Chamber members share food for thought over lunch

The Bay Area Chamber of Commerce is serving a side of learning and networking at lunchtime in 2024.

The Chamber launched its new Lunch & Learn series in January when Digital Mitten owner Jeff DeHaven shared what’s new in social media marketing. On Feb. 27, David Neal, owner of BT Tech, will lead a discussion titled “How to Use Technology to Make Your Company More Safe and Secure.”

Magen Samyn, President and CEO of the Chamber, says while Lunch & Learns are not a new concept, the Chamber hasn’t offered them here before. The series is a way for member businesses to support each other and network.

Bay Area Chamber of Commerce President Magen Samyn introduces the first in a series of Lunch & Learns.“We have amazing businesses who are part of the Chamber, who have knowledge to share, and we have other members of our Chamber who are looking to be matched up with that knowledge,” Samyn says. 

The Chamber wants “to be a convenor of our members, to be able to share their knowledge and expertise with one another.” 

Samyn says it’s a natural fit, and she’s eager to see how it helps the membership.

The format is simple. 

Once a month, members interested in a particular topic are invited to either pack a lunch or pick one up at a local restaurant on their way to the Chamber offices at 812 N. Water St. in Downtown Bay City.

“We spend the first 10 minutes breaking bread, chatting, and networking,” Samyn says.

Next, the presenter has about a half hour to share his or her expertise. The last 15 minutes are for questions and answers. 

“Then people can head back to work, but it’s a way for our members to learn something new, meet new people, and network.”

The topics should prove valuable to a wide variety of businesses. Upcoming topics include marketing, social media, technology, workforce development, and more.

What the Lunch & Learns are not, are times for people to pitch their products or services, Samyn says.

“It’s not Magen Samyn coming in to present about what Magen Samyn does. It’s trying to find something specific on a topic within that. It’s a topic where somebody wants to learn something new.”

Samyn says this adds value to Chamber membership. The program is free, giving members information and the opportunity to help each other. 

Attendance is limited to 15 people because of space. Samyn also requests that only one person attend from each company. 

“The goal isn’t to have the same 15 people register for all 12 sessions,” she says.

Along with members getting to know something new, Samyn admits to an ulterior motive for the series.

“Another purpose of wanting us to host in the Chamber is to bring people in here to get them to meet our staff and see where the Chamber office is, and feel more engaged with the Chamber,” she says. “We want to have dialogue on an ongoing basis and learn about what’s important to them or what challenges they’re having.” 

Chamber members who receive the monthly newsletter will be the first to get a glimpse at each month’s topics, Samyn says. Getting on the monthly email list is as easy as logging onto the Chamber’s website.

For more information on the Bay Area Chamber of Commerce, membership, or upcoming Lunch & Learn topics, visit the Chamber website

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Read more articles by Denyse Shannon.

As a feature writer and freelance journalist, Denyse Shannon has written professionally for over two and a half decades. She has worked as a contractor for daily and weekly newspapers, national and local magazines, and taught introductory media writing at her alma mater – Central Michigan University. She also holds a Master of Arts in journalism from Michigan State University. She and her husband live in Bangor Township and enjoy sailing on the Bay, and are avid cyclists.