June 15, 2017

Dear Fellow Members,

     My oldest brother, Michael – is the type of guy – who while on a cruise – will turn to me and say, “Don’t get used to it – because actuarially speaking (based on a male born in 1958) you only have 5,475 days to live and that’s allowing for Leap Years.” Always the optimist, he then says, “But just think…you have enough money to live this type of lifestyle forever [followed by a pregnant pause] assuming you die tomorrow…early!”

   “Hmmm,” I would think as I sipped my Diet Pepsi – “based on his estimates – that leaves me only 165 more opportunities to attend Chamber Luncheons.”

Good grief; I best get busy. I have quite a bit of planning to do and I have an Installation Luncheon to attend on Thursday, June 22nd at Bar Louie…not to mention a whole bunch of untended networking. Moreover, as all of our dedicated, vigilant, and studious Chamber members already know: “If you’re not networking; you’re not working.”

   Networking is part of what we do or at least – part of what we should do. For example, I attended the Massapequa Kiwanis Club’s 33rd Annual Golf Outing this past Monday. Do you think I was there to golf? No, of course not. I was there to raise funds, have fun, network and if time allowed…see if I could dispel the long-standing, Twainian quip that suggests, “Golf is a good walk spoiled.” Now, it needn’t be golf and it doesn’t have to be luncheons either, but you do need to market yourself. Each day, we need to do something to help ourselves inch closer to reaching our stated goals. Networking is marketing. Whether B2B or B2C, “Our job,” as Seth Godin says, “is to connect to people, to interact with them in a way that leaves them better than we found them, more able to get where they’d like to go.” [Footnote: where and whenever possible keep them away from my brother.]

   Suppose you have a unique business – wouldn’t you want others to know? If your business boasts a “customer-obsessed philosophy – shouldn’t that be your primary message? Now is not the time to get complacent. The technology curve is making quantum leaps every day. “Too busy,” you say, “well then, make the time.” “The key,” said the late, Stephen Covey “is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.” Look, I’m guilty myself, but on this Tuesday past, I made time in my schedule to attend a seminar called TECHMOVATION. It taught those in attendance to react to the changing marketplace using I-phones, I-pads, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter and a myriad of other social networking platforms. The message was actually quite simple: “We all have a choice…where we can choose to be a master of change or a victim of change.” Don’t you owe it to yourself to try to get better every day? Staying well read is another way to keep pace. Read what you enjoy, but always read information germane to your industry. Remember, according to Harry S. Truman: “Not all readers are leaders, but all leaders are readers.”

    So all of a sudden, my brother cuts in and says, “You better watch out for all those lemons of yours in that soda you drink – they cause acid reflux!” On the average, he tries to cheer me up at least once/hr. But seriously folks, “call it a golf outing, call it Kiwanis, call it the Lions, call it the Ladies Auxiliary, call it a clique, call it a clan, or perhaps pay homage to Massapequa and call it a tribe, better yet and more preferably – call it the two-time standing champ, “Best of Long Island,” Massapequa Chamber of Commerce. However, whatever you call it – whether in its simplest terms – or in its most convenient definition – you still need it – i.e., a living, breathing, viable network. You should no sooner consider marketing without networking than you should consider driving an automobile with your eyes closed. Do your homework. CAVEAT: Vet your networking group. Most do good work and have good intentions, but clearly, they are not all the same. “Be careful when you blindly follow the masses. Sometimes the “m” is silent!”

   “Alright,” Mr. President, “I’ve attended numerous networking events and have reaped very little benefit…what now?” The first thing you might want to re-examine is your focus on business cards. Frankly, not everyone needs your card. As management consultant and oftentimes, keynote speaker, AJ Kulatunga reminds us, “Networking isn’t about handing out business cards. It’s about providing enough value to people so they become valuable to you.” Remember, it isn’t a contest to see who can hand out the most cards. Admittedly, I carry a Massapequa Chamber of Commerce card, a Massapequa Kiwanis card and a Nappa Realty card, but I have no uncontrollable urge to thrust it upon another. Now, if I felt I made a connection with that person and/or they asked me for my card…then by all means…I will acquiesce. After all, as “I’m at a Networking Event – Now What?” author, Sandy Jones-Kaminski writes, “A networking event is a farmer event, not a hunter event. You are there to plant seeds and cultivate your garden, not bag prey.”

