Amherst Chamber of CommerceAmherst Chamber of Commerce

  Meet the Staff

Colleen C. DiPirro, President & CEO   

The worst economic downturn in business during my lifetime began in 2009. Even though the Buffalo Niagara region was not hit as hard as many parts of the country, we still experienced the trickle down impact of tightened access to credit, decreases in consumer purchasing and increases in governmental fees for services. While 2010 showed minimal periods of recovery, the overall sense of angst continued as businesses, large and small, struggled with the uncertain future. However, troubled by the economy and dim prospects, businesses turned to the Amherst Chamber of Commerce looking for help, and found it!  In 2010 the Amherst Chamber of Commerce increased our membership, increased business investment in the organization, created new initiatives and experienced huge growth in participation in Chamber events, councils and committees.  The Amherst Chamber of Commerce is a unique organization in the Buffalo Niagara marketplace. We have refined an organizational structure that provides a wide array of business services for the small and medium size businesses that depend on us to grow their prosperity. Simultaneously, we have increased our clout in the region as a result of solidifying our relationship with public officials on both sides of the aisle at the federal, state and local level. This gives us a seat at the table for discussions on policy that impacts our members.  I want to thank the individuals and firms that recognize the value of their participation in the Chamber and continue to grow our Circle of Influence.     


Kim Whelan- Executive Director, Small Business Division

Licensed NYS Health Insurance Agent 


Kim plans, organizes, and directs the Chamber's small business services. She is the staff liaison to the Executive Board, the Board of Directors, and the Business Resource Council. Kim oversees the Tools for Prosperity workshops, Business After Hours, New Member Orientation, Special Events, Ribbon Cuttings and Grand Openings. 

Kim can be contaced at


Kaitlin Brunner - Director, Marketing and Special Events


Kaitlin leads the Chamber's marketing strategies. She oversees the planning, and execution of the Chamber's annual special events such as The Event (formerly Business of the Year Awards) and the Small Business Luncheon.  Kaitlin manages the development and implementation of advertising and sponsorship opportunities with the Chamber. She also serves as the staff liaison to the Chamber's young professional's division, the Emerging Business Leaders.  


Kaitlin can be contacted at

Olivia Dann - Executive Assistant


Olivia greets all of our members whether it's over the phone or when they stop into the Chamber offices. In addition to fielding inquiries about the Chamber, she oversees event registrations and is responsible for many of the day to day operations of the Chamber. 


She can be contacted at

Penny LaPlaca - Manager, Administration and Insurance

Licensed NYS Health Insurance Broker/Agent   

Penny works with closely with Heather, and is responsible for the administration of all health insurance related tasks and managing Benefit Solutions, the insurance division of the Amherst Chamber of Commerce.  She is more than happy to help you with your health insurance related questions. She is also responsible for maintaining our databases, billings and all data necessary to operate our organization.

She can be contacted at



Amy Rath - Account Executive


Amy spreads the word about the Amherst Chamber of Commerce and the benefits of membership to current and potential new members throughout the year. Interested in learning about all that the Chamber has to offer and how it can benefit you or your business Amy is happy to answer your questions.  


She can be contacted at








Dinorah E. Santos - Public Relations and Social Media Coordinator


Dinorah coordinates public relations, social media and events at the Chamber. She manages the electronic communications (First Monday, Health Care Corner) and handles all media relations. Dinorah assists in the development of the Chamber's website and all marketing materials. 


She can be contacted at


Office Hours:

Labor Day - Memorial Day

Monday - Friday
8:30 am - 5:00 pm


Memorial Day - Labor Day

Monday - Friday

8:30am - 4:00pm 



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