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Message from A.J. Baynes: January 2023

A.J. Baynes Headshot
A.J. Baynes, President & CEO

The early days of a new year are upon us, and every business owner should be excited about the possibilities ahead. January is a time to take action, set your goals, celebrate the small victories, and avoid letting any setback discourage you from moving forward. The past three years have been extremely challenging for everyone, and many business owners have shown their resiliency by standing tall to take on the challenges that have been thrown at them from every direction. With the year ahead, there is no setback that you can't handle. Stay positive, but most of all, stay engaged. The more engaged you are, the sooner any setback will be a distant memory.

If you visit the chamber website, you will see we have a full calendar of events already scheduled for January; however, we are preparing for our Annual Meeting on Friday, February 3, at 8:30am at Reikart House on Main Street. Our Annual Meeting is open to all members of the community, and we encourage you to join us. This event is an excellent way to learn more about how the Chamber advocates on your behalf through our public policy/economic development council and hear from Amherst Town Supervisor Brian Kulpa about the state of the town of Amherst. We will also officially swear in our 2023 Board of Directors and slate of officers. Finally, I'd be remiss if I did not offer my sincere appreciation to President Gary Olson at Daemen University and his entire team for their assistance in allowing us to host this event virtually over the past two years due to the Covid-19 regulations.

One of the pillars of our organization is our Emerging Business Leadership program. This 10-class program takes place once a month and is for those young professionals within your organization who you feel would benefit from expanding their networks and rounding out their leadership skills. All participants will receive a workplace personality assessment and learn many valuable skills they will carry with them for their professional careers. Space is limited, and you can learn more here.

This past week, the Chamber hosted its New Member Orientation. We had 21 participants representing companies of all sizes and industry sectors of our community. This orientation walked our new members briefly through the history of the Chamber to where we are today. These orientations are not limited to just new members; if you have new employees within your organization who would like to learn more about the Chamber offerings, please encourage them to sign up for our next orientation, taking place early this spring.

Next month Lunch Mob returns Thursday, February 9, at Glen Park Tavern, and our next West Herr Driven to Success Series featuring Erie County Sheriff John Garcia. Sheriff Garcia will update our members about the work the Sheriff's office does throughout our community, as well as field questions regarding those topics important to you and your family regarding public safety.

While the closing days of 2022 were not how we planned to end the year, we hope you and your loved ones were safe and healthy, and our thoughts and prayers remain with those whose lives were lost during the storm. The Chinese New Year is January 22, 2023, and this year is the year of the rabbit. The rabbit in Chinese culture symbolizes longevity, peace, and prosperity, and I am encouraged that much brighter days are ahead. I wish everyone a great start to the new year, and please remember my door is always open.

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