Amherst Chamber of CommerceAmherst Chamber of Commerce


Who, What, Where, When, Why

By Colleen DiPirro, President of The Amherst Chamber of Commerce



The Amherst Chamber of Commerce recognizes that the world is changing around us and if the Buffalo Niagara region wants to remain viable, we must empower the next generation of leaders.  To assist in this, we created a division of our organization called the Emerging Business Leaders.  This group is made up of upwardly mobile business representatives under the age of 40.  We launched this initiative late last year and currently have a network of approximately 300 individuals participating, led by an Advisory Board representing firms from across the region.


The goals and objectives of this group are multi-faceted and include networking, professional skill development and leadership training.  We are devoting this entire newsletter to better inform our members and readers about the opportunities available to them and their employees through participation with the Emerging Business Leaders.


Each month, the EBL hosts a networking event at a local business.  The purpose of these events is to provide a platform for peer-to-peer networking, expand recognition for the host location and share resources, much like the Chambers 'Circle of Influence'.  These events are free to Chamber members and their employees and only $5 for future members or individuals who want to learn more about the advantages of involvement.


The Food for Thought Series has been a homerun for the EBL.  Each month, a different community or business leader joins a dozen young professionals for a private breakfast, lunch or dinner to share their success stories, advice and expertise with attendees.  Guests have included Dottie Gallagher Cohen (Visit Buffalo), Bill Collins (Travers Collins & Company), Donna Fernandes (Buffalo Zoo), Bob Gioia (OiShei Foundation) and Tom Kucharski (Buffalo Niagara Enterprise).  On deck are Paul Ciminelli (Ciminelli Development), Margaret Sullivan (Buffalo News) and Sharon Randaccio (Performance Management Partners).  Each meeting takes on the personality of the guest but, universally, all participants have agreed that it was time very well spent and they came away with increased leadership knowledge.


Electronic communications is a huge component of EBL.  Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and old fashioned email have become the methods of choice for recommending one another, sharing news on events and opportunities and building friendships. 


This is only the beginning for EBL.  Members realize that today's young professionals are the future of our community.  Their personal and professional lives are full and they will only devote their time to initiatives that provide them with tangible value.  Individually they will take different paths and realize different outcomes but collectively they are preparing for a prosperous future for not only themselves, but our entire community. 


For more information about how you or a member of your staff can get involved with the Emerging Business Leaders contact Caitlin Campbell at


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