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Five to Thrive Strategic Plan

Huntington Regional Chamber of Commerce
Economic Strategy

The Huntington Regional Chamber of Commerce (HRCC) is a 501(c)(6) non-profit association of 600 business and professional people cultivating a strong business community that drives regional prosperity throughout Cabell and Wayne counties. As one of the largest chambers in the state of West Virginia, HRCC has a legacy of leadership, advocacy, and collaboration dating back to 1912, when it served as one of the founding chambers to establish the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

In 2022, HRCC reached a pivotal moment, facing both a need and opportunity to build a future as strong as its historic past, re-establishing its focus on supporting its members and energizing the business community as a whole. With the COVID-19 pandemic easing and a new president and CEO, HRCC engaged Fourth Economy to manage a strategic planning process that would capitalize on this important moment. The team lead HRCC stakeholders in developing a new vision, mission and focused path forward for the years 2023 - 2027.

Our Approach

The five-year strategic plan, which serves as a guide for HRCC stakeholders, was largely informed by a SOAR analysis (Strengths, Opportunities, Aspirations, and Results) that was developed through:

  • One-on-one interviews and group workshops which emphasized broad community engagement that included Chamber members and non-members, business professionals and owners, public officials and staff, education and nonprofit leaders, economic development organizations, and past Chamber leadership.

  • Assessment of promising practices from peer organizations to inform and validate strategy development

  • Additional refinement by project leaders – including the Chamber’s Board of Directors, a newly formed project steering committee, and community partners from the broader economic development ecosystem

The approach was particularly unique in that it engaged economic development partners to ensure the HRCC’s strategic plan addresses the needs and opportunities of the broader community, while still focusing on serving Chamber members.

The Results

This work was succinctly captured in HRCC’s strategic plan, called Five to Thrive - Connecting the Greater Huntington Region, which doubles as a branding campaign to generate support, investment, and excitement throughout implementation. With an emphasis on action, the plan details the Chamber’s new vision, mission, and focused path forward to connect community, cultivate growth, and catalyze development. The plan is organized into two sections: (1) strategic priorities to serve the business community and enhance internal chamber operations and (2) long-term economic development goals. Each strategy identifies clear roles and responsibilities, additional capacity needs, timing goals, and metrics to measure success. Now that Five to Thrive has officially been adopted, HRCC’s president and staff are creating detailed, annual work plans based on the action steps outlined in the full report.

Location

Cabell and Wayne Counties, WV

Project Type

Economic Development Strategy

Client Type

Nonprofit

Scale

Region

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