When you look at a community, there are many threads that weave it together. The team at the Dickinson Chamber of Commerce, is one of those many threads that has shaped our thriving community, and exists to connect the many thriving businesses, to our local residents.
At the helm of the organization, Executive Director Sarah Jennings Trustem, who was raised in Dickinson, considers the Chamber the eyes, ears, and the voice of the business community. “I took on this role in January, and we are setting the bar high for the future of this organization. As the spokesperson of the Chamber, it is my job to act as an advocate for our members by promoting economic growth and the business community through community services for Dickinson and surrounding areas.”
Sarah’s work this year, will be supported by Megan Klassen a native of Fargo, the Marketing and Communications Manager for the Chamber and Estee Milburn, the Member and Services Manager. We sat down with the team to learn more about the Chamber, and what we can look forward to in the future.
What Does Working at The Chamber Mean To You?
MEGAN: “Connecting business and community. We were founded on one simple premise: provide our area with a service that improves business and quality of life. Fast forward to today, and we’ve stayed true to that. We are host to a thriving community where business professionals can mix and mingle. From membership to media relations and marketing.”
SARAH: “The Chamber would be nothing without our members and volunteers who continue to support us throughout the years. We have strong community leaders serving on our board and in our committees, gifting us with their unique personalities and diverse backgrounds. Working at the Chamber means that I get to spend my days working to make Dickinson an even greater place to live. “
ESTEE: “It is important to me to work for an organization that supports the community it is in, not just the businesses but also the people. Working for the Chamber allows me to interact with a plethora of different people to assist with their needs. This could be anything from helping to find an address to booking a venue for an event.”
Tell Us More About What Exactly You Do At The Chamber?
S: “ I manage the day-to-day operations of the Chamber and carry out the policies and duties established by the Board of Directors. As the spokesperson of the Chamber, it is my job to act as an advocate for our members by promoting economic growth and the business community through community services for Dickinson and surrounding areas. This year, I will be working with my team and the BOD to craft a new strategic plan that will set the course and serve as a road map for the next few years.”
M: “I examine the Chamber as a whole and create marketing solutions and recommendations that work towards the Chamber mission & vision. I also ensure effective Chamber communications. If you’re looking at something Chamber-related, chances are I had something to do with it.”
E: “I work alongside our staff and our members to ensure we are providing them with the necessary resources and opportunities to grow and achieve great success.”
What is important for people to know that are thinking about starting a business in or moving to Dickinson?
M: “Let’s cut to the chase: Dickinson has everything that you need to start a business. We are a great resource from start to finish. We can connect you with community organizations who offer years of experience and creative solutions to add that final sparkle to the startup of your business. We are also dedicated to doing our part with our members and community organizations to develop and support cultural influences, attractions, and activities. There is no doubt our area is growing strong and I can say from 1st hand experience it’s a great place to live.”
S: “Dickinson has many opportunities and space for entrepreneurial ideas. The Chamber is here to serve you, and our door is always open! We are one-stop shop for guidance and information. We can also point you in the right direction if we don’t have all the answers.”
E: “People or businesses, we welcome them all with open arms. Our growing community has a lot to offer new businesses looking to come into the area. The Chamber works closely with our members to offer those looking to start a new business with the resources they need to be successful.”
Working at the Chamber, you can impact so many lives with your day-to-day duties, how do you feel you impact your local community and the Quality of Life in Dickinson?
M: “Working together with the Chamber team, members, and volunteers to collaboratively develop campaigns, events, programs, and services that connect different sectors to drive and support local commerce and inspires a higher quality of life in Dickinson.”
S: “I am seated at the table so that our members don’t necessarily have to. It is my job to make sure our members are taken care of, and I have an amazing team that helps make it happen. Here at the Chamber, we put on community events and work to bring people and businesses together. As far as quality of life goes, we see the sky as the limit.”
E: “By offering a vast range of events, we are able to offer something for everyone! It is through these events that we showcase our members and what they offer our local community. When you get the community engaging with our local businesses, everyone draws from that. The Chamber wants to see people and businesses growing together!
What Do You See Ahead for the Future of Dickinson?
M: “Our past year was a phenomenal year of growth for the Chamber and Dickinson. I am crazy excited for this upcoming year to support the future of the Chamber by delivering marketing that changes the way members view their investment & involvement.”
S: “I see a move towards a strong vision that is community-wide, and citizen driven. Organizations throughout the city are connecting on multiple levels and looking for ways to build and grow this beautiful community. We want our children to stay here, young people to thrive here, businesses that want to invest here, families to feel safe here, and people who choose to retire here. The Chamber is working with many stakeholders such as the city, Dickinson State University, and organizations such as Stark Development Corporation, Dickinson Convention and Visitors Bureau, and the Downtown Association to create a unified vision for the future. We are currently working on revitalizing downtown Dickinson, with sights set on a downtown square in the future. This would give people an outdoor place to congregate and to hold events, whether that be ice-skating during the winter or an outdoor festival in the summer. As millennials continue to change precedent in terms of choosing a home, we want to put Dickinson on the map. We are working towards creating a strong sense of place and bringing big city ideas to Dickinson.”
E: “Dickinson is growing and lots of opportunities come with that growth. With our members occupying many different industries, we get to work with many of their employees, who sit on our committees. It is with their help that we can continually grow our events & programs to provide the community with a range of things to do! The more people/businesses that participate in a community, the more value we see getting drawn from it. The Chamber is always looking to increase this value, by working alongside our members to increase their community participation and find great value in it.
Some of the events that the organization will host this year is the Festival Trees, which promote local residents to get into the holiday spirit and raise money for non-profit agencies, the 3-on-3 Hoopfest, Business After Hours Events that provide networking opportunities for local business owners, and more. Stay tuned to the Chamber Website for more information on everything new in Dickinson!
Lived in Dickinson:
BA from University of St. Thomas
Three Children, August (4), Quinn (2), and Clarke (8 mos), and her husband, Fletcher Klassen.
Sarah Jennings Trustem
Hometown: Dickinson ND
BA from Dickinson State University
Master of Public Administration from the University of Mary
One child, Aubrey (8) and 1 little guy on the way, and her husband Ryan