Chamber moving into the virtual world

Candance Castlen Brake, chamber president, said the organization normally hosts as many as 10 meetings and events a week.

With the coronavirus pandemic and social distancing, those events are having to move to the internet.

The most prominent change will be the chamber’s monthly Rooster Booster Breakfast, which goes online at 7:30 a.m. Thursday.

Normally, the breakfasts are at the Owensboro Convention Center.

But Thursday, people can fix their own breakfast and watch Gov. Andy Beshear speaking from Frankfort.

Brake said the event is open to anyone who wants to watch at no charge.

It will be on Facebook Live on the Greater Owensboro Chamber of Commerce’s Facebook page and on Zoom at ister/WN_rncyQq-uQMe2QA iiD2T4NQ.

Rooster Booster is celebrating 60 years of breakfast meetings this year.

Then-Lt. Gov. Wilson Wyatt spoke at the first one at the old Hotel Owensboro on March 31, 1960.

Brake said the virtual event will be as much like the old one as possible.

Chad Benefield will be the master of ceremonies.

Brake will deliver the monthly chamber report.

And E.M. Ford is sponsoring the first remote event.

Brake said there will even be a “mingle minute,” where people usually walk around and shake hands — a no-no these days.

Remote meetings will likely be around for awhile, she said.

“We have an average of 375 people a month at Rooster Booster and it goes up to 550 sometimes,” Brake said. “I don’t know when we’ll get the green light to have that many people together again. But we’ll get through this.”

She said it’s important these days for businesses and organizations to “be innovative and to adapt.”

The 32 members of Leadership Owensboro, a monthly series of classes to train community leaders for the future, had a virtual meeting last week, Brake said, “and it was fantastic.”

Normally, they would be graduating this month.

But Brake said, “We’re hoping to have an in-person graduation sometime this summer.”

She said, “We like to challenge ourselves. Our members are being innovative. And we have to be innovative and to move forward.”

Brake said that although many businesses have been hurt by the pandemic, “a lot of our businesses are still doing well and some are doing even better than before.”

By Keith Lawrence Messenger- Inquirer