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EASTHAMPTON — The Chamber of Greater Easthampton announced that its new entrepreneurial initiative, WorkHub on Union, received a significant boost with a recent award: a $50,000 Collaborative Workspace Program Fit-Out Grant.

This is the second grant the chamber has received for this project from the Executive Office of Economic Development, MassDevelopment, and the Collaborative Workspace Grant Program. This latest grant is an addition to the $100,000 in state funding, bringing the total of local and state funds raised to date to $230,000.

“At the chamber, we believe that collaborative workspaces like WorkHub on Union are pivotal in driving our local economy forward,” the chamber stated. “This initiative not only aims to provide a vibrant space for entrepreneurs, remote workers, and small businesses, but also aligns perfectly with our core mission of stimulating economic growth in the Greater Easthampton area.

Daily News

EASTHAMPTON — “The Future of Work/Humanification in the Age of AI” will be the topic of the Chamber of Greater Easthampton’s ignite 2023 professional-development conference on Wednesday and Thursday, Nov. 15-16 at Abandoned Building Brewery, 142 Pleasant St., Easthampton.

The two-day conference is designed to empower leaders, business owners, professionals, entrepreneurs, employers, and employees with the knowledge and skills required to thrive in the ever-evolving landscape of work. The conference will emphasis the latest trends and best practices in artificial intelligence (AI) and explore the intersection of AI and the human workforce.

“Technology is continuing to redefine the workplace,” said Moe Belliveau, the chamber’s executive director, “so it is important for the business community to explore how we can collaborate with technology while not losing the core value of humanity in the workplace.”

Over the course of the two days, ignite 2023 attendees will better understand how AI is reshaping industries; discover ways to utilize AI integration to propel sales; learn new approaches to boosting employee satisfaction, engagement, and retention using AI; explore cutting-edge communications tools, techniques, and insights into customer behavior; and identify actionable strategies and tactics for implementation.

“The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the adoption of AI,” Belliveau said. “Businesses need to understand how to adopt this new technology to compete in the global economy and how to create a culture where employees not only embrace change, but thrive on it.”

The ignite 2023 conference will run from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day and will include speakers, interactive workshops, group problem-solving activities, and relationship-building opportunities. Keynote speakers include Lynn Turner, business coach, facilitator, people analyst, and head of Core XP Solutions; Tiffany Espinosa, principal of Teal Executives, an executive-coaching and business-strategy consulting group, as well as executive director of the Professional and Graduate Education division at Mount Holyoke College; and Chris Spafford, founder of Frabul LLC and sales infrastructure development expert.

Registration for the ignite 2023 conference costs $179 for chamber members and $199 for non-member, and includes all conference materials as well as lunch both days. Pre-registration is required, and the deadline for registration is Wednesday, Nov. 8. For more details about the conference and to register, visit www.easthampton.org.

Daily News

EASTHAMPTON — The Chamber of Greater Easthampton and the Blackstone Valley Chamber of Commerce announced a partnership to bring the Easthampton Chamber’s successful Ignite professional-development conference to the Blackstone Valley Chamber of Commerce. Ignite Blackstone Valley will take place Tuesday and Wednesday, April 4-5 at Community Harvest Project, 37 Wheeler Road, North Grafton.

The conference is aimed at professionals who want to improve their emotional intelligence and learn how to interact with co-workers, customers, or donors more effectively. Through the power of storytelling, attendees will learn how to hone their decision-making skills and improve their chances of success in business.

The two-day conference will include keynote speeches from industry leaders, interactive workshops, and network-building opportunities. Attendees will gain insights into the latest trends and best practices in emotional intelligence, leadership, and communication.

“Emotional intelligence is a vital skill for any professional looking to succeed in the modern workplace,” said Moe Belliveau, executive director of the Chamber of Greater Easthampton. “We are thrilled to partner with Blackstone Valley Chamber of Commerce to bring our conference to their members and to the wider business community. Attendees will leave the conference equipped with practical tools and strategies that they can implement immediately to improve and drive business success.”

Jeannie Hebert, president and CEO of the Blackstone Valley Chamber of Commerce, added that “we are excited to partner with the Chamber of Greater Easthampton for this conference. We believe that storytelling is a powerful tool for building and developing leadership skills. We look forward to sharing our expertise and insights with the attendees and helping them achieve their professional goals.”

