January 5, 2013 ~ Back in October 2012 I was approached by the University of Missouri Athletics Department about helping them launch/design an Ambassador program for Mizzou Athletics.
(Last year I was helping to design an Ambassador group for Tiger Town but when the plans were halted the Ambassador program was dropped. I had wished the University of Missouri would find a value in something like this but never pursued it because I had no ties to the University other than being a fan of our Missouri Tigers)
I was shocked but so happy to receive that call. With Missouri Tigers being in the SEC this was just another way to ensure we were a welcoming community to guests coming to our town. I would spear-head this program along with Krissy Ellis from the University of Missouri. We began working weekly on a presentation to present to Doug Gillian and Mike Alden. After some minor adjustments it was approved! (They were as excited about this program starting up as we were and both Krissy and I have committed to 3 years at minimum to make sure this program is successful and remains consistent during it's growth) I haven't been able to talk about this program until it began and today at the Men's Basketball game against Bucknell was our "roll out" of the Mizzou Ambassadors!
So how are the Mizzou Ambassadors different then the Chamber Ambassadors?
The Mizzou Ambassadors are completely different from the Chamber of Commerce Ambassadors because the Chamber of Commerce Ambassadors support small businesses in and around our community. We hold ribbon cuttings to celebrate things like ground breaking's, grand openings, anniversaries, additions to businesses or pretty much anything that small business owners want to promote their business for. We also support not-for-profit businesses and our City of Columbia, including Chamber and non-Chamber businesses. We are considered "The Goodwill Arm of the Chamber" and often the face of our Chamber.
The Mizzou Ambassadors are simply "greeters". We will be present at any home game for all 18 sports that the University of Missouri has to offer. We are an addition to the ushers and other staff currently working any home game to welcome fans and guests to our stadiums, arenas and fields. We are considered "The Welcoming Arm of Mizzou". We are present to engage with others to make sure their game experience is the best it can be. We want to be friendly, happy and ready to cheer on our Missouri Tigers!
While these two Ambassador programs are similar yet slightly different they have two commonalities.... dedicated volunteers and supporting the organization they stand for. An organization or program is only has strong as it's supporters / volunteers and we appreciate the time given to make this program successful.
I am proud to be both a Chamber Ambassador and a Mizzou Ambassador. I feel that I can be involved in both organizations and support our Chamber of Commerce and our small business community while giving back and supporting our Missouri Tigers. I am honored to have been asked to be apart of the University of Missouri Athletics Department (100% volunteer only) and hope to build lasting relationships with the staff, coaches, players and fans.
How do I become a Mizzou Ambassador?
We are going to grow our Mizzou Ambassadors slowly over this next year. We do have a process as well as a selection committee that gives the final approval (so there are no guarantee that you will be accepted). It is based on your time commitment, community involvement, etc. We want this to be a very diverse group of individuals giving everyone a fair chance to be involved and active. We also want to make sure that not everyone is from the same groups/organizations making sure that we have a nice cross section of our community/fans so that we all have an opportunity to meet new people and work with various sectors of our community. If you are interested please e-mail me as I will submit your name and additional information for review.
What an amazing day it was! It was so much fun watching the crowds and interacting with some of the guests/fans! It was so exciting getting to work (100% volunteer) with some pretty amazing people today. We are off to a great start and look forward to supporting our Missouri Tigers by greeting guests and fans making sure they know that Columbia, MO is a welcoming community! So next time you are at a Missouri Tigers game just look for the Mizzou Ambassadors... betcha they have a friendly smile!
Co-Chairs of Mizzou Ambassadors
Michele Spry and Krissy Ellis