Focus will be on talent, economic development, public policy and member services
With passion and energy, TwinWest Chamber President Shannon Full is excited to take on her new role in hopes of strengthening the membership organization by focusing on talent, economic development, public policy, and member services.
At 24 years old, Full jumped in early by becoming president and CEO of the Fridley Chamber of Commerce in 2000.
“I stumbled my way into the chamber industry and have found I absolutely love it and am passionate about it,” she said.
During the course of her six years of leadership, Full helped grow that chamber by joining Columbia Heights, New Brighton, and surrounding suburbs and forming what is now Twin Cities North Chamber, with a 1,400-membership.
She went on to work for a chamber in Melbourne, Florida. She was later recruited to Cedar Rapids, Iowa, to help rebuild the business community after a 2008 flood that wiped out the city’s downtown.
With 1,200 business affected, “it was the most bittersweet position I’ve had in my career,” Full said, adding Cedar Rapids was where she learned the most life lessons in what she called a “heart-breaking” role.
“Literally hundreds of business owners came to my office with shoeboxes of flooded receipts,” Full said.
Under Full’s leadership, the Cedar Rapids chamber was instrumental in advocating for businesses and lobbying on their behalf for a fair share of federal disaster recovery dollars.
In 2011, the Grantsburg native was recruited to return to her home state of Wisconsin, and began working at the Fox Cities Chamber in Appleton, where she added an economic development division to the 1,200-member chamber.
There were numerous reasons Full was attracted to the position at TwinWest, including being closer to a support network of family, as her husband is from Ramsey.
“From the professional standpoint, it was a really great opportunity because this is a very strong chamber yet a traditional chamber,” Full said, noting she’s always admired the TwinWest chamber for its strong leadership and roots in public policy.
While staying true to the chamber’s roots, Full said there is also “a tremendous opportunity to really reinvent and continue to innovate ourselves in areas that our businesses and our communities really need.”
“Without a doubt, the number one issue for our companies is their ability to attract, retain and develop talent,” she said. “Not just the businesses, but the communities as well,” she said, noting she wants to work closely with the 10-member cities.
Headquartered in Plymouth, the TwinWest Chamber includes Brooklyn Center, Brooklyn Park, Crystal, Golden Valley, Hopkins, Medicine Lake, Minnetonka, New Hope, Plymouth and St. Louis Park.
She would also like to focus the related talent areas of women in leadership, and diversity and inclusion in the workforce.
Full said she sees an opportunity for TwinWest to do some work on economic development as it correlates to attracting talent. This will require a strong partnership between the chamber and its municipalities, she said, which she is eager to begin.
She also wants to continue strengthening the chamber’s public policy roots and working with the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce and coalition of chambers in the Twin Cities area.
“It’s critically important that we are the voice of the business community,” she said.
As far as member programming, Full and her team are exploring programs around talent and collaborative communication, such as a think tank model. She is also passionate around millennial engagement and developing corresponding programs..
“Now more than ever, thriving communities are looking at their millennial engagement strategy,” she said, and ways in which to engage millennials in the decision-making process affecting communities and business.
“We have an opportunity to be a tremendous catalytic leader,” she said.
Additionally, the chamber will look at the model in which it operates, knowing the membership organization provides different value for the small businesses and the larger corporations, Full explained.
“It’s a combination of knowing our members, knowing where their pain points are and then being able to come up with collective solution-based strategies where we can help them,” Full said.
TwinWest Director of Government Affairs Deb McMillan is equally excited to have Full on board. “TwinWest is well positioned to benefit from her experience and we are excited to implement those ideas and best practices in this marketplace.”
Contact Kristen Miller at [email protected]