EMPOWER 2023 YouTube Playlist

Watch all EMPOWER 2023 keynote, breakout, and panel sessions on The Chamber’s YouTube channel. Click on the button below to view all videos.

8 Years of EMPOWERING Women Regionally

Scranton, PA—The Greater Scranton Chamber of Commerce recently hosted its eighth annual EMPOWER NEPA Women’s Leadership Conference on Thursday, April 13, at Kalahari Resorts and Conventions. A full-day conference, EMPOWER featured nationally recognized keynote speakers, Melissa Gilbert and Robyn Hatcher and 32 regional breakout session speakers. Over 800 attendees participated in the conference.   

Robyn Hatcher, international speaker and communications professional, said in her breakfast keynote, “Fake it till you make it; I hate that phrase; instead, you should Own it While You Hone it.” Hatcher continues, “We were all born with the gifts, the talents, the abilities to make that powerful impact; we just need to own your values.”

Themed “Fearless Together,” EMPOWER is the premier Women’s Leadership Conference in NEPA. It highlights the ability all women have to create positive change in their communities and in their own lives – both professionally and personally – while recognizing the extraordinary power that exists when women come together to support each other.

Presenting Sponsor, Dr. Julie Byerley from Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine

EMPOWER’s lunch keynote speaker, Melissa Gilbert, known for her iconic role in the classic TV series, “Little House on the Prairie,” shared, “I was very excited to hear about [the conference], and to speak [.] Whatever I can do to empower young and older women. My primary focus is bringing awareness to nurturing and empowering women over 50.”

EMPOWER 2023 included a Wellness Studio that allowed conference attendees to attend yoga, Zumba, stretching, and other fitness experiences throughout the day. In addition, there was a Wellness Marketplace and a Vendor Marketplace where attendees could network or engage with vendors who were selling products or services.

The conference concluded with a networking reception.

On the right is Melissa Gilbert, Lunch Keynote Speaker, and on the left is Robyn Hatcher, Breakfast Keynote Speaker

The 32 regional speakers included Kate Sholonski, Guzal Mustafina, Dr. Christine Kiesinger, Elizabeth Keiper, Deborah Kolsovsky, Susan Unvarsky, Jasmine Willois, Laura Ducceschi, Karolyn Demarco, Mandie Hendricks, Kimberlee Greenleaf, Megan Stone, Noelle Krempasky, Holly Pilcavage, Alex Grover, Dr. Damary Bonilla-Rodriguez, Maria Traino, Danielle Weinschenk, Kim Drumgo, Dr. Katie Leonard, Nicole Strauser, Jill Valentini, Susan Kelly, June Webre, Elizabeth Nagy, and Marlyn Kissner. While Wellness Instructors included Chelsea Manganaro, Talia Walsh, Jackie Kerekes, Edna Cementina, Christie Estadt, and Michael Normandia.

Empower 2024 will be held on April 25, 2024.

The featured image is the EMPOWER Lunch Sponsor, PNC Bank, local team: from the left, Jennifer Stull, Joyce Petrenchak, Lauren Allen, Angela Mariotti, Melissa Gilbert, Kathy Dunsmuir, Debbie Kolsovsky, Nicole Costanzo, Elise Hill.

Check out the EMPOWER 2023 Photo Album

Watch EMPOWER 2023 Keynote, Breakout, and Panel Sessions Videos

About The Greater Scranton Chamber of Commerce
The Greater Scranton Chamber of Commerce is a not-for-profit organization that works to improve the area’s economic environment and quality of life by offering programs and services which stimulate economic growth, promote business prosperity and nurture educational opportunities. For more information about the Chamber, visit www.scrantonchamber.com.

The Chamber Hosts International Women’s Day Luncheon

Keynote address offered by Dr. Damary Bonilla-Rodriguez speaks on women’s equity in the workplace. Athena International Award presented to Laura Ducceschi.

Scranton, PA —The Greater Scranton of Chamber of Commerce hosted their International Women’s Day Luncheon, sponsored by The Honesdale National Bank at Marywood University. Keynote speaker Dr. Damary Bonilla-Rodriguez offered a stirring challenge to step up and lead while focusing on the international theme, Embrace Equity. The luncheon included the presentation of the ATHENA Leadership Award, sponsored by Michael A. Barbetti LLC, to Laura Ducceschi, president & CEO of The Scranton Area Community Foundation.