Click here to purchase tickets for Ignite Blackstone Valley.

Daily News

EASTHAMPTON — The Chamber of Greater Easthampton held its annual board retreat to discuss the organization’s vision, mission, and goals for the upcoming year. The retreat focused on the chamber’s commitment to supporting local businesses, advocating for economic growth, providing educational resources, fostering connections, and promoting leadership and innovation in the community.

“Amid constant change, the chamber remains steadfast in its commitment to helping businesses succeed,” said Laurie Lamoureux, president of the chamber’s board of directors. “Our board retreat allowed us to reflect on our achievements and plan for the future to ensure that we continue to serve our members and community effectively.”

The retreat included exercises and presentations on key topics such as advocacy for small businesses, educational opportunities for entrepreneurs, fostering connections between businesses, and developing leadership skills. Participants discussed strategies for promoting innovation and adapting to new challenges in the business world.

“The chamber’s focus on innovation and vision is particularly critical in today’s rapidly changing economy,” said Moe Belliveau, executive director. “We must continue to find new ways to support our members and help them stay ahead of the curve.”

Women in Businesss

Putting the Focus on Leadership


It’s called the CliftonStrengths Assessment.

And that name pretty much says what it is. Created by Gallup, it’s a 177-question assessment designed to identify an individual’s strengths when it comes to leadership.

There are 34 such strengths, as identified after years of research by Don Clifton, and they include everything from communication and consistency to focus and positivity, said Colleen DelVecchio, founder of Colleen DelVecchio Consulting.

But identifying strengths is merely the first important step in the process toward becoming a better, more effective leader, said DelVecchio, who will lead an experiential workshop called “Activating Your Leadership Strengths” at the upcoming sheLEADS women’s conference being staged by the Chamber of Greater Easthampton.

Indeed, one’s strengths need to be … well, activated, she said, adding that her program, which she delivers several times a week on average to a wide range of audiences, is designed to help individuals put strengths identified by the assessment to full and effective use.

“Our focus is on providing attendees tools and connections that they didn’t have when they walked in.”

“We’ll look at these strengths and talk about how to aim them at your job; how do you aim your strengths at the things you need to do to become a leader?” she said, adding that attendees should leave the room with a clearer understanding of their five greatest strengths when it comes to leadership and, more importantly, how to apply them.

DelVecchio’s program is one of several components scheduled for sheLEADS, the rebranded professional-development conference launched by the Easthampton Chamber and then sidelined, as so many similar initiatives have been, by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The half-day conference, with the theme “Bold, Brave, and Beyond,” will also include a panel discussion, titled “The Language of Leadership,” featuring Pia Kumar, chief strategy officer for Universal Plastics in Holyoke; Lynnette Watkins, president and CEO of Cooley Dickinson Hospital in Northampton; and Waleska Lugo-DeJesus, CEO of Inclusive Strategies.

It will also include a keynote address, called “Be Great Where Your Feet Are,” from Robyn Glaser, senior vice president of Business Affairs for the Kraft Group (owner of the New England Patriots), made possible by the event’s speaker sponsor, bankESB.

The sheLEADS conference is slated for Friday, May 20 from noon to 5 p.m. at the Bolyston Room in the Keystone Building, 122 Pleasant St., Easthampton. For tickets and details, visit www.easthamptonchamber.org/events.

Moe Belliveau, executive director of the Easthampton Chamber, said the women’s professional-development conference has become an important annual event, attended by women in virtually every sector of the economy. Over the past few years, it has been a virtual event, but the chamber decided that, with COVID subsiding and the number of cases declining, it was time to return to an in-person format.

The chamber is, in many ways, easing its way back in with the conference, opting for a half-day format, rather than full day, followed by networking at Abandoned Building Brewery. Roughly 100 attendees are expected, and they are being spaced out in a nod toward safety during the pandemic. There is also a virtual component to the conference, featuring the keynote address and panel discussion.

Like DelVecchio, Belliveau said the conference is designed for women looking to find their voice when it comes to leadership and learn from others how to be a more effective leader — in the workplace, but also in the community.

“This is a high-energy day filled with professional development, relationship- and leadership-building opportunities,” Belliveau said. “Our focus is on providing attendees tools and connections that they didn’t have when they walked in.”