Tiffany Esposito is back at the Bonita Springs Area Chamber of Commerce, now as president and CEO of the 1,000-member organization. The Lee County native earned a bachelor’s degree in communications and an MBA from Florida Gulf Coast University. She worked at the Bonita chamber from 2009 to 2015, as communications manager, director of operations and vice president. Most recently, Esposito was chief of staff for the Greater Naples Chamber of Commerce (from 2015 to 2016) before returning to the Bonita chamber in June.
How have your past positions prepared you for your current position? When I started in 2009, we were in the middle of a downturn, so we were downsizing a lot, like everybody else. It was this unfortunate and fortunate opportunity for me that I had the opportunity to really see and do every piece of the chamber operation. So I learned really quickly everything that we do and see and anything that we come across here at the chamber and how to do it. When I went to Naples, that was a good experience to see how a larger chamber operated and build those relationships in both Collier County and Lee County and see how we can truly be a regional organization.
How do you hope to grow the chamber’s membership? We want to leverage the technology piece. We always have more room to grow by using social media to help promote our members and create exposure opportunities. There is also a structured online networking presence that we can use to help connect members. By using technology, we create a networking environment where people can connect without having to leave their office. It is perfect for sole proprietors or businesses that cannot leave their shops but want to engage with other businesses in the community.
What new businesses would boost business growth in Bonita Springs? Anything that has the high-wage jobs, that $40,000-$50,000 level. [Bonita Springs has a median household income of $53,530, according to 2015 U.S. Census Bureau data.] We need organizations and companies that are going to provide jobs for our residents where they can create and build a life here and stay here. The tech sector is always an important piece of it because of the level of jobs and employment they offer. But we really want to focus on expanding what we already have here: Our small businesses that are so important to what we do.
What is one thing all local businesses could do to grow? Do more business locally. We can all participate in enhancing our economic impact by using local vendors and buying from local businesses. Small business is the foundation of our community and by continuing to use local vendors we will help sustain our small businesses and give them opportunities to grow.