By Dr. Dina Carol Vendetti, CDCC President

The Central Delaware Chamber of Commerce (CDCC) has, for the third time, been awarded its 5-star re-accreditation designation. In the chamber world, this is a big deal. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has evaluated the work of the CDCC and determined that this chamber is making outstanding contributions to positive change in Central Delaware.

“Chambers of commerce that achieve an accreditation designation are truly leaders in their industry,” said Raymond P. Towle, vice president of the U.S. Chamber. “This rigorous review includes all aspects of a chamber’s policies, operations and programming, and accredited chambers are recognized for their ability to serve as a resource to their region’s businesses, while maintaining transparent governance practices, sound financial controls, safe work environments, effective communications and value in programming.”

The staff of the Central Delaware Chamber of Commerce celebrate their 5-star accreditation designation. Pictured are Cleo Bell, Martha Lehman, Dina Vendetti, Cristal Brenneman and Jennifer Sutter. Not pictured is Cindy Friese.

To give a little more perspective, perhaps some statistics will help. There are approximately 7,000 chambers in the United States. Of those, 199 are accredited by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Beyond regular accreditation, chambers are encouraged to “level up” to star designations by demonstrating extra programs and services they offer that will have a positive impact on their communities. Chambers can be awarded 3, 4 or 5-stars by undergoing a comparison to the chambers in our country that have been deemed the best. 

The CDCC was awarded 3-stars in 2008 and 5-stars in 2013, 2018 and 2023. Of those 199 accredited chambers, 146 have achieved 5-stars, including the CDCC. This 5-star accreditation puts the CDCC into the top two percent of chambers in the country.

On the flip side – and fun to think about – when other chambers choose to go for 5-stars, guess who they compare them to? That’s right – among others, the CDCC. 

There are nine specific focus areas in the accreditation self-study. Chambers who apply for accreditation are expected to demonstrate a certain level of mastery in each of these areas. These areas include governance, finance, human resources, government affairs, program development, technology, communications, facilities and benchmarking. At the end of the process, feedback is shared in each of these areas that will motivate growth and change over the next five years until it is time to go through the whole process again. 

“While it’s fun to brag about, this designation isn’t really about this isolated achievement or the plaque on the wall,” remarked Dr. Dina Carol Vendetti, CDCC president. “It’s about the work that happens every single day. It’s about the business members, the volunteers and staff who come together to move the needle forward in Central Delaware to promote economic development. What happens at the CDCC takes a village – and we are proud to have the best village around!” 

It should be noted that accreditation is not the achievement at the end of a journey – but rather, it is a stepping stone towards improvement, growth and development. As goals are achieved, new goals are formulated – and the work continues. 

The Central Delaware Chamber of Commerce is grateful for the opportunity to serve this region and for the countless relationships that are made along the way.