Here’s a thoughtful comment from an Ashvegas reader regarding the recent controversy over Pam Lewis and her ouster from the Asheville Chamber of Commerce. The writer is Rob Zazueta of techknowme.com. Zazueta a former full-time programmer who shifted his focus to helping small business owners and marketing professionals grow their businesses online:
In my experience, traditional chambers of commerce do not do much to help truly innovative entrepreneurs flourish. They have often had to find their own way through things and their own communities, largely because they start off not big enough for chambers to care too much, nor do they fit well in the traditional industry boxes identified by most chambers.
Pam, this puts you in a very unique position to continue reaching out to these entrepreneurs who have otherwise fallen through the cracks. You’ve built such good will and strong support on AVL that I’d hate to see you go. Instead, form something like an E-Chamber focused on the types of entrepreneurs the traditional chamber does little to support. Work from home folks, small technology outfits, ecommerce retailers and other could benefit from your connections to local co-working spaces, entrepreneurial organizations and, of course, your own amazing evangelism on their behalf. While I believe strongly that you’d make this work anywhere, I also believe Asheville is a place just ripe for an entrepreneurial explosion. You are now in a position to do it on your own terms, your way. This is the kind of thing any EDC that actually cares about true economic development should welcome with open arms rather than feel threatened by.
Our chamber has no obligation to tell any of us why Ms. Lewis was dismissed. She should be appreciative of that. Professional organizations withhold personnel issue information as well the should. I am really waiting to see what type of entrapenuer Ms. Lewiis is. If she is good enough to help Ashevillian’s them she should be good enough to use her own methods in setting aright her own personal ship.
None of the involved parties are really coming out smelling like roses here. They all sound like they have the social skills of a 2 year old.
This story is beginning to bug me to death. Let this expert entrepreneur do her thing and make a living the way she advises everyone else to do. This is beginning to be a whine session. If Abigail Van Burin were still around, she could write “Dear Abby”.
All this entrepreneur-as-savior-of-us-all bullshit reminds me to raise my little kids with something more valuable. Have values beyond dollars, people.
Rob, you are wonderful and I’ve learned so much from you, truly humbled. Asheville is wonderful community full of some of the best entrepreneurs anywhere. Asheville and WNC will rock on!
Isn’t what he is suggesting what Mountain BizWorks does?
Credit where credit’s due – this idea was not mine. It came from a conversation I had with someone else close to this situation while I was there. But I think the idea is brilliant and would love to see Pam make it happen.