Here we go: welcome to 2021, and good riddance to 2020!
Happy New Year from Susan Gould Coviello and Ken Riehl! Susan is the Board President for the Chamber’s 99th year and of course you already know Ken, the Chamber’s CEO. We are so looking forward to working with each other, and most importantly, each of you.
Rounding out our Executive Committee are Tony Sapienza (Blue Shutters Beachside Inn) now the Chairman; 1st Vice President Caitlin Pszenny (Cape Ann Lanes and Laneside Pub) who will preside over the Chamber for its Centenary year in 2022; 2nd Vice President Loran Caputo (Cape Ann Motor Inn) who will serve as President in 2023 as Gloucester celebrates its 400th birthday, Mike Luster (Cape Ann Savings Bank) who remains as our trusted Treasurer; and Matt Anzivino (Rockport Inn & Suites) a proven leader who remains on our Executive Committee as At-Large member. Please see our full 2021 Board, here: insert link
We express our sincere appreciation to Tony Sapienza for his service as our 2020 President during the Chamber’s most challenging and impactful year. Working with Ken, the Chamber Team and the Board, Tony literally spent hundreds of hours last year helping the Chamber refocus our mission and our work on supporting businesses through the pandemic. And of course, completing our historic move to Harbor Loop, featuring beautiful new Visitor and Community Collaboration Centers, and highly functional staff offices. Please come on by if you have not already toured the space – it is yours to enjoy and utilize as a Chamber Member. Tony was a main reason for our finest successful year and is very much still a part of our leadership team.
Susan brings a broad base of Chamber and community involvement to her role as our President. She is the Executive Director of both the North Shore Health Project and Cape Ann Plein Air. Susan has been involved with the Chamber for more than 20 years nearly 30 years, five as the Essex Division Chair, and served on many local community boards and committees including the Essex Select Board and Manchester Essex Regional School Committee. In addition to serving as a member of the Executive Committee, she is an important member of our Government Affairs Council which facilitates economic growth for the region and helps shape the Chamber’s economic positions.
The Chamber’s Imperatives remain unchanged for 2021, with the over-arching focus on supporting our businesses and residents. Our goal is to help everyone emerge from the pandemic well positioned to have a terrific 2021:
- Promote Our Members and the Region: as a membership-based organization, our top priority is to promote our member businesses; we also promote Cape Ann as an incredible place to work, live, and visit.
- Strengthen Our Businesses: we help businesses thrive by advocating for business friendly policies and programs, fostering connections, providing training and education, and offering many benefits including access to health care and our Cape Ann Gift Checks.
- Support Our Community: we support the economic, educational, and cultural growth of Cape Ann by leading critical community priorities
These Imperatives are much more than simply how we describe the Chamber – together with our Mission and Vision, they guide our member programs, our community initiatives, and our plans for the organization going forward.
The Cape Ann License Plate embodies all these imperatives. We see more on the road every day, and the success of the plate helps to promote our region and supports community programs. The Cape Ann Community Foundation manages the license plate proceeds, which, over the past four years have provided more than $50,000 in grants to many Cape Ann non-profits and school projects. We are looking forward to seeing many more of our Cape’s plates on the road, and to awarding additional grants this coming year.
As the pandemic has impacted all aspects of life in our region, so has it impacted our Chamber Team. We are starting 2021 with several new team members, and all are quickly coming up to speed since the opening of our new offices in August. Here is a quick update:
Sara Bowen, Events Director, resides in Rockport and joined us in July. By far, our Chamber does more events than any business organization on the North Shore – and perhaps the Commonwealth. Although 2020 was an exceptional year for events, having to cancel many and re-plan all, we still held many including monthly networking, our Love Cape Ann Fundraising Auction, and celebrating the Holidays. All events were reformatted to run safely during the pandemic, and most were moved online including the auction. Sara quickly jumped in and successfully led these events working closely with the Chamber Team and community groups. Sara also serves as staff representative on our Businesswomen’s Committee.
Charlene Delaney, Visitor Services and Cape Ann License Plate Support, a Glosta Gal, has been with us for four years, helping with our front desk operations, assisting visitors, and promoting the Cape Ann License Plate. Charlene is terrific with visitors and her love for and knowledge of the region make her an invaluable part of the team.
Dylan Fowler, Office Administrator, another Glostarian, joined the team in August and is already fully ensconsed in our new COVID-safe operations, sitting at our front desk behind plexi-glass. Dylan manages our still often-frenzied office, greeting members and visitors, while simultaneously answering multiple phone lines – and he still finds time to support the team as needed.
Vince Mainetti, leads marketing & promotions and joined the team in March. Vince produces all the Chamber’s promotions materials, email updates, and newsletter, and manages our multiple websites and social media accounts – no small feat!
Olivia Perez-O’Dess, Member Services Director, recently moved to the “boulevard” and celebrated her one-year anniversary this past year. Her responsibility is to look after YOU, our members, to ensure that your business is best represented by the Chamber and to be available to help you in-person to answer any questions or discuss any comments that you may have. Olivia is fully engaged, leading our Ambassadors Committee and reaching out to all members regularly, over email with updates like “Did You Know?”, by phone and in person. If you have not met Olivia, please call her right now and say hello — let her know if there is anything that we can do to support your business.
Ken Riehl, CEO, resides adjacent to the Great Marsh in our smallest Cape Ann community, Essex. He is entering into year eight with this amazing organization, and he could not be more honored and pleased to work with you all towards the continuous betterment of this amazing region. He also sits on the Boards of the Cape Ann Community Foundation and Cape Ann Plein Air, on the Gloucester Re-opening Task Force, is a member of the Gloucester Tourism Commission, and a Rotarian. Ken is the Chamber’s staff representative on our Government Affairs Council and Contractors Committee.
Debbie Walter, Finance Lead, is a Rockporter, and heads into her seventh year with the Chamber. The greatest testament to Debbie’s work is that Ken does not have to think about the finances — Debbie just gets them done! She also leads the finances for the Cape Ann Community Foundation.
Peter Webber, Sr. VP, also hails from Rockport, and he is celebrating his 16th (that’s right 16th!) year with the Chamber this coming year. He remains our senior statesman, Rockport lead, Government Affairs liaison, sits on the Board of Discover Gloucester, is on Rockport’s Re-opening Task Force, is a Trustee for the Essex National Heritage Area, is a Rotarian…and serves as staff representative on our Tourism Council. If that’s not enough, Peter is the rock in our often-frenzied office environment, and his knowledge and love of the region, the business community and our residents make his services invaluable.
2020 was an incredibly challenging year for us all, and we look forward to emerging into 2021 Cape Ann Strong. From our new offices on Harbor Loop, we and the entire Board and Chamber Team look forward to working with you, as we roll up our sleeves to make 2021 a landmark year of recovery for our businesses, our community, and the region as a whole.