As the Executive Director of the Brookline Chamber of Commerce, one of the most common questions I hear when I meet someone is “what exactly does the Chamber of Commerce do?” The answer is at times both simple and complex. Simply put, the Chamber works to make Brookline the best it can be for people who live, work and do business here.

We do this in many ways, by being a source of information for new Brookline residents and tourists, by hosting events for networking, by presenting informational seminars to enhance skills, and bringing in guest speakers who share what’s on their political plates.

One of the most important and complex roles the Chamber plays is one of advocacy; to listen to the concerns of the business community and to work with Town government to assure the individual and collective business voices are heard.

Within the Chamber itself, there is a Government Relations Committee that meets on a regular basis to discuss and make recommendations to our full Board of Directors on issues that are important to Brookline business people. Some of the most common interests include; parking, taxes, licensing, construction and zoning issues.

With a wide-range of business interests represented in the Brookline Chamber including: bankers, accountants, realtors, restaurants, merchants, professionals, and sole proprietors, it is up to the Chamber Government Relations Committee to sift through the concerns stated and look to create reasonable and workable Chamber policies to recommend to the Town.

The committee is often able to expedite this process because one or more of the committee members are serving on the appropriate Town committee or is otherwise well informed because of attendance at public hearings and committee meetings.

One of the most important recent local issues that has had a major impact on both the business community and Brookline residents is the debate over the recently installed multi-space parking meters. The Chamber, well represented with two of its members serving on the Parking Meter Task Force, took the lead in creating and disseminating a survey of Chamber membership to receive feedback on how the meters are working and what changes people are looking for. It is through this ability to “feel the pulse” of the local business districts and effectively analyze and be a part of the public debate, that the Chamber is able to advocate on behalf of the Brookline business community and often to all of Brookline residents.

I hope that I have helped to clarify the often unique role that the Brookline Chamber plays in the identification of and advocacy for change and improvement in the Town. Instead of hearing “what does the Chamber of Commerce do,”I am hopeful that I will hear“thank you for your work on Brookline’s behalf!”

The Mission of the Brookline Chamber of Commerce is to promote and advance the continued success of Brookline as a thriving community in which to live work and do business. To learn more about how the Chamber is working for Brookline please visit our website: http://www.brooklinechamber.com or call: 617-739-1330. The Brookline Chamber of Commerce is an independent non-political organization, not affiliated with any other Chambers of Commerce, locally or nationally.
Harry Robinson
Executive Director, Brookline Chamber of Commerce