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Message from A.J. Baynes: April 2023

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

The first quarter has ended, and now is the time to take stock if you are achieving the targets you wanted to set forth. One of the goals we set forth this year was to ensure we continued to maintain the pulse of our membership, fully understanding if our programming was meeting the mark. If you have attended any of our events recently, you would have been sent a follow-up poll. We encourage everyone to participate in those surveys as it will allow us to adjust our programming accordingly. Of the surveys we have sent out this year, the Chamber is maintaining over a 92% satisfaction rate for those who have attended our events (this includes our Annual Meeting, Business After Hours, and our EBL Symposium). While these results are overwhelmingly positive, we will continue to encourage your participation in our surveys and offer an opportunity for you to provide additional comments. Everything we do ties back to our mission statement of nurturing a strong economic environment in Western NY while providing members with the tools to ensure their success.

Another goal laid out in our strategic plan was enhancing our Emerging Business Leadership Program. We have heard from our members, both large and small companies, about the need to provide professional development to their employees in a setting where they feel more comfortable sharing their challenges and learning best practices for their careers. Over the past five years, we have strived to provide that environment and our 2023 EBL Leadership class is our largest yet. This diverse group of young professionals enjoyed their second class last month. We were thrilled, once again, to partner with Daemen University to host our EBL Symposium that included our Leadership Class participants and various members of our Chamber. See below for pics! Nearly one hundred young professionals participated in this half-day educational symposium to learn about improving personal brand, transformational leadership, goal setting, and inclusive leadership. Holly Hubert, the founder and CEO of GlobalSecurityIQ, will host the next EBL class focusing on the Science and Art of Leadership. Holly, a Chamber board member, brings a wealth of leadership experience from an extensive career in law enforcement as a 25-year member of the FBI and is now an entrepreneur with her cyber security business. Holly has been instrumental in assisting our EBL program.  As we pair our Leadership participants with members of our Board and senior leaders in our community for the Mentorship component of the program, we  want to thank Holly for her contributions to the Board and for working with our Emerging Business Leaders.

Hosting our quarterly New Member Orientation this month on April 28th.  I encourage you to share with your marketing and sales teams so they can join us to learn how to maximize your membership.  Register here.

Thursday, April 20th, Lunch Mob will be happening at The Eagle House. Owner Tricia Browne is a long-time member of our Chamber, and The Eagle House is one of Western New York's most historic restaurants. Please join us to network in this casual setting that is always well-received by our members. If you're planning ahead, next month, we will head to downtown Buffalo to kick off the Cinco De Mayo weekend a day early at Deep South Taco on Ellicott Street on Thursday, May 4. May’s Business After Hours event will be on May 16th at the Town Square Media offices where will host our group… this is one you won’t want to miss since someone will be leaving with a pair of tickets to the Taste of Country happening June 23rd at Sahlen Field.

As I write this message, unfortunately, the 2023-2024 New York State budget is still not finalized. There are a lot of moving parts to how the budget process works, however, the Chamber is monitoring what we feel would be the most devasting outcome to our area, and that is the timelines on banning natural gas. We have adamantly opposed many of the timelines the Climate Action Council set forth, and this past winter further reaffirmed our position not to ban natural gas when many homes were without power multiple times due to the various storms. You can find our 2023 Public Policy Agenda by clicking here.

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday, and if you have school-age children, you took advantage of their school break. The Chamber looks forward to having a successful second quarter, and I hope you do too. Please remember my door is always open.


EBL Symposium at Daemen University 3/24/2023

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