All posts tagged be here venango

Become a Be Here Ambassador!

Be Here is holding Ambassador trainings at the end of February!

Community members are invited to help spread the message of the initiative that the Venango Area is a great place to live, work, and play.

The Ambassador Program includes a 1-2 hour training where people are provided information and resources to take throughout the community. Ambassadors are asked to:

  • Know the messaging
  • Be positive
  • Be welcoming
  • Display and hand out materials
  • Be connected
  • Communicate with us

If you are interested in becoming a Be Here ambassador, click the button below to learn more and sign up:

Three Years of Be Here

In early 2016, Venango Chamber President and CEO Susan Williams met with a few Chamber board members about a problem we were facing in Venango County–people talking negatively about our area.

Fast forward to January 26, 2017, and the launch of Be Here, focused on changing the narrative of our region and attracting and retaining people here.

It’s been a fun and eventful three years since this program started and as we head into 2020, we’re excited about the impact it has made, and we’re looking forward to seeing what this year holds.

Find more information about Be Here’s three year anniversary on the Be Here blog: three-years.

This article was published in the Venango Chamber’s January 2020 VenangoWorks! Newsletter.

Visioning for Ourselves & Our Community

Where do you hope to be in 10 years? What growth do you wish to see in your business in 5 years? What is your goal of a certain project you are working on for the next month?

You may have an idea in your head of what you want the future to look like, whether it’s for your personal life, career, or a smaller project or situation, and writing a vision can help make that happen.

On November 6, about 50 people came together at Wanango Country Club for a Zingtrain Workshop hosted by our Be Here initiative. Based out of Ann Arbor, Michigan, Zingtrain is part of a community of businesses that started as the Zingerman’s Delicatessen and has grown to add a coffee shop, bakery, candy shop, restaurant, and much more.

After spending years visioning for themselves and practicing great customer service, Zingerman’s added Zingtrain to their group of businesses with the goal to not only provide training to their own employees, but also to share what they’ve learned with outside organizations and individuals.

We brought Zingtrain to Venango County for a full day—half about “Creating a Vision of Greatness” and the other half on “The Art of Giving Great Service.”

You can learn more about our ZingTrain Workshop at, and be sure to check out the “ZingTrain Tip of the Month,” a new feature in our 2020 VenangoWorks! Newsletters.

This article was published in the Venango Chamber’s December 2019 VenangoWorks! Newsletter.

New Be Here “Youth Ambassadors”

Ashley Sheffer, Program Manager at the Venango Chamber, recently met with two local groups of students and trained them to be “Be Here Ambassadors.”

At Rocky Grove High School, Ashley talked to about 20 junior and senior high students of the gifted classes. These  students learned about Be Here and opportunities in the area, and participated in an activity to become official Ambassadors. The presentation was covered by The Derrick & The News-Herald and the story can also be found on the Be Here website at

Ashley then visited the eAcademy, a new program of the Venango County Economic Development Authority in collaboration with Clarion University – Venango focused on teaching high school students leadership and entrepreneurial skills.

The four students, all from different school districts—Cranberry, Oil City, Rocky Grove, and Titusville—along with teach Taylor Snyder, heard a similar presentation, then became Be Here Ambassadors.

Are you interested in your class, employees, or organization learning about the Be Here initiative? Ashley is happy to come in and speak to them! Contact her at (814) 676-8521 or, and learn more about the initiative by visiting

This article was published in the Venango Chamber’s October 2019 VenangoWorks! Newsletter.

When Furious, Get Curious

When Furious, Get CuriousWritten by Ashley Cowles, Be Here Program Manager 

“When furious, get curious.” This quote from Paul Saginaw, co-founder of Zingerman’s Deli out of Ann Arbor, Michigan, can be applied to multiple situations, including thriving in Venango County.

What started as Zingerman’s Delicatessen in 1982, has become 10 different businesses over the years, including a bake house, catering and events business, creamery, coffee shop, and more. The business has eight guiding principles, such as great food, great service, a great place to work, and strong relationships.

Much can be learned from such a successful and growing business, including the meaning behind the quote at the beginning of this article.

In an interview with Business Insider, co-founder Saginaw said: “The assumption that others are out to get us, that something bad happened because of others’ ill will or malice, rarely makes for anything productive. Learning to breathe deeply, get grounded, and be sensitive to others’ suffering can help get us back to a more productive place.”

Is there something about Venango County that makes you furious? Maybe you think a nonprofit organization should be using their money on different projects, a specific business should be downtown, or a community leader isn’t making the right decisions.

It can be easy to get frustrated with these things and assume they happen because people don’t have the community’s best interest in mind. As a result, you may decide to share your opinion to friends and family or on social media where the whole community can see.

While it’s important to speak out, we encourage you to also be curious and productive. To be curious means to be eager to know or learn something. Rather than remain furious  not do anything, here are ideas for learning more and taking action:

Do your research

Before forming an opinion about something you think should be happening, do research to see if it already exists. We live in a smaller area, but there is a lot going on and it’s hard to stay on top of everything.

Ask questions

Part of doing research involves asking questions like: Does this already exist? Who is making the decisions? Why is it done this way?

Meet with community leaders

The best people to ask questions to are the movers and shakers in our area getting things done. The county commissioners, city councilmen, chamber directors, and other community leaders know what exists or why things are done certain ways.

You also have the opportunity to ask these leaders how you can impact change in positive ways. How can you help them be better at what they do, or how can you develop into these leadership positions yourself?


The best way to get an understanding of what is here and how things are done is to volunteer for local organizations or events. If you aren’t happy with the flowers chosen to beautify downtown Oil City, volunteer for the Oil City Main Street Program’s Safe, Clean & Green Committee. If you would prefer the 5K during Applefest was run differently, help out at the Franklin YMCA during registration. If you don’t agree with the speed limits in your neighborhood, attend a city council meeting or call or write to the mayor or city councilmen.

These are just a few examples of ways to volunteer and get involved, which can help you get informed and have a say.

Fill the void

After doing research and learning why things are done certain ways or what exits, there still may be a void that needs filled. This is your opportunity to step up and become an active community member! Whether it’s planning an event, starting a business, or becoming an ambassador for our region, it takes a whole community to create change.

So, how will you get curious?

(This article was originally published on the Be Here initiative’s website. Visit for related content)

This article was published in the Venango Area Chamber of Commerce’s September 2018 edition of the VenangoWorks! Newsletter.