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.
The CHAMPS Annual Meeting was held this past Thursday at National Capital Bank. CHAMPS President Brad Johnson of Johnson Law Group welcomed the large crowd of local business owners and community leaders. Ward 6 Councilmember Charles Allen and MPD District One Commander Morgan Kane also showed their support for CHAMPS and spoke to the importance of working together to see our neighborhood thrive.
Betsy Poos, CHAMPS Executive Director, delivered remarks speaking to the accomplishments from the past year. Her remarks spoke volumes for the renewed dynamic presence CHAMPS has ushered in for its members.
CHAMPS 2016-2017 Accomplishments
As we come to close out CHAMPS fiscal year on June 30, 2017 I would like to reflect on our outstanding achivements that have brought more power for each of our members.
The CHAMPS Board of Directors sat down for a retreat in Spring 2016 to make some very honest choices about the future of the organization. It was in that meeting that CHAMPS began to fine tune its branding and service to the capitol hill business community.
Soon after a new website, logo, and mission statement were born. CHAMPS mission is to advocate, connect and promote for Capitol Hill businesses. CHAMPS then brought Capitol Hill resident and small business owner Betsy Poos on board as Executive Director in late Fall 2016. Since taking the helm Poos has worked tirelessly with the Board & Members to make certain CHAMPS is delivering on its mission. Here’s a few accomplishments from the past year.
MEMBERSHIP & FINANCES
- CHAMPS membership has grown almost 150% growth in less than 9 months.
- CHAMPS Gold and Silver member sponsors have grown substantially.
- Gold sponsors: Café Berlin, Capitol Hill BID, Chuck Burger, Diginovas, Skip Thompson of Edward Jones Investments, Johnson Law Group, Loots (LOATS) 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
- CHAMPS has resolved all debts and is in a good financial position.
- CHAMPS led a successful spring advocacy breakfast series with DC Government leaders including our Councilmember Charles Allen, DSLBD Director Ana Harvey, and a discussion with At-large Councilmember Elissa Silverman in regards to the Paid Family Leave Legislation.
- CHAMPS was a strong voice for seeing the funding for Eastern Market Metro Park redevelopment begin in the 2018 Budget. This is a fantastic win for our neighborhood, our businesses, and indeed for our whole city.
- CHAMPS initiated a monthly storefront working group where we address issues related to sustaining and growing our retail and service businesses on the hill. This meeting is often where we take further cues on advocacy work. Some of that focus at this time is on parking and safety.
- In growing membership CHAMPS has provided greater opportunity to connect and network with other local business owners.
- CHAMPS initiated a monthly Entrepreneur Group. This is a group mentorship opportunity. We pick a topic each month and invite all to share their successes and struggles in that area. This month we will talk best hiring practices.
- CHAMPS semi-monthly Lunch & Learn series connects CHAMPS members with experts on business best practices and local developments on the rise that may affect your business. Join us June 29 for a discussion on 11th Street Bridge Park & RFK Campus developments.
- CHAMPS knows that an important value of membership is our ability to promote our Capitol Hill community in general and your individual business more specifically.
- Stronger social media engagement via our website, blog, facebook, twitter, and instagram.
- Last December we held the first Holiday Sip & Shop event & we already have a save the date (Dec 4) for this year. This was a highly successful event to engage the community as we saw about 200 people come through our retail shops that evening.
- CHAMPS will be spearheading a Spring 2018 giving week to highlight how our member businesses give back. More to come on that!
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
- CHAMPS enjoys a terrific and engaged Board of Directors that work closely with the Executive Director to best grow CHAMPS so that we can continue to serve the mission to advocate, connect and promote for capitol hill businesses.