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Our View: VIA brings businesses together

Posted: June 17, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: June 17, 2011 1:55 a.m.

The Santa Clarita Valley’s business environment thrives on cooperation and networking for overall success and expansion. Knowing one’s neighbors and how they can benefit one another is an invaluable resource. And a vital tool in this mission is the Valley Industry Association.

VIA was circling the drain 18 months ago, but the group has since reset, reprioritized and rebuilt to achieve its members’ altered priorities after the Great Recession.

No longer were members looking for policy changes in Sacramento, but rather just trying to stay afloat, avoiding layoffs and hoping to stay in the black.

VIA’s board members shifted focus from being a political-advocacy organization to being centered on business-to-business relationships within the SCV and neighboring communities, such as Ventura County and the San Fernando and Antelope valleys.

Through networking, businesses can share resources, customer bases, services, vendors and more.

According to Kathy Norris, president and CEO of VIA, in the time since the organization “got back to basics,” membership is growing, and it’s in much better financial shape.

And VIA is doing its part in promoting itself and staying active in the community with members by hosting monthly luncheons (which are second-to-none in the SCV), a business-to-business industry show and the CEO forum. These events provide great opportunities for members to meet one another and learn how to benefit from interbusiness connections.

Besides the events hosted, the greatest asset to being a VIA member is its personalized business-to-business connections.
If a member makes a request to get in touch with another member, VIA’s board will work hard to get both groups in contact with each other quickly. It expedites the process, gets results and gives members the feeling that their dues, and VIA’s leadership is making things happen.

It’s that personal feel that a small organization can provide that sets it apart from other business associations in the SCV.
VIA’s focus on business-to-business relationships makes for a complement to other groups, such as the Santa Clarita Valley Economic Development Corp and the Chamber of Commerce, instead of working against them.

Outside of the corporate world, VIA has implemented Connecting to Success, a workforce-preparation program that works with local high schools to ready students for the business world.

Things are looking up for the valley’s leading business-to-business association. Its goal now is membership growth and delivery of increased services, rather than survival.


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