained a little more knowledge. Here is my take on what the Gardner Edgerton Chamber of Commerce does; The Chamber is a single entity that brings businesses and business leaders together who have a common goal of bettering their business as well as the local community.
After sitting in on meetings, being in the office, attending events, and overhearing phone calls, I have heard the chamber “spiel” multiple times in many different environments. As sugar coated as the “spiel” sounds, I have seen the reality, and it truly is sweet.
Make no mistake, I didn’t say perfect, there are aspects that could use improvement; but Jason and Meghan are leading the Chamber on a fresh path. In one of our May meetings, someone referred to us as the “un-chamber”, and I believe we are working towards becoming just that. In the month I have been here I have seen the Chamber grow and change in a positive direction.
I have lived in the Gardner Edgerton community my entire life and as much as I love the small town feeling, anything that doesn’t move forward and change will fade or even die as time passes. We are the un-chamber because we are working to change the community for the better and move away from the “well, we have always done it this way”.
Change is not easy, but it is necessary.
In just a short month I have learned about Chambers of Commerce, seen the importance of following up as well as building relationships, and become more confident in my networking skills. My favorite part of all, I have been able to learn more about the community I have called home for twenty years.
More about me
My name is Shelby Simpson. I graduated from Gardner Edgerton High School in 2015 and have lived in the community since I was born. I have two older sisters, Amanda and Hillary. Amanda is a teacher and Hillary is a cosmetologist. They are both married and Hillary has three kids. My parents, Terry and Jolana, still live in the house we grew up in, my dad is retired and my mom owns Main Street Salon. For me, family is huge and I love being an aunt. In my free time I like to be outside maybe at the lake or fishing, I like to go to concerts, specifically country concerts, and I like to bake.
I will be a junior at Northwest Missouri State University where I am studying public relations and advertising. At Northwest I am the Phi Mu vice president, a Co-President of AdInk (the advertising club), the vice president of Order of Omega, as well as a student mentor for Student Support Services. I am proud to be a Bearcat.
After college I hope to work with kids in some way. I would love to work for Children’s Mercy in their PR or marketing department. But, with two more years of college that could change a dozen more times.
I am thankful for the opportunities I have been given so far and look forward to my last few years as a student.