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Message from A.J. Baynes: October 2023

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

It is October, and the Chamber is busy planning our biggest night of the year with The Event – Celebrating Business Excellence at Salvatore's Italian Gardens on Monday, October 23, 2023. With over 425 people already registered, we will once again shatter attendance records, and we know it is in large part due to our incredible list of honorees. This year, we proudly present the following recipients with their respective awards:

  • Goodwill Industries of WNY ~ Stewardship Award
  • Lawley ~ Family-Owned Business Award
  • Spectrum Reach ~ Chairman's Award
  • Buffalo AKG Art Museum ~ Commitment to Excellence Award
  • Jody Briandi ~ Woman of Distinction Award
  • Gilbane Building Co. ~ Business of the Year Award

Each of these honorees has made a significant impact in our community and displayed an unwavering commitment to excellence, innovation, and community service. We admire and acknowledge their achievements and contributions to society. If you are interested in attending, we highly encourage you to get your tickets ahead of time; you can register here.

While our member services team is busy preparing for The Event, our member benefits team works around the clock to ensure you and your business are covered! With open enrollment upon us, you will be hearing from our benefits team regarding the updated health insurance rates for 2024, who can assist in selecting benefits for your team. We remain the only Chamber in Western New York to have its own in-house benefits team, and just like our mission of being an extension of your brand, we work tirelessly to ensure the people you care most about have the proper insurance. If your business is not currently receiving benefits from the Chamber, please feel free to reach out. Our team of professionals is here with answers to all your questions about changes in benefits, deductibles, and so much more. Please email to set up an appointment today.

On Thursday October 12th, we will host our fourth and final New Member Orientation of this year. New Member Orientation is a great way for new Chamber members to meet other chamber members in a relaxed setting while learning about all the benefits of Chamber membership. We provide a thorough overview of membership and ways we can be an extension of your brand. While the bulk of attendees are members who have joined in the last quarter, we encourage any member to join us that day, or if you have new representatives, it is a great way to assist them in becoming more acquainted with all our offerings. If you are interested in attending, please register here.

We were fortunate to take advantage of the beautiful weather to host our October Lunch Mob on the patio at Frankie Primo's +39. It was a great turnout, and our members had a lively conversation over a delicious lunch. On November 15th, we will be headed to Wingnutz in Amherst off the 290 on Millersport. While it saddens me to say we most likely won't be able to enjoy 80-degree patio weather, I am confident we will have a great turnout to support this new business and new chamber member who has been making headlines amongst our local "foodie" community for their incredible selection of wings. You can register here.

Our Emerging Business Leadership class is finishing up for the year, and this incredible group of 50 young professionals has been a great addition to our Chamber membership. Over the course of the year, they enjoyed a professional evaluation through the WORKPLACE BIG 5 assessment, learned about having tough conversations with employees and team members, gained a better understanding of the benefits of creating a more diverse and inclusive working environment, strengthening their financial position, public speaking, and creative problem-solving. They most recently assisted Kevin Guest House in preparing for their biggest event of the year. The feedback from this year's cohort has been incredible. Our EBL Leadership class formed bonds that we hope they will take with them throughout their career, and we can't thank our mentors enough for their hard work. At The Event, our EBL class will be acknowledged for their achievements, and we look forward to our 2024 class. If you would like to learn more about our Emerging Business Leadership class, please email

In closing, the Chamber is ecstatic about the month of October, and we couldn't be more excited about planning for 2024. If you feel there is a program the Chamber could offer, please remember my door is always open.

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