The celebration couldn’t come fast enough for Nancy Bruns, the president of the Lee’s Summit Chamber of Commerce.
Soon after the Chamber received word March 6 that they had garnered a coveted 5-Star accreditation designation from the United States Chamber of Commerce, Bruns was ready to rejoice.
“As soon as we heard that was our immediate response; we need to engage our members and let them celebrate with us,” Bruns said March 10 during the Chamber’s 5-Star Celebration to commemorate the designation. “We thought about doing it last Friday (March 7) but we felt that might have been a little quick. We do like to get together once and a while with our members and have some food and refreshments.”
The 5-star accreditation recognized the Lee’s Summit Chamber for sound policies, effective organizational procedures and positive impact on the community. The top accreditation is not easily obtainable. Currently, in the state of Missouri only two other chambers have reached 5-star status, while in Kansas only two chambers are ranked at the top level.
That rarefied air was not lost on Mark Dickey, the Chamber’s vice president.
“It’s been a labor of love and a lot of work for everybody,” Dickey said. “It involves not just the staff but it involves all of our members, our board of directors, the leadership and everything else. It is the top of the mountain and we’re very proud of it.
“It’s great to be recognized by the U.S. Chamber. Being one of only 81 chambers in the entire United States with over 7,700 chambers, it’s pretty cool. This is a great honor.”
According to the Lee’s Summit Chamber, accreditation is the only national program that recognizes chambers for their effective organizational procedures and community involvement. In order to receive accreditation, a chamber must meet minimum standards in their operations and programs, including areas of governance, government affairs and technology.
The review can take six to nine months to complete and chambers may apply for accreditation every five years.
“It didn’t just happen overnight,” said Bob Glaser, former Chamber chair of the board. “This has been a labor of love for this Chamber.”
The top accreditation bestowed on the Lee’s Summit Chamber was sort of a crème de la crème career honor for Bruns.
“We started this process when I came here in 2000,” she said. “The first one we got was for a 3-star and then we got a 4-star, so I really had my heart set on this 5-star because hopefully this is going to be my last accreditation I will have to go through. It means a lot for me personally, to the staff, the board of directors.”
“For Nancy, we’re extremely happy,” added Dickey. “It’s been a culmination of her almost three-decade career to be able to achieve this accomplishment. We’re extremely happy for Nancy, but it’s a reflection of the staff, too.”