Dr. Bonilla-Rodriguez commented, “Women’s History month is an opportunity to acknowledge the circumstances that women face in the workplace and in terms of achieving a level of economic success, educational attainment, and other opportunities to climb the leadership ladder as it relates to their livelihood.”

“International Women’s Day means so much. The importance of women’s contributions all over the world, to our community right here in Scranton. In terms of the workforce, women play such a key role, and we need to be able to continue supporting women so they can overcome barriers and become what they want to be,” stated Ms. Ducceschi.

The keynote speaker, Dr. Damary M. Bonilla-Rodriguez, a national leading authority on leadership development, especially as it pertains to diversity and inclusion. Dr. Bonilla-Rodriguez delivers keynote addresses from roles in the non-profit, private, and government sectors and her doctoral research. 

The ATHENA Leadership Award, sponsored locally by Michael A. Barbetti LLC Certified Public Accountants, honors an exceptional individual who has achieved excellence in their business or profession, has served the community in a meaningful way, and has assisted women in their attainment of professional goals, and leadership skills. “Laura Ducceschi embodies these characteristics wholeheartedly,” shares Mr. Durkin.

Lackawanna County Offers Small Business Grant

Lackawanna County will be providing a $5,000 grant to small businesses. The funds can be used to pay employees, add staff, buy new equipment, pay normal expenses, and expand businesses.

The purpose of the grants will help businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Eligible businesses must: be already operating with between two and 100 employees; have faced pandemic-related hardship; comply with all applicable federal and state laws; be current in paying federal, state, and local taxes or on a payment plan; and spend all the money in the county. No one convicted of a financial crime in the last five years is eligible. The money may also be used to pay mortgages, rent, utilities, and other operating costs.

Application forms and full instructions are available online at the county’s website, www.LackawannaCounty.org. Look for the Department of Planning and Economic Development on the homepage drop-down menu.

The Combat Inflation Business Grant can be found at this link.

The Chamber Launches 2023 Educator in the Workplace Program

Scranton, PA—Skills in Scranton, The Greater Scranton Chamber of Commerce’s workforce development affiliate organization, welcomed 26 participants to the 2023 Educator in the Workplace Program.

Educator in the Workplace seeks to enhance classroom instruction, student learning, and career readiness for the workplace of today and tomorrow by connecting educators and school board directors with local business and industry leaders.

The 26 educators will participate in at least five one-day virtual and in-person learning sessions.

What are program participants doing?

  • Participating in and exploring career pathways in local businesses and industries
  • Interacting directly with business community leaders, gaining insight into the skills students need to succeed in their future careers
  • Establishing connections to business and industry leaders in Lackawanna County’s leading and emerging industry sectors
  • Learning about local businesses and employment opportunities

“Educator in the Workplace seeks to align and connect business and industry leaders with local school districts, the career and technical center, and the local intermediate unit,” said Amy Luyster, Vice President. “Program participants are provided experiences interacting directly with industry and business leaders to learn about industry trends, needs, and opportunities to enhance their classroom instruction, student learning, and career readiness.

This program is partly funded by the City of Scranton American Rescue Plan (ARPA) Non-Profit Covid Relief Grant and sponsored by Pennsylvania American Water and the Scranton Area Community Foundation.

2023 EMPOWER Teen Scholarship Program

Scranton, PA – The Greater Scranton Chamber of Commerce announces the launch of a scholarship program to promote leadership development. The EMPOWER Teen Scholarship Program is a unique opportunity for teens to attend the Chamber’s EMPOWER NEPA Women’s Leadership Conference, presented by Geisinger. The EMPOWER Teen Scholarship Program is sponsored by The Honesdale National Bank.

The EMPOWER Teen Scholarship program will provide teens with an opportunity to attend the EMPOWER NEPA Women’s Leadership Conference on April 13, 2023. Teens will hear from two keynote speakers that include Emmy award winner: Melissa Gilbert and world-renown communicator: Robyn Hatcher. The lessons and networking opportunities presented to the teens at the EMPOWER Conference will provide unique learning opportunities outside of the traditional classroom. The cost to attend the conference will be covered by the scholarship.

