Collaborating Across Communities

Collaboration, often a buzzword for what we want to have happen, can be challenging to execute. Busy calendars and opposing schedules can cause time to get away from us, but 2022 proved to be a year of successful collaboration between the Venango Chamber and numerous organizations throughout the region. The past few years seemed to afford us the opportunity to connect over the phone and via Zoom when we couldn’t meet in person. This year, we relished every chance to meet, often in person, but also with a new comfort level with technology.

Among those who the Chamber found alignment with was the staff of the United Way. With shared goals around education, community service, and retail support, we frequently shared a seat at the same tables. Jennifer Taylor, like many community leaders, wears a few different hats. As the Education and Community Impact Manager for the United Way, she serves on the Chamber’s Education Committee.

Kat Thompson, the Chamber’s Education & Membership Manager explains how the efforts of our two organizations complement each other: “The perspectives and insights Jennifer and the United Way team bring to the education committee are valuable resources when working to move the VenangoREADY program forward. The Career Counselors, who have consistent schedules in the schools, have been instrumental in the implementation and success of VenangoREADY. Our partnership has already proved to be extremely helpful to our schools.”

With continued needs in the local workforce, the United Way is working in six local school districts, with Career Counselors preparing students in identifying the best educational paths and assisting them with resume and job application preparation. United Way recently joined a partnership with three school districts to provide Education Services Specialists (School Social Workers).

Jennifer also serves as the Director of the Franklin Retail Association, supporting downtown businesses with planning promotions and events, often organized by the Association but also cooperatively with the Franklin Area Chamber of Commerce and the City of Franklin. These events serve the entire region, providing opportunities for community members, from far and wide, to celebrate together.

Will Price, Executive Director of the United Way of Venango, is quick to pick up the phone and reach out when he sees an opportunity to work with others throughout the community, to solve problems or to simply work together.

While we all understand the need for organizations to work together, we have been especially excited to see how many of our businesses, new and existing, are working together.

Let us know how you are collaborating with other Venango Chamber members, and we’ll share your stories throughout 2023!

Pictured: Jennifer Taylor (United Way and Franklin Retail Association), Will Price (United Way), Hannah Gamble (Iron Furnace Coffee), and Kat Thompson (Venango Chamber) gather for a photo at Iron Furnace Coffee.

This article was published in the Venango Chamber’s December 2022 VenangoWorks! Newsletter.

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