Sarah Effertz

Sarah Effertz, owner of Blu Elefante events, has a passion for creating unforgettable moments that bring people together to celebrate the things that are important to you! With over 15 years of event planning and marketing experience, Sarah has helped create powerful and profitable fundraisers for community partners, helped companies celebrate key milestones with cocktail receptions and golf tournaments, gathered like-minded individuals for intimate dinner parties, blown the roof off of venues for concerts and music festivals, and glammed up the runway with striking fashion shows. With Blu Elefante, she has also helped families and friends come together to celebrate some of life’s greatest moments! What makes Blu Elefante stand out is Sarah’s passion and creativity, her love for people, and seeing the magic that happens when all your moving parts come together to give you and your guests an amazing experience that you won’t soon forget!

Sarah is a dynamic professional with a bachelor’s in business administration, with a focus on marketing and finance, along with a master’s degree in project management. Her home base is Clarks Summit, Pennsylvania, and services the greater NEPA region, including Allentown to Philadelphia, and also New Jersey and New York. Her history of service includes: past board of directors for Dress For Success Lackawanna, past regional director for the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, and past school board member for Summit Christian Academy. She currently serves as a board member for Here 4 A Reason, a worship team vocalist at The Grove Church in Scranton, and as a wife and mother to three wonderful children.

Peter Danchak


Peter J. Danchak is the regional president of the Northeast PA region of PNC Bank.

Danchak joined PNC Bank in 1984 and has held various positions of responsibility in Corporate Banking.  He was named Regional President of the Northeast PA Market of PNC Bank in January 2001.

Active in the community, Danchak currently serves as Chairman of the Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine 2020/2021 Annual Golf Classic and as Co-Chair of the Scranton Plan. He serves on the Board of Directors of AllOne Health Foundation, the Highmark Regional Advisory Board and the Greater Wilkes-Barre Chamber of Business & Industry.  In October of 2020 was appointed to the Early Learning Investment Commission Emeritus Advisory Council.

Danchak served as Chairman of the 2019 and 2018 Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine Annual Golf Classics and The United Way of Lackawanna and Wayne Counties Annual Campaigns in 2013/2014 and 2002/2003. He also Co-Chaired the Northeastern Pennsylvania Boy Scouts of America 2019 and 2018 Annual Dinners and The Pennsylvania Early Learning Investment Commission from his appointment in 2008 through 2018. 

He also previously served as a member of the Board of Directors of the ARC of Northeastern Pennsylvania Foundation,  Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania, the Luzerne Foundation, the Northeast Regional Cancer Institute, the F.M. Kirby Center for the Performing Arts, King’s College, Keystone College, Johnson College, Junior Achievement of Northeastern Pennsylvania, the Pennsylvania Bankers Association, the Greater Pittston Chamber of Commerce, the Greater Scranton Chamber Board of Commerce and Scranton Lackawanna Industrial Building Company.  He served on the Board of Trustees of Marywood University, Scranton Preparatory School and the University of Scranton Kania School of Management. He also served on the President’s Advisory Council for Keystone College. 

Danchak received a Bachelor of Science degree in accounting from the University of Scranton and was awarded an honorary degree from them in 2018.

ATHENA Award Eligibility

  • Nominee must provide valuable service to improve the quality of life for others in the community.
  • Nominee must demonstrate excellence, creativity and initiative in her business or profession.
  • Nominee must demonstrate an ongoing advancement or progressive job growth in her career including significant leadership accomplishments and milestones along the way.
  • Nominee must possess a minimum of 10 years of professional business experience.
  • Nominee must actively assist women in achieving their full leadership potential.
  • Previous Athena Award recipients are not eligible for nomination.
  • The Greