Message from the President | December 2018

President/CEO A.J. Baynes
President/CEO A.J. Baynes

It’s hard to believe, but we are just weeks away from ushering in 2019. The wonderful thing about welcoming another year is the opportunity to refresh and renew our goals and objectives in our personal and professional lives.

The Chamber is already looking ahead, planning our first big event of the new year, the Annual Luncheon and Presentation of the Public Policy Agenda for 2019 on January 25th. The public has never been more engaged in the political process, and we are going to capitalize on that as we encourage the community to #StepUp (Luncheon hashtag) and be involved in the matters that affect our lives. We will be hearing from lawmakers in all levels of government at the Annual Luncheon that includes the State of the Town address from Amherst Supervisor Brian Kulpa. Registration is open, so sign up here to be a part of this growing movement.

Before we turn the calendar, the Chamber wants to look back at 2018, which turned out to be a great year for us. We engaged more community leaders and elected officials, highlighted the big projects underway in the region, increased our media exposure and social media presence, added more video to our lineup, formed a team at the J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge, raised money for nonprofits, and added to our investor wall and programs. But don’t just read about it. You can relive it by watching our Year in Review and Best of 2018 videos! Check them out in this newsletter or on our YouTube page here.

It was hard to top the energy at The Event this year, but the following week, we held one of our most popular Lunch Mobs of the year. Nearly 50 people joined us at Chef’s Restaurant in Buffalo, and even State Senator Tim Kennedy stopped by! Many came to enjoy the signature dish, spaghetti parm, but it also shows our members are regional. Look for more Lunch Mobs downtown in the new year.

Not to be outdone, the buzz continued a few days later as more than 100 joined us for our Emerging Business Leaders Winter ProMix at Soho Buffalo. Young professionals and their mentors joined board members for this fun night that included several guest bartenders. Tips and a portion of the ticket money went to Gateway Longview and Kevin Guest House. This party with a purpose was a great success all around!

The Chamber will kick off the 2019 EBL Leadership Program in January, and we are encouraging young professionals who are looking to be Western New York’s future decision-makers to apply. The program includes classroom training on workplace issues, networking and mentoring opportunities as well as social events. Chamber investor Bryant and Stratton College and member Bonefish Grill are offering two individuals scholarships to cover the cost of the program. For more information, click here.

We are in the season of giving, and nothing is more meaningful than donating life. The Chamber is teaming up with member Unyts to hold a blood drive at 400 Essjay on December 14th.  The bus will be in our parking lot from 10am-2pm. As a thank you to donors, we’re holding a raffle for a chance to win a gift certificate to Glen Park Tavern.

We’ll put a little sparkle in your holiday on the 18th when we hold a Business After Hours at Brian Michael’s Jewelers featuring champagne and jewelry discounts. It will be our last event of the year, so be sure to register here.

On behalf of everyone at the Chamber, we wish you a wonderful holiday season. We look forward to another great year in 2019, and remember, my door is always open.