Skip to content

Message from A.J. Baynes: November 2023

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

The festive holiday season started early this year with The Event – Celebrating Business Excellence 2023, a sellout crowd with almost 500 people in attendance, a crowd that was so energetic that the power went off… not once but twice throughout the evening. Thankfully, though, those outages lasted mere seconds, and our honorees were able to pick up right where they left off. While The Event has always been an incredible night for our honorees, it also showcases the regional reach and depth of membership to all those who attend. You can view our photos from the evening by clicking here.

While we honor those who excel in our business community at The Event, the evening also serves as a night for us to acknowledge our Emerging Business Leader Program graduates. This year's EBL class was our largest yet, with 49 young professionals meeting monthly for ten workshops, networking with other professionals, volunteering their time with several area not-for-profits, and learning from experienced mentors. The program is designed to provide young professionals with the skills, knowledge, and connections they need to succeed in their careers and become leaders in their communities. The feedback from this year's cohort was overwhelmingly positive, and we are currently accepting applications for the 2024 cohort. You can register for 2024 EBL Leadership Program here.


The Chamber brings one of its most popular networking events back to Amherst this week. Anchor Bar on Maple and Sweethome will be the host of our November Lunch Mob this Wednesday November 15. Our most informal networking event consistently attracts different members, both long-term and short-term members, on a month-to-month basis. We encourage all attendees to bring a work colleague who might not be familiar with the Chamber and its benefits or introduce a friend whose company does not belong.   Please register here and next month, our final Lunch Mob of the year will take place at Fresh Catch in Williamsville on December 13.

Our Chamber benefits team is in the midst of health insurance open enrollment, and to say they have been busy is an understatement. The Chamber has been reenrolling our current members and their businesses while meeting with new companies who are joining the Chamber or looking for first-in-class customer service from their health insurance brokers. If you have any health, vision, dental, or life insurance questions, please email, and we will gladly assist you.

As the holiday season is upon us, I want to remind everyone to shop locally this year. The Shop 716 eGift Card program is ongoing and still supportive of these initiatives. There are many benefits to supporting local businesses; for starters, shopping locally helps to keep money in our community. When you spend your money at a local business, that money is more likely to stay in the community and be reinvested locally. This creates a ripple effect that can benefit everyone in the community. Additionally, local businesses often offer unique products and services you can't find at chain stores. By shopping locally, you're supporting the creativity and innovation of your fellow community members. Visit Shop 716’s program here.

One last bit of Chamber news for our members: we are currently in discussions about upgrading our office space. With updated technology and the expansion of our conference room, we will have the ability to host even more events at our office while providing our members with optimal services. As a result, our team may need to work remotely for a few weeks, but I will be sure to keep everyone posted. As always, if you have any questions or concerns, my door is always open.

Scroll To Top