Robert Durkin, President of The Greater Scranton Chamber of Commerce shares, “Including these young students in the exciting environment of the EMPOWER Conference is a great element of this event. Their presence and energy will add to the experience of the adult participants, while the students will see that for successful business professionals learning is a life-long commitment.”

The EMPOWER Teen Scholarship Program will provide 20 scholarships in 2023. The scholarships are open to teens aged 16 to 18 that are currently enrolled in high school and have a grade point average (GPA) that falls between 2.5—3.0. A maximum of two teens per school will be selected.

“The Teen Scholarship Program will provide teens in our community with better visibility to their limitless potential and the gumption to grab the reigns of their future,” said, Elizabeth Nagy, VP, Director of Sales, Marketing, and Digital for The Honesdale National Bank. “The conference’s content, networking resources, and motivational atmosphere will shepherd earlier and necessary acknowledgment of self-worth and capability to drive growth and change.”

To apply for a scholarship, students should visit www.ScrantonChamber.com and look for the EMPOWER conference tab the last day to submit applications is January 31.

This is a competitive selection process and not all applicants can be selected. Completion of the application does not ensure acceptance. Scholarships will be announced in February 2023.

About The Greater Scranton Chamber of Commerce
The Greater Scranton Chamber of Commerce is a not-for-profit organization that works to improve the area’s economic environment and quality of life by offering programs and services which stimulate economic growth, promote business prosperity and nurture educational opportunities. For more information about the Chamber, visit www.scrantonchamber.com.

A $10,000 grant could spark an entrepreneurial dream

Scranton, PA — A business idea in Lackawanna County could lead to $10,000.

The Greater Scranton Chamber of Commerce has announced a new entrepreneurial program called TechCelerator @Lackawanna County: a collaborative effort of Lackawanna County, the Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern PA, TecBRIDGE, and the Chamber. The goal is to inspire entrepreneurs with early-stage, tech-based ideas to start a small business in Lackawanna County. Businesses that complete the program requirements will receive $10,000 in grant funding to offset their start-up costs.

“Lackawanna County is thrilled to help facilitate the funding for entrepreneurs to see their dreams get started right in our county. Individuals who are even considering starting a tech-base business should apply to the TechCelerator @Lackwanna County program. Our goal is to see our community’s base diversify and new businesses be successful from start to finish in their entrepreneurial journey,” shared Jerry Notarianni, Chairman of the County Commissioners.

TechCelerator @LackawannaCounty is a ten-week in-person experience where participants have access to formal mentors, educational opportunities, and access to subject matter experts on topics like business formation strategies, customer discovery, marketing, financial planning, and risk management. The result of the ten weeks is to build, share, and present a business plan for their early-stage companies. The program will be presented in collaboration with the Small Business Development Center, Carbondale Technology Transfer Center, The Penn State Scranton Launchbox, and the Lackawanna College Venture Lab.

“Supporting entrepreneurship is at the core of the Chamber’s mission: to Attract, Sustain and, in this case, Grow in our region. This is a natural extension of our ongoing efforts to assist business start-ups through the IGNITE program, where our regional network of partners is working together to provide the platform for entrepreneurial success,” says Robert Durkin, President of the Greater Scranton Chamber of Commerce

Hoping to ignite the county’s entrepreneurial spirit again, this unique program may very well change the participants’ worlds with $10,000. “One of the hardest parts of starting a business is taking the initial step to do it,” said Brianna Florovito from the Greater Scranton Chamber of Commerce affiliate, IGNITE. She continues, “[…] the TechCelerator program was created to walk entrepreneurs through the steps they need to take to establish their businesses and then provide them with the funding to grow.”

The TechCelerator @LackawannaCounty is a competitive application process. All with ideas or early start-ups are encouraged to submit applications but not all will be selected to participate. To apply, visit the Chamber’s affiliate, IGNITE website at IGNITE.ScrantonChamber.com.

Applications are due by January 16. To apply, visit IGNITE.ScrantonChamber.com and look for TechCelerator @LackawannaCounty.

About The Greater Scranton Chamber of Commerce
The Greater Scranton Chamber of Commerce is a not-for-profit organization that works to improve the area’s economic environment and quality of life by offering programs and services which stimulate economic growth, promote business prosperity and nurture educational opportunities. For more information about the Chamber, visit www.scrantonchamber.com.