Currently, I am the chairperson of the Remodelers Council of Greater Des Moines, and during my involvement with the group over the past three years, I’ve seen a real need for engaging more members—especially women and younger people.
So, as chairperson, I’ve reached out a lot to professionals across the metro area. Unfortunately, there’s a shortage of women and younger people in remodeling overall, so I’ve actively tried to build relationships with them by doing business together whenever possible. And it’s paying off: Right now, we have the largest number of women we’ve ever had in our group, with a high level of engagement from interior designers and lighting specialists, in particular.
To help maximize involvement, I also look at the needs of each of our committees and think about the people I know who have relevant skills. I then reach out with a personal phone call to those who could be a good fit and schedule a one-on-one meeting to discuss their possible roles in the council, specifying exactly why he or she would be a great asset. So far, everyone has seemed really excited. I’ve only had one person decline, and they want to participate next year.
Today, we have a whole group of fresh faces! The secret is simple: To engage people, you just need to take the time to reach out to them.
The council’s marketing committee, in particular, is an area where we’ve made huge strides this year. I had lunch with a Pella salesman who is very articulate, detail-oriented, and has been active in past committees. I thought he’d be perfect for the marketing group, but he was uncertain. However, once I explained to him how we would structure the committee’s goals and have measurable outcomes, he felt more comfortable. Today, he’s the chair of that committee.
We’re also increasing our social calendar. The council has always hosted a Christmas party and a spring event, but now we’ve added two more informal gatherings, one of which will be on a rooftop overlooking downtown. That event should pull a lot of people and will be a fun opportunity to network with young professionals.
We’ve also increased our outreach to builders, since some of them do remodeling work as well. We don’t want a divider to be there.
I enjoy building relationships and helping people understand the benefits and opportunities that come with being an active member of the council. Des Moines may not be the largest Remodelers Council in the nation, but in terms of engagement, I’m proud to say that we rank very high.
Marie Herrick is co-owner of Modern Touches, in suburban Des Moines. She has an MS in Innovative Leadership and a BA in Marketing and Graphic Design.