Recently, the Blount Chamber visited with a cross section of its membership to get a better view of why the chamber is important to them. Over the next few months, we’ll be posting these brief interviews that give insight into their experiences with the chamber.
We’ll begin with Keeli Boyce of Express Strategic Services, who is also a team chair for the upcoming membership event.
Keeli Boyce settled into her chair at Vienna Coffeehouse, recalling the years that she yearned to start up her own business.
She was a benefits assistant at Ruby Tuesday, then spent 12 years at DenTek, finishing as VP of human resources. It all came to a head in 2016. After 14 years of working for other people, Keeli says she realized she was ready to “fly solo.”
She had a dream, and enthusiasm to spare. She wanted to start an HR consulting company. But how to run her own business? Keeli freely admitted she didn’t know WHAT she didn’t know.
“I graduated from Maryville College with a degree in business, concentrating in accounting,” she explained. “Accounting is black and white. Starting your own business is like beginning at ground zero. Now you’re responsible for employees, and all that comes with that, including making a regular payroll…where do you begin to learn all THAT? It can be overwhelming, almost like a rollercoaster. Where do you go for SUPPORT?”
Keeli joined the Blount Chamber. “One of my best business decisions ever.”
With that yearly investment in the Chamber, she says she found ample support to start Express Strategic Services and grow her company while maintaining a personal life and being a mom.
In the nearly three years since she opened her doors for business, it hasn’t always been easy. But she says her company is thriving because the chamber “acts as my OWN personal support staff.”
“When I feel like I’m failing in one area, other companies at the Chamber lift me up like a support group. When I’m searching for ideas to expand the business, the chamber staff suggests some best practices in doing that. Their classes promote solid strategies for growth; they give me the opportunity to connect with other chamber professionals at their functions…it goes on and on.”
“They’re the best partners I could ask for. I’m betting that’s why they call it the “Blount Partnership.”