Meet Marcia O'Kane

She's the force behind the new Greenwich Chamber of Commerce



Before she became executive director of the Greenwich Chamber of Commerce in the fall of 2012, Marcia O’Kane had a long career on Wall Street. But after witnessing the 9/11 attacks (her office was directly across from the World Trade Center’s Twin Towers), she committed herself to nonprofit work. She came to the Greenwich Chamber after several years leading the Stamford Senior Center. Since then, she has been widely credited with reviving the organization. Here’s how the energetic resident has made it happen.

GM: There’s been a real surge in chamber membership during your tenure. How have you boosted the ranks?

MO: Well, you are right about that. In January of this year alone we had sixteen unsolicited members sign up, and 100 sign up last year. People are hearing the chamber has reinvented itself, and there’s a perceived value in membership. We’ve done a lot of surveys of our membership and we’ve found the number-one thing that people want is an opportunity to network themselves and their businesses in a nonthreatening way. And we’ve really focused on doing that.

GM: Can you give as an example?

MO: I wanted to call attention to the Alliance Francaise, which is right on Greenwich Avenue, but a lot of people don’t know about it. I wanted to help promote that great French film series they have. We had an event there, and we got Sweet Lisa’s, whom we all know and love, to make a custom cake promoting its festival, and we also had Méli-Mélo bring in some delicious food. So, in the process of promoting one organization I also promoted Sweet Lisa’s and Méli-Mélo. Collaboration works and we all benefit from getting to know each other.

GM: People often think of Greenwich Avenue as being the business district, but there are lots of places to shop and do business. How do you promote them all?

MO: Our membership is quite diverse. We’re seeing a lot of sole proprietorships; we have realtors who are members, grocers, hardware stores. Geographically, we even have members who do business here but are located elsewhere. I think people join because they know when they are listed in our directory it’s like a Good Housekeeping seal of approval. And people value our opinion. I get calls asking if we know a good plumber or if we can recommend a great florist. Why pay money for Angie’s List? You can join your local chamber and get so much more.

GM: We hear you sometimes ride a Vespa around town.

MO: I’ve had the Vespa for over twelve years now. I bought it because I thought it would be fun and it is! For some reason, when you ride it around town, people wave and smile. I jump on it and go to Tod’s Point and I zip around town to run errands. It’s a throwback to Audrey Hepburn in Roman Holiday. It’s a fantasy. And it gets seventy miles to the gallon!

GM: Any new initiatives you’re especially excited about?

MO: We launched our Women Who Matter luncheon series and it’s a big hit. The idea came to me when I walked down Greenwich Avenue one day and realized how many of those businesses were owned or operated by women. I wanted to do something that spoke to them. So, our luncheon features one woman who talks about what’s mattered to her personally; what’s challenged her and changed the trajectory of her career, and what we can learn from that. We’ve also focused on more educational seminars on topics like getting your kid into an Ivy League school, because we have a member who’s a great expert on that. We’ve done things on how to cold-call effectively. And we’re having a lot of fun with our speed-networking events. A big goal of our chamber is to educate and find the areas of need.

GM: But life isn’t all business. What do you do for fun?

MO: I’m really into fitness. I’m proud to say I’m a twelve- time marathoner, and I’m very proud of my six Boston’s, which I considered the hardest. I also love the arts. I’m a real Type-A Gemini. 

 

 

 

Greenwich Agenda

  • The Many Faces of Multi Media

    2014.09.20
     @ Meli-Melo of Greenwich

    Dr. Julia Trebing, Director Creative Therapies in Stamford, CT exhibits her paintings at Meli-Melo Creperie & Juice Bar  during Sept...

  • Puttin’ On The Dog Festival

    2014.09.21
     @ Roger Sherman Baldwin Park

    Puttin’ On The Dog Festival Greenwich, Connecticut the place to be on September 21st for dogs and their owners...