     Look, I realize time constraints play a big part of your not being able to attend networking events. But doesn’t it make perfectly good sense to spend as much time working “on” your business as you do “in” your business? Take for instance, our featured, Member of the Month,” Fran Straw – she makes the time to attend as many monthly Chamber luncheons as she possibly can. Her zeal for networking is ultimately driven by her passion to create beautiful people from the inside out. Fran, of course, is a skin care consultant for Rodan + Fields. Fran learned long ago – from her time spent at Lufthansa Cargo – that the customer is always at the forefront. Fran got into the business five years ago as a way to stay home with her daughter and her aging mother.

   Since its inception, Rodan + Fields has taken on a bit of a transformation. Originally, Rodan + Fields products were sold primarily via infomercials, but the founders - two, Stanford trained, dermatologists had a bigger vision. Seeing an increasing demand for their product, they began to introduce their skincare products to customers the more traditional way, i.e., via “brick and mortar” retailers. Fast forward a few years and we see where Rodan + Fields now concentrates on multi-level direct selling [sometimes referred to as community commerce.] They advanced this model by enlisting the services of high energy, consultants like Fran Straw. “Bringing love and inspiration to help people feel better about themselves,” says Fran “has always been my driving force.” Focusing on the local market, Fran brings years of marketing experience, coupled with clinical dermatological products that help treat age spots, uneven skin tone, acne, irritated skin conditions – while offering a host of other facial products. Fran always reminds us at meetings, “Take good care of your skin…it’s the largest organ on your body.” If you would like to speak with Fran directly to discuss your skin care needs, please call her at (727) 364-9009 or e-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. “Changing skin – Changing lives!”

   No June “President’s Message” could ever be complete without a reference to our Annual Street Fair. Naturally, I want to thank Main Event Sponsor, ShopRite of Massapequa for their incredible generosity. We’re so glad you decided to join us. Owners Melissa Buonadonna-Hernandez and Julio Hernandez both invite you to visit their store in Massapequa. You can find them at 5508 Sunrise Hwy. It was just two weeks ago, June 4th to be exact, when thousands lined lower Broadway to enjoy over one hundred various craft and food vendors. Moreover, even though early morning skies exchanged sunlight for ominous, late afternoon, rain clouds – nothing could dampen the spirit of our fairgoers. Thank you again, Grand Marshal, Glenn Kearney – who even volunteered his services on a day he was being heralded. Thank you to Committee Chairmen, Anthony Ventiera and J.P. Scarisbrick for the countless hours they dedicated to the success of the fair. You both make quite a team. Lest we forget – thank you to the entire Board of Directors – who each in their own way – ultimately pitched in to the success of our fair. “Good teams,” said the Zen master, Phil Jackson, “become great ones, when the members trust each other enough to surrender the “me” for the “we.”

   While we’re on the subject of working together to achieve a common goal, the nomination period is currently open for the Best of Long Island contest. In order to nominate the Massapequa Chamber of Commerce for Best Chamber on Long Island, please visit and click on the orange Nominate Now button. Then, scroll down to the purple Shopping box and click. Finally, enter the following information as requested: Category: Chamber of Commerce / Nominee: Massapequa Chamber of Commerce / Address: 674 Broadway / City: Massapequa / Phone Number: (516) 541 – 1443 / Website: Be sure to click on the Submit button to process your vote. You can submit your nominations as often as you would like from now through August 31st – so please, in the spirit of teamwork, nominate your local Chamber as well as your fellow Massapequa members.

   I will remind everyone just one more time – the next Chamber luncheon will be held on Thursday, June 22, 2017 at Bar Louie. They can be found at the Westfield Sunrise Mall in Massapequa. There, we will introduce to you our slate of Officers for the 2017-2018 campaign. At such time, I will be sworn in as your President for my final year. My brother just called to remind me: “I’m now officially a lame-duck, President.” Moving on, at the top of the program – a special award will be presented to newly, graduated MHS senior, Lauren Vollaro – winner of the Massapequa Chamber of Commerce scholarship. Moreover, to show our appreciation for all the help we received in making the 5th Annual Street Fair a success, we will recognize Chris Merz and members of his CenterPoint Church for their participation. Their Massapequa campus is located at 98 Jerusalem Ave. They…as you would expect from people of great faith…eased our burden and lightened our load. They were miracle workers. However, that never really surprises me…at least not here in Massapequa. Call me quixotic, but I expect miracles. “Be the energy you want to attract.”

“The richest people in the world look for and build networks, everyone else looks for work.” – Robert Kiyosaki



Robert R. Barrett, President