Chamber of Commerce of Eastern CT Annual Meeting Shares Member Stories and Honors Essential Worker Heroes
The Chamber held its annual meeting on March 30 in a format typical of 2020, but unlike any other year in its 111-year history. The meeting convened online to elect Chamber Board of Directors and Ambassadors, but the focus was on members and their employees to mirror the Chamber’s 2020 approach.
Stephen Coan, Board Chair and President and CEO of the Sea Research Foundation which operates Mystic Aquarium, will continue his service through 2021. Dr. Coan remarked on the Chamber’s resilience through the pandemic, where other chambers did not survive.
“It’s tremendously difficult for businesses to support a Chamber when they are under stress, and yet all of you did to keep this chamber going,” said Dr. Coan. “And so the accomplishments we have realized this year together are really, really profound.” As one of the largest chambers in the state, the Chamber and its members are important advocates for the region, said Dr. Coan, and emphasized the value of growing the membership.
Tony Sheridan, Chamber President and CEO, commented, “Our Chamber is recognized state-wide as a dynamic and progressive organization. Our philosophy at the Chamber is simple: We are a service agency; we work for you, the business community.” He cited the consistent, strong leadership of the Board and the adaptable, talented staff as instrumental in the respect the Chamber has earned across the state.
The Chamber ended 2020 with a modest net positive income as reported by Treasurer David Pugliese, Partner at Levine Insurance Group. Necessary cost saving measures were taken as the economic downturn impacted members and events were suspended under COVID restrictions.
The Chamber was pleased to welcome four new Regional Benefactors in 2020: Genesys Diagnostics, Equinor, The Simon Konover Company, and Vineyard Wind. These corporations contribute beyond their membership dues to support affordable programming for small businesses and nonprofits. Benefactor support was more important than ever in 2020.
Essential Worker Hero Awards
The Chamber dedicated the meeting to recognizing the contributions of essential workers, businesses, and organizations during the pandemic. Three Essential Worker Heroes, nominated by Chamber members, were honored for their exemplary work. Sponsored by Pfizer and the Pfizer Foundation, the awards honored these local heroes:
- John Stafford, Property Custodian, Reliance Health
- Charles Steinhart V, Chief, North Stonington Volunteer Fire Company
- Alison Watrous, Director of Nursing, Elmbrook Village.
Honorees received a certificate of appreciation, a gift card of their choice for a Chamber member restaurant, and an overnight stay with meals generously donated by Foxwoods Resort Casino.
Member Stories Highlighted in Video
A video produced by Innovast Digital Marketing featured Chamber members sharing their 2020 experiences:
- Cassandra Meyer-Ogren, Denison Pequotsepos Nature Center
- Kelsy April, Bank Square Books and Title IX
- Matt Morrissey, Ørsted
- Angelina Gardner, Uncle D’s Blazin’ BBQ, Home of Comfort Catering
- Jim Bellano, Town of Windham
- Gary Baker, The Spa at Norwich Inn.
Our thanks to The Spa at Norwich Inn for hosting us. View the video here.
The Chamber of Commerce of Eastern Connecticut elected its slate of officers and welcomed new members to the Board of Directors.
The full list of officers and directors follows:
Chair: Stephen Coan, Mystic Aquarium
Vice Chair: Mary Ellen Jukoski, Three Rivers Community College
Vice Chair: Paul Nugent, Pfizer, Inc.
Treasurer: Jennifer Granger, United Community & Family Services
Secretary: Heather Cini Roberts, The Diamond Team at Norcom Mortgage
Legal Counsel: Jeffrey Godley, Brown Jacobsen, P.C.
President: Tony Sheridan, Chamber of Commerce of Eastern Connecticut
John Antonino, Antonino Auto Group
Tai Au, Pink Basil, The Spice Club, Thai Sawasdee, Samurai Noodle Bar & Grill
Charles Bunnell, The Mohegan Tribe
Eric Callahan, Suisman Shapiro Attorneys at Law*
Katherine Ericson, LEARN*
Patrick Green, Lawrence + Memorial Hospital/Yale New Haven Health*
Anthony Joyce, Chelsea Groton Bank*
Anna Lathrop, Gourmet Galley Catering*
Dave Meisinger, Connecticut Municipal Electric Energy Cooperative*
Stan Mickus, Cross Sound Ferry
Seema Mukherjee, Kumon
Liz Power, General Dynamics Electric Boat
Matthew Sabilia, Young Professionals of Eastern Connecticut
Jean Swift, Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation
Norton Wheeler, Mystic River Building Company