BerkShares Ambassadors is a new initiative through BerkShares, Inc. aimed at facilitating a network of citizens empowered to be “community economists” – advocates for the locally-owned businesses and community banks that make up the fabric of our local economy.
The BerkShares Ambassadors program includes a dynamic mix of economics, history, organizing skills, and professional development. Participants play an active role in each workshop, helping to provide local context, inform content, and initiate activities. BerkShares Ambassadors become “community economists” who can expand awareness and usage of BerkShares and who are empowered to build relationships with their peers, community leaders, community banks and more than four hundred local businesses that participate in BerkShares.
BerkShares Ambassadors in conversation during a meeting at the Lenox Community Center, November 2017
BerkShares Ambassadors is supported by the New England Grassroots Environment Fund of Newmarket, NH. The first year of BerkShares Ambassadors ran between September 2017 and May 2018 and engaged young people from around Berkshire County in a local economy learning experience that generated both personal and community benefits. BerkShares Ambassadors become spokespeople for the local currency program, harnessing their local knowledge and connections to catalyze BerkShares activity and to help create a more self-reliant Berkshire economy.
In May 2018, Ambassadors hosted a Business-to-Business Networking Event for local business leaders to share best practices when it comes to accepting and recirculating the region's currency.
BerkShares Ambassador Nicole Harman (R) hosting a panel of BerkShares Business Owners (L-R) Bob Climo of G.B. Bagel Co., Maddie Elling of Hosta Hill, and Phyllis Webb of The Magic Fluke Co. at the Business-to-Business Networking Event at Shakespeare & Company in Lenox, MA, May 2018
A BerkShare Sign outside the Elayne P. Bernstein Theatre at Shakespeare & Company, May 2018.
The next iteration of BerkShares Ambassadors will seek to engage the local business community.