In May 2017, Nick Grounds, a former financial advisor, returned to the British American Chamber of Commerce as one of just 17 members. He discovered that a lack of corporate backing, in addition to a mindset focused on individual needs rather than working together, was stunting the organization’s success. So he took on the role of president and executive director to build the chamber into a community service that nurtures the social, business and educational needs of its members while benefiting the community through philanthropy.
One of the most important things for Grounds has been to provide value for members. He’s accomplished this in many ways, including the development of a comprehensive package of benefits that includes complimentary access to 24/7 roadside assistance, legal services, tax and financial services, ID protection, telemedicine and more. These benefits are constantly being reviewed and upgraded as opportunities arise.
“Even if you don’t ever manage to get to a social function or a meeting of the chamber, you’ll get something for your money anyhow,” Grounds says.
The BACC reaches the eastern portion of Central Florida, from Daytona to Clermont, down to Melbourne and everything in between. This covers of the state’s largest tourism districts, which draws approximately 1.7 million British tourists each year. While the chamber works with members to help their businesses grow, it also acts as a resource for visitors while they’re here.
Grounds has also worked to expand BACC events throughout the year. In April, the British-American Real Estate Expo supported Realtors with securing more sales from international buyers and sellers by providing access to vendors whose services could help. Then, in May, the chamber took over the ESPN radio station for An Evening with Professional Sports Personalities that featured a seven-person panel for the show. Many events feature a philanthropic element so members can give back to the community they serve.
The BACC also recently launched a brand new website that is more user friendly. It includes a travel page with tips and travel insurance options. Additionally, the Shoppe UK tab features 200 items that provide the comfort of home for many members.
Under the leadership of Grounds, the BACC’s membership base has soared to about 20,000 social members and 25 corporate members. The goal is to add another 1,000 paid members by the end of the year.
Grounds believes that members must work together and look for a win-win situation for everyone for the organization as a whole to be truly successful.. He says, “By working together and being ambassadors for everybody else, businesses will flourish because everybody is working for each other as opposed to just themselves.”