Early on in Chris Hoke’s term as president of the Shelby County Chamber of Commerce in 2019, the Northwestern Consolidated School Corporation superintendent sat down with the chamber board to brainstorm.

The group talked about what role the chamber serves local businesses, and while they initially came up with simple responses – networking and public relations, as an example – they were looking to put a value in it.

“We asked is there a way we can impact the bottom line of our members?” Hoke said during his State of the Chamber speech Wednesday afternoon at Shelbyville Community Church. “It’s hard sometimes to quantify it. What’s the value of membership in the Chamber of Commerce?”

What the group came up with was an opportunity for local businesses to join a lifestyle health benefits program through Medova Health.

The program became available to members of the chamber that have two to 50 employees last fall, created as an incentive to join. It “offers the possibility of significant savings,” he told chamber members.

“Five percent savings on health premiums is a number you can put on a spreadsheet,” he said. “We’re really excited about that.”

Hoke, who will continue to serve on the board as past president, said the chamber is hoping to expand the program moving forward.

He read a letter written by Travis Edington, who took over as president this year, that expressed the same sentiment. Edington, who works at Indiana American Water and served on the board last year as president-elect, was unable to attend the luncheon.

Hoke talked about changes in leadership in the organization and the importance of self reflection. He referred to Leadership Shelby County, which he said provided a place and opportunity to self reflect on his leadership role in the community.

“We live in a world where we conduct foreign policy and diplomacy in 140 characters in Twitterverse,” he said. “That’s become quite apparent in the last 24 to 48 hours. I’m not sure about the wisdom in that because I don’t know if you can fully articulate any thought in 140 characters. I know it’s very difficult for me to sit down and with all of the noise in the background. Leadership Shelby County allows you to have that time.”

Leadership Shelby County also offered the opportunity for him to connect with others who were on the same self-improvement journey and the community as a whole, he said.