MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENT
As the Health Insurance Open Enrollment comes to an end this week, we have experienced an increase of office visitors-either renewing their policies or coming to us as new subscribers. This has kept us very busy and with all of the different initiatives and opportunities the Chamber offers, it's difficult to focus my columns on a single subject. But, in light of the New Year, I would like to give you a taste of what we have planned for the beginning of 2017.
Our membership includes many women; some who participated when we had a Conversation with Kathy - our Lieutenant Governor last month. Much of the discussion revolved around issues with the Minority Women Business Executives (MWBE) process in New York State. We have responded to Lieutenant Governor Hochul's request and are working with representatives from NAWBO to develop a position paper that will be presented to state officials for the purpose of refining this process. These are the type of partnerships that distinguish the Amherst Chamber of Commerce as a collaborative and creative organization.
Small Businesses make up a large percentage of our membership. Our Business Resource Council (BRC) has devoted the past year to creating processes that respond to the needs of this demographic. Any member of the Chamber with less than 25 employees, or firms that rely on small businesses as their customer base, are eligible for membership in the BRC. There is no additional cost to our members and the advantages are extensive. We will be hosting the BRC Annual Meeting January 19th at 8:30 AM at Daemen College for small business owners. This is a complimentary event that is devoted to identifying gaps in services and small business challenges. We will use that information to mobilize programs to respond to these needs. Facilitators will break attendees into small groups so everyone will have a voice in shaping our programming. This is an example of our organization's efforts to engage our members and encourage ownership in the Amherst Chamber of Commerce.
The BRC event is not to be confused with the Chamber's Annual Meeting and State of the Town. That event, featuring Supervisor Barry Weinstein, is January 27th at Classics V at 12 Noon. We will also distribute our Annual Public Policy Agenda at that event. Our Public Affairs Council works throughout the year to identify issues important to our members and publishes this report and presents it to our public officials at all levels of government. We encourage our members to present issues for vetting at any time. Once again, our Chamber supports empowerment of our members and respectful dialogue with our public officials.
This is just a small snapshot of what we are currently working on. For more information, visit our website (oh yeah, that is being redone as well) at www.amherst.org or like us on Facebook. This is my last column for 2016 so please enjoy the holidays and I hope to see you in the New Year.