Paul headshot

For many organizations, the holiday season is a time of traditions and reflection. The Cape Cod Chamber is no exception. It’s become our annual tradition in December to look back on the last twelve months and take stock of what our team has accomplished. This year, the Chamber has continued its work to address the changing needs of our region’s post-COVID business environment. “Business as usual” hasn’t been the practice for the Cape business community since before the pandemic and, much like the businesses we serve, the Cape Cod Chamber is adjusting to an economy that is very different from the one we knew several years ago.

To meet this critical moment, the Chamber is tackling big, regional priorities that affect the very viability of our region as a place to live, work, and run a business. This year, we have strategically built capacity within the Chamber to create programs that satisfy foundational needs for the business community. Labor supply, for example, is cited by our members as the top challenge they face, and this issue is inextricably linked to the chronic lack of attainable workforce housing in our area. To address this need, we added a J-1 Workforce Housing Manager staff position to ensure that local businesses have access to a stable seasonal workforce through the busy summer months. That program has been a resounding success, placing 100 student workers in safe and stable housing arrangements, and expanding the host network by 50 families. 

Recognizing that the record-setting visitation numbers we have seen over the last few summers may not be here to stay, we began work in 2023 to establish a Cape Cod Tourism Destination Marketing District (TDMD). As early as next year, the TDMD will provide a sustainable source of tourism promotion funding for the region, while supporting community development and infrastructure needs. 

Perhaps the biggest accomplishment, though, is the incredible team we have built here at the Chamber. The Chamber was named a “2023 Best Place to Work” by Cape & Plymouth Business Media and this is due in large part to our staff. This impressive group of professionals brings diverse expertise and an infectious, positive energy to everything they do. For this year-in-review, I asked them to share their top accomplishments for 2023. I hope you enjoy reading what they shared. From our entire Chamber team, we wish you a very happy holiday season and a prosperous New Year.


Chanell | Communications

Our communications staff shares highlights of the Chamber’s work in our popular biweekly newsletter, the Chamber Collective. The Collective has continued to attract high levels of readership and an above-industry average open rate of 47%. The Chamber maintained a strong social media presence this year, promoting our members and highlighting all they offer for the region to an audience of over 14,000 followers on Facebook and more than 6,500 followers on Instagram.


Kristen, Liz, Patti, and Keri | Destination Marketing (DMO)

The DMO team worked to showcase Cape Cod to thousands of guests, groups, and meetings throughout 2023. The team initiated a comprehensive rebranding initiative for Cape Cod in 2023, working with agency FuseIdeas to revamp the Cape’s identity as a world-class destination (look for the new brand roll-out early next year!). The Chamber’s travel website had a record-setting 5.3 million unique visits from January through November. Lastly, the popular Cape Cod Travel Guide reached a digital audience of 157,000 to date, and 20,000 print copies of the guide were distributed at trade shows, AAA offices, visitor centers, and Boston hotels and destinations.


Karen, Danielle, and Nathaniel | Finance

The Chamber’s Finance and Administration team grew this year with the addition of a full-time Fiscal Analyst and two big promotions! Karen Cummings was named Chief Financial Officer and Danielle Walsh was promoted to Human Resources/Office Administrator. Our department manages grants received by the Chamber – 11 in total this year – and oversees the finances of the Chamber’s sister organizations, the Blue Economy Foundation, Cape Cod Economic Development Council, and Coastal Community Capital.


Christina and Katy | Housing and Economic Development

After a significant drop in J-1 workers during the pandemic, the Cape has seen a rebounding of student workers this year, up to 3,946 total workers in 2023 as compared to 2,100 in 2022. During its first year, the Chamber’s J-1 Housing program helped over 100 student workers find suitable and affordable housing and added 50 new host families to house this critical segment of our workforce.

Our Economic Development program continues to break new ground with the first Cape-based Commercial Drivers License (CDL) program and the Cape Cod Economic Dashboard, now available on the Chamber website. A new two-day economic development event, the Big Blue Conference, was held in May at the Massachusetts Maritime Academy’s conference center. The inaugural Big Blue event welcomed more than 100 attendees for a series of conversations focused on the regional blue economy and workforce development. The WaterWORKS event also came out of hibernation in March, showcasing Blue Economy jobs and career paths to local high school students through demonstrations, exhibits, and hands-on activities.


Lauren and Noelle | Government Relations and Public Policy

In early 2023, the Chamber added a full-time Government Relations staff position to increase the organization’s focus on key policy areas that impact the Cape Cod business community. With this new capacity, the Chamber has been working to strengthen relationships with local, state, and federal partners, while formalizing a legislative agenda that will allow us to proactively advocate for the unique business interests in our region.

Throughout the year, the Chamber submitted written and oral testimony to state and federal decision-makers covering issues like replacement of the Bourne and Sagamore Bridges; attainable workforce housing; employee business ownership; tourism and visitation; and early education and childcare. We collaborated with the Healey-Driscoll Administration and the Cape & Islands legislative delegation to include Cape Cod-specific housing policies in the Governor’s landmark, $4.1 billion Affordable Homes Act. Our Early Education and Child Care Task Force hosted Amy Kershaw, Commissioner of the Department of Early Education and Care, to discuss regional early education needs. CEO Paul Niedzwiecki also served on the Commonwealth’s Economic Development Planning Council which worked to develop a new four-year, statewide Economic Development Plan, signed by the Governor this month.


Janae and Paige | Membership

The Cape Cod Chamber membership team serves as a lifeline for member questions and needs throughout the year. The membership department worked hard this year to expand the Chamber’s reach and presence across the Cape, hosting events and ribbon cuttings in Provincetown, Eastham, Orleans, Chatham, Falmouth, and Bourne, as well as the mid-Cape. One of our favorite events was the Good Morning Networking event held at the Performing Arts Building in Brewster. The event increased awareness of this unique venue, which offers music programs for children and free community concerts. We capped off the year with a phenomenal holiday themed Good Evening Networking event at the Chatham Bars Inn and, with the help of our partners at the local Chambers, had over 100 registered attendees.


Haley and Greta | Special Projects, Programs, and Events

Our project and event support staff have played a role in just about every accomplishment we have made at the Chamber this year. While their efforts are often behind the scenes and less public in nature, these staff members take on a tremendous amount of responsibility and work tirelessly to make sure that every Chamber activity, event, and program runs smoothly. Among the many programs and events they supported, some highlights include: celebrating the 9th year of the Chamber's popular Cape Cod Hydrangea Fest, which this year benefited 30 local nonprofits and raising over $90,000; and commemorating the start of another beautiful Cape Cod summer with the 15th Annual Quahog Day, held in June at Treehouse Brewing Company.