  • Candy Fairies Book Reading

    2014.09.21
     @ Imagine Candy

    SCARSDALE, NY, Imagine Candy brings the acclaimed children's author Helen Perelman, the writer of the wickedly sweet Candy Fairies book...

  • Chizi's Tale Book Launch Party

    2014.09.21
     @ Tudor Investment Campus

    You and your family are invited to join Diane's Books of Greenwich and TUSK USA to celebrate the launch of Chizi's Tale: The True Story...

  • Chizi's Tale Book Launch Party

    2014.09.21
     @ Tudor Investment Campus

    You and your family are invited to join Diane's Books of Greenwich and TUSK USA to celebrate the launch of Chizi's Tale: The True Story...

  • Nigh Season: New Paintings By David Konigsberg

    2014.09.13
     @ Kenise Barnes Fine Art

    Dates: September 13 – October 31, 2014 Opening Reception: September 13, 6 – 8:30 PM  Public Invited   NIGH...

  • Undulate: Paintings By Julie Gross and Margaret Neill

    2014.09.13
     @ Kenise Barnes Fine Art

    GALLERY II Dates: September 13 – October 31, 2014 Opening Reception: September 13, 6 – 8:30 PM Public Invited...

  • Parties at the JCC Center

    2014.09.02
     @ Stamford JCC

    A place to celebrate birthdays and special occasions. Be a guest at your own party! The JCC offers a wonderful space for you and your guests to...

  • SM&NC Farm Market

    2014.06.15
     @ Stamford Museum & Nature Center

    Sundays, June 15 – October 5, 10am – 2pm We're thrilled to bring back the SM&NC Farm Market — now on Sundays!...

  • Arts & Crafts on Bedford

    2014.09.20
     @ Bedford Street

    Shop at over 100 craft and artisan boutiques on Bedford Street, which will be closed to traffic for the weekend. Dine in our extended sidewalk...

  • "Israel and the U.S."

    2014.09.22
     @ New Canaan Library

    The public is invited to attend a World Affairs Forum Great Decisions event featuring Seth Anziska, Columbia University. Mr. Anziska will speak...

  • Holistic Health Practitioner Kevin W. Reese

    2014.09.24
     @ Meli-Melo

    Meet Holistic Health Practitioner Kevin W. Reese & Take Home a Signed Copy of His New Book! Kevin is a holistic health practitioner,...

  • Annual State of the Town Address and Luncheon | Greenwich, CT

    2014.09.25
     @ Milbrook Club

    Greenwich Chamber of Commerce Annual State of the Town Address and Luncheon will be held at Milbrook Club. Registration 11:30am; start at...

  • Greenwich Harbor Sunset Wine Cruise | Greenwich, CT

    2014.06.05
     @ Delamar Hotel Dock

    The boat "Prudence" departs from the Delamar Hotel Dock on 500 Steamboat Rd. All the wine is sponsored through VALS with food...

  • Verismo - Opera Arias and Ensembles

    2014.09.26
     @ Round Hill Community Church

    Music from the Heart at Round Hill  “Verismo – Arias and Ensembles,” an opera concert, will bring drama and passion...

  • Aaron Henry Trunk Show & Personal Appearance

    2014.09.26
     @ Richards

  • Curiosity Concerts Season Opening: SONIC ESCAPE

    2014.09.27
     @ Greenwich Library Cole Auditorium

    The Greenwich Arts Council's Curiosity Concerts opens its second season of free classical music concerts for families on Saturday, Sept. 27,...

  • Bistro Versailles Wine Dinner

    2014.09.29
     @ Bistro Versailles

    Wine dinners at Bistro Versailles are entertaining social events held on a regular basis. Socialize with friends and mingle with other...

  • Joie Special Shopping Event

    2014.09.30
     @ Joie

    Joie invites you to a special shopping event! Enjoy wine & hor d'oeuvres while shopping 20% off your purchase Enter to win a...


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