“Mesa Morning Live” is far from your typical chamber networking event, although it does include a mix-and-mingle, breakfast and a few table presenters. But the core of this successful program that the Mesa Chamber of Commerce puts together every month is informative entertainment that’s professionally produced and broadcast live (and archived on YouTube) for the benefit of anyone who can’t make it over to Crescent Crown Distributing’s classroom/community room. “One of our guests a couple of years ago was Anthony Robles, the one-legged ASU wrestler,” says Sally Harrison, chamber president, describing him as a very motivational speaker and a hugely popular guest. The key ingredient is show emcee Mark Cordes, who holds the show together and moves the segments along with the wit and aplomb of the professional comedian that he is.
The morning starts with networking with fellow attendees and a few businesses that have presentation tables. Once breakfast is served, attendees can take their plates to the rows of audience tables.
Most guests on the show are members of the Mesa Chamber, but that’s not a requirement, Harrison says. “Really, we’re looking for that main guest that people would be interested in learning more about or hearing from. From that, we build the ‘cast,’ trying to stick with a theme if possible to include the sponsor and other supporting guests such as our nonprofit segment.” A typical show has four guests; the variety ranges from political to sports and veterans to the arts, and, in the past year and a half, includes a musical guest.
The Mesa Chamber started Mesa Morning Live in February 2012, and it was hot from the get-go. Recalls Harrison, “The second month, one of our guests was [Mesa] City Manager Chris Brady. When he came off the stage, he walked over to me and said, ‘This should be on Channel 11’ — and starting in April of 2012, we went to a broadcast on Mesa’s city channel, allowing us to also have a large YouTube presence.” Crescent Crown stepped forward at the same time. “They offered to host us, and we never left. It is the perfect location for us to produce this monthly show and they are great partners in having us there.”
Adding a prize wheel this year, with items donated by and promoting businesses, allows more Chamber members to be showcased in a marketing opportunity that, in addition to the viewing on Channel 11, has amassed more than 2.3 million minutes viewed on YouTube, Harrison notes, as well as bringing a new fun element to the show. She notes also, “Having a sponsored segment for our nonprofits has been a blessing to many smaller charitable organizations who would not normally have the opportunity for this type of marketing.”