“Failure is not a bad thing,” consultant David Aaker told a chamber breakfast audience Feb. 5.

Aaker led a chamber board retreat to talk about a strategic plan, spoke to the chamber audience at the monthly breakfast and presented a customer service seminar in a two-day visit to Jackson County.

Aaker repeated a Henry Ford quote about the challenge of being a leader: “Don’t worry about the darkness because that’s when the stars are brightest.”

He was a chamber of commerce executive for more than 20 years. He told the Jackson County Area Chamber of Commerce he was making his 283rd presentation to similar groups.

At the board retreat, Aaker emphasized the chamber’s position as the only chamber in the county.

“What an advantage,” he said Feb. 4.

He also said a chamber is a “measure of how strong the community” is.

The board agreed that decisions on moving the chamber to the new Empower College and Career Center, the redesign of the chamber’s website and a more active social media program and a tiered-dues structure should be done this year.

The chamber is talking with John Uesseler, the CEO of Empower, about space at the site, now Jackson County Comprehensive High School.

Aaker told the board, “People need to know that your efforts have results.” He encouraged the redesign of the website and regular use of social media.

“Screaming from the rooftop” was a familiar expression at the retreat from Aaker, and board members adopted it.

“Our chamber doesn’t promote itself,” Kathy Lindberg, a new board member, said.

The board also briefly discussed a youth leadership program, involving all three school districts in the county, and talked about a succession plan for staff when Jim Shaw, president and CEO, retires.

Melissa Britt, vice president of operations for the chamber, told the board that a new geocaching trail, which would focus on heritage, would be announced in early April. She said the chamber expects 500 to 1,000 people at the event.

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