How does a Chamber of Commerce make an impact and thrive for 50 years in a dynamic and sometimes turbulent environment, among a host of business organizations competing for recognition?
By acknowledging and addressing the multiple concerns of both businesses and citizens in our Meadowlands region, and by changing with the times, as the times change.
The Meadowlands Chamber (MC) has persevered through the challenges of 9/11, the Great Recession, Superstorm Sandy and most recently, the COVID-19 pandemic. In each case, the organization has responded with relevance to identify the needs of its members and the wider community.
The MC’s Emergence as an Economic Driver
The 50-year evolution of the Secaucus Chamber of Commerce into the Meadowlands Regional Chamber — now known as the Meadowlands Chamber — is a testament to the organization’s ability to respond and pivot.
Driving the way and linked by transportation and the economy, the MC helped assist and shape area businesses during a time when the greater Meadowlands region and North Jersey were taking off.
Those years have seen major growth in the stature of the organization and its credibility with elected officials as a voice for economic development interests — not political but knowledgeable and sincere.
In five decades, the Meadowlands Chamber has evolved as a trusted partner that speaks from a place of integrity and comprehension, balancing advocacy against the good of all stakeholders, including the community.
Serving Business and Community
The MC is widely known for its business services, assisting with unique issues, providing educational and networking programs, and offering tireless advocacy on larger policy issues — regulatory reform, transportation and environmental remediation.
A successful Chamber like the Meadowlands, however, serves not only the business community, but the larger populace of citizens and workers who raise families and are employed here.
As expressed in the Chamber’s 2040 Vision Plan, released in 2017, the MC is strongly invested in a region that is safe and attractive for all age groups, with education, cultural and job opportunities that enhance the quality of life.
Very often, business issues are also quality of life issues: mobility, access to jobs and area attractions, safe walking and biking routes to school and a range of housing options. The Meadowlands Chamber drives to unite business interests, citizens and elected officials in common goals that reflect long-term benefits as well as immediate priorities.
Serving Nonprofits and Education
The organization’s support of nonprofits is evident in the Arline Simpson Leadership Awards and Lunch for Love event, held every April since 2008. The MC involves, assists and awards groups and individuals that champion for those with challenges and needs of all kinds.
Following the devastation of Superstorm Sandy, the MC organized the Basket Brigade to provide direct food donations for needy families, an effort that continues more than a decade after it began.
The Meadowlands Chamber also works to strengthen links between higher education and job opportunities by recognizing and helping strengthen the skills needed by area employers. The MC and its subsidiary Meadowlands Media work with interns from Bergen County Technical Schools to help bridge the skill gaps.
Bridging Today and Tomorrow
Our former Chamber CEO Rich Fritzky would often remind us, particularly around the holidays, of a quote from “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens. This quote, spoken by Marley’s Ghost, encapsulates the philosophy that has seemingly worked in the background to guide the MC’s past, and hopefully, the Meadowlands Chamber of the future.
“Business!” cried the Ghost, wringing its hands again. “Mankind was my business. The common welfare was my business; charity, mercy, forbearance, and benevolence, were, all, my business. The dealings of my trade were but a drop of water in the comprehensive ocean of my business!”
Concern for the common welfare and quality of life for all is exemplified by the MC’s mission and serves to enrich both the businesses and residents of the Meadowlands.
Diana Fainberg, licensed and certified by NJ Professional Planners and American Institute of Certified Planners, heads Diana E. Fainberg Associates, LLC, in Teaneck, NJ. She offers professional consulting services in land use, development planning and project management, government approvals, planning, zoning, environmental and transportation issues, and regulatory controls.