CHAMPS 2017-2018 accomplishments and annual meeting
CHAMPS annual meeting was held on June 12, and members attended to recognize the accomplishments of the year.
Board Chairman Brad Johnson of Johnson Law Group International announced that Michael Warner, co-founder of DCanter, had been voted in to join the board. He also introduced Julie Aaronson, CHAMPS executive director, who spoke about the group’s accomplishments through the past year. Julie joined CHAMPS in January 2018 and is continuing the work of previous director Betsy Poos, Realignment Studio partner, to increase membership development and to host high-quality events to advocate, connect and promote CHAMPS members.
To that end, CHAMPS membership has grown by more than 50% since July of last year, to 135 and growing. The organization has also grown the ranks of Gold and Silver member sponsors, whose sponsorship , leadership and guidance makes our regular events possible.
- Gold sponsors: Café Berlin, Capitol Hill BID, Chuck Burger, Dimples Dental Suite, Hill Restaurant Group, Johnson Law Group, Loots Law, National Capital Bank, Nishan Halim DDS, Sport&Health Capitol Hill, and Wilson-Epes Printing.
- Silver sponsors: Blue Star Design Build, DC Access, Gallery O on H, PGN Architects, Phillips Financial Strategies, Tech Painting, and The Yard Eastern Market.
Our advocacy efforts this year begin with an incredible fall advocacy series, including breakfast meetings with MPD District 1 Commander Morgan Kane, CFO DeWitt with Office of Tax and Revenue, and DCRA Director Melinda Bolling.
Through the year we also tracked the paid leave legislation and kept CHAMPS members updated via blog post. In May we brought in the Office of Paid Family Leave to discuss the status of paid leave implementation in the District. It’s still a year away, but this is when the particulars are being hammered out. And questions from our membership definitely gave the Office of Paid Leave food for thought. We will continue to provide updates as DC promulgates new regulations that clarify the law and define its implementation.
We are also looking at how we can better quantify the impact our small businesses have on the community, and the challenges to small business. This idea grew out of our monthly storefront working group meetings and give us tangible facts and figures to share with the Capitol Hill community and our elected and government officials.
Connections happen at every CHAMPS meeting, whether is through advice shared to a new business in the community, recommendations service providers, or an exchange of ideas on an innovative approach to marketing. This occurs at our quarterly meetings, at our monthly entrepreneur meeting, at our storefront meeting, and at our advocacy events. If you haven’t been to one of these lately, I encourage you to join us.
This spring we entered into a great partnership with Eastern Market Main Street. Our member Capitol Hill Village led an engaging presentation in April on making your small business senior friendly. Another successful event was our June small business support expo where National Capital Bank, WACIF, DCRA’s Small Business Resource Center, Department of Small and Local Business Development (DSLBD), DC Women’s Business Center, Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration (ABRA), and the DC Office of Human Rights attended to answer small business owner questions.
Last year we created the SHOP/EAT map, which highlights our retail and restaurant members. We are adding 14 new businesses, and with our growth we are working with CHAMPS member Blue Bike Communications to redesign our map into a larger format.
In terms of distribution, we’ve successfully developed connections with AirBnBs, hotels and apartment buildings not only in our immediate neighborhood but at Yards Park and NOMA. Members, if you have a connection to an AirBNB in DC, let me know, so we can offer our map to them.
We are also looking forward to Sip and Shop again this fall, and we have good suggestions to build on from last year.
The key ingredient to a strong and successful organization, any organization, is participation. Thank you to our members – the new members who have joined, the former members who have rejoined, and the members who have been with us throughout. CHAMPS members bring passion, good counsel and creative problem-solving to each CHAMPS gathering. The Board and Executive Director Aaronson look forward to working to identifying topics with you, bringing in speakers you find valuable, and fostering conversations that address questions and concerns of a robust, active membership.