December 2019 The Zionsville Chamber of Commerce named its new executive director, Allyson Gutwein, last month. A familiar face to many chamber members and even more residents and patrons of Midwest Jewelers & Estate Buyers, Gutwein previously was the manager at Midwest and an active member of the Zionsville Chamber and former board member with the Boone County Chamber of Commerce with deep roots in Boone County. Gutwein was named Boone County Business Woman of the Year in 2009 by Zonta International. She has also served as president of the Indiana University Alumni Club of Boone County. Knowledge of the Town and the Businesses Being a previous small business owner and a manager of a local business has made for an easier transition for Gutwein and also made her the most logical candidate. In addition to her business acumen, she has a solid understanding of the town and the county and can empathize with many of the area’s business owners when it comes to their needs and concerns about the town and its business community. “In my previous occupations, I had to build relationships with clients and customers,” Gutwein said. “That’s part of what I’m doing in my new role as well. Just as I had to learn about people and their needs, I have to learn about your business needs and what it will take to make your business successful, as well as your neighboring businesses. Just as it is important for customers to feel welcome at a place of business, the chamber members want to feel like they have a place and a voice and that they are important and have the ear of someone who’s willing to listen and assist because they’ve been in their position.” A Fresh New Perspective on Value-Added Services Gutwein emphasized that the chamber will be “reaching the members where they are” as part of a new membership-focused initiative that will be rolled out after the first of the year. “As a chamber, we can offer support to our members, whether its business training, marketing or other types of training, or by hosting events where people come to town who may have never been here before. We will also provide support for our members by introducing podcasts and blogs so that they can enjoy the full value of their memberships without having to leave their storefronts.” Gutwein continued, “It makes such a difference to the members that we’re willing to reach them where they are. They can listen to our podcasts if they’re in their car, or if they have a sleepless night, they can read a blog that we have posted. So these are some of the things that we will be implementing very shortly in order to make sure the chamber and its resources are more accessible at all times—day or night.” Providing services and resources for small, medium and large businesses and chamber members is a priority for Gutwein but so is providing these to the myriad of microbusinesses or side businesses that also exist throughout our community. “There are a lot of people who have successful side hustles,” Gutwein emphasized. “And there are people who have what might even constitute a microbusiness because they're doing it just as an extra source of side income, and those people deserve to feel supported as well because those are businesses in our community, and there are a lot of them.” A New Year, a New Look for the Chamber Gutwein offered only enough detail to spark curiosity and imagination but shared that the chamber will be rolling out a brand-new logo that will be unveiled at its annual banquet, which will also boast a new theme. “When it’s unveiled, I think people are going to love it,” Gutwein enthused. “I don’t want to ruin the surprise, but it is really exciting and is based on really cool historical and patriotic elements that have a lot of meaning for Zionsville residents and businesses.” In addition to its existing monthly networking opportunities, Gutwein announced that the chamber will be devising micro groups based on not just where your business is located within Zionsville but what type of business you have as well. “People who are within the same business practice area can meet in order to share ideas and concerns,” Gutwein said. “We’ll see if people love this idea or not, but we want to hear what these groups have to say and get these folks together so we can figure out what we can do for them specifically. We want to roll these ideas out within the first quarter [of 2020] so we can make sure that the members feel valued and listened to throughout the entire town. We are one chamber, and we are one town, and even more important, we’re all business owners who are trying to make it work. If we’re all doing things to build our businesses, there might be ideas or resources that we can share, and we will be able to share those if we met more often and talked more often.” When Gutwein is not working on behalf of her members, she enjoys time with her husband, Andrew, and their family. What many may not know about her is that she is an Indiana State Fair Five-Time Indiana Professional Floral Design Grand Champion and has a passion for creating beautiful wreathes. “Some people golf or run,” Gutwein said. “I make wreathes. I do this because it’s fun and cathartic. I can sit and think and create.” When asked what she loves most about Zionsville, she replied, “I love the fact that people are so interested in saving all the things that make this community great. I love that people greet each other and are genuinely interested in how each other is doing. I think that is something you can’t buy, and you can’t go out and re-create without people really living their town and community. You have to have deep roots to grow tall trees. So, if we’re going to end up with a strong community with strong businesses in the future, we are going to continue to set our roots deep, especially this year before we start sprouting all these new ideas, and I think we will be better off for it.” To learn more about the chamber, visit zionsvillechamber.org.