By Lisa Capobianco
For the past 21 years, Melissa Ericksen-Salmon has contributed to the town of Southington through a variety of volunteer projects. From volunteering on multiple committees at Flanders School, DePaolo Middle School and Southington High School while her children were students to becoming one of the first members of the Southington Renaissance Committee to serving as president of the Junior Women’s Club of Southington for two terms, getting involved in the community is something Ericksen has consistently pursued.
The owner of “A Balanced Life,” Ericksen has also continued to volunteer on various committees of the Southington Chamber of Commerce for over five years. Currently, Ericksen serves as the new chairman of the chamber.
How Ericksen got involved with the Southington Chamber:
As an active member of the Southington Chamber, Ericksen became involved in different projects over the years before becoming chairman. She started “Chamber-In-The-Morning,” a business networking event held monthly for members to meet other members, and to discuss about their products and services while establishing a relationship. Ericksen also started the Chamber’s Roundtable sessions, which have allowed business owners to share the best business practices with each other.
“You could see at the testimonial position how the businesses are all supporting each other,” said Ericksen, whose business has designed and coordinated health expos for companies and employees.
Besides helping business owners, Ericksen coordinated the Training for Tomorrow Internship Program to place junior and senior high school students into different chamber businesses for career opportunities and a practical work experience.
“It was inspirational to help kids figure out what they may want to pursue after school,” said Ericksen.
Why Southington Chamber: “There’s a great energy within our chamber,” said Ericksen, recognizing the work of the Board of Directors and staff members of the Chamber. “We care about our members, we care to support them, and we’re always looking to do our best to improve on that and meet member needs.”
Her goals for the chamber as chairman:
As the new chairman, Ericksen said she hopes to reach out not only to chamber businesses but also to all businesses in Southington to help meet their needs.
One way Ericksen plans to help businesses is through a “power networking” event to give local businesses an opportunity to become more acquainted. Through power networking, 20 businesses will interact face-to-face for three minutes to learn more about each other. She also plans to provide educational opportunities for businesses through guest speakers at the Chamber’s Round Table sessions as well as discussions on new topics, such as how to start your own business and how to transition from the corporate world into your own business.
Ericksen said she also hopes to make business owners more aware of various committees within the chamber, encouraging involvement, and to extend invitations to the public for chamber functions where they can learn more about the Chamber itself and other tools they could implement to their businesses.
“I believe that if giving good, good comes back to you, and if the chamber can help all the businesses in Southington in some way, good could come back to the Chamber,” said Ericksen. “I really want to get a pulse from members what would be helpful for them.”
Besides working with businesses, Ericksen said she hopes to work more with the town, such as continuing support for the growth and development of downtown Plantsville.
“I hope to work more with the town, and the town’s efforts to be supportive to the businesses in Southington which they’re clearly doing,” said Ericksen.