Chamber highlights participation at annual meeting

By Steve Smith - Staff Writer
Glastonbury - posted Fri., Feb. 1, 2013
(L-r) State Sen. Steve Cassano, Glastonbury Chamber of Commerce Businessperson and Ambassador of the Year Carolyne Gatesy, Chamber President Mary Ellen Dombrowsky and Chamber Board Chairman Michael Keenan at the Chamber's annual meeting at the Riverfront Community Center on Jan. 30. Photos by Steve Smith.
(L-r) State Sen. Steve Cassano, Glastonbury Chamber of Commerce Businessperson and Ambassador of the Year Carolyne Gatesy, Chamber President Mary Ellen Dombrowsky and Chamber Board Chairman Michael Keenan at the Chamber's annual meeting at the Riverfront Community Center on Jan. 30. Photos by Steve Smith.

At the 111th annual meeting of the Glastonbury Chamber of Commerce on Jan. 30, the theme was about how the Chamber gives back what each member gives to it. Chamber Chairman of the Board of Directors Michael Keenan compared Chamber membership to that of joining a gym.

“A lot of people will join a gym and their expectation is that as soon as they sign up and pay their check, they will immediately start losing weight or gaining muscle,” Keenan said. “You're not actually paying the gym to go to the gym for you and do the workouts for you. What you are paying for is access to lots of resources and lots of tools that you wouldn't have access to otherwise. There's actually an important 'step two,' which is to actually go to the gym, do the workouts, and do them over a long period of time. That's sort of how a Chamber works. We give you access to a lot of great networking opportunities.”

Chamber President Mary Ellen Dombrowski said there was a small net decrease in membership in the past year, but the Chamber itself is healthy financially. The Chamber also held more than 100 meetings, programs and workshops in 2012.

“There's something in the morning or evening - just about any time you want to meet, if you are interested in getting involved in the Chamber,” Dombrowski said.

Carolyne Gatesy was named the Chamber's Business Person of the Year, and learned at the meeting that she is also the Chamber's Ambassador of the Year for 2012. Based on a points system, Gatesy earned 988 points, compared to the average of 335 points.

“Wow, this is so awesome,” Gatesy said. “Double whammy - I get both awards on the same night. This is a major culmination of my career.” Gatesy is the owner of Main Street Office for the past two decades, and is the owner/president of Bear Mountain Press. She is the Chamber's only three-time recipient of the Ambassador of the Year award.

Gatesy thanked the Chamber and the past winners (who vote on the Business Person of the Year award) as well as her staff. “You can't win an award like this, and be in business for 20 years, without having remarkable employees,” she said. She also shared traits that have molded her life and helped her be successful in the business world, including hard work, working smart, a sense of humor and being a good person.

“I think it's just so important that we do what we can [for others],” she said. “I'd like to suggest that with a little positive gesture, you can always brighten someone else's day. I challenge everyone to do something good for someone - it really pays forward.”

State Sen. Steve Cassano (D-4) presented Gatesy with two resolutions - one from the legislature and one from Gov. Dannel Malloy - and praised Gatesy for her good advice about working both hard and smart.

“She's obviously a community leader. She's a bright businessperson and an athlete. She seems to have her hands in everything you can be a part of,” Cassano said, “and that's got to be the most exciting thing in the world.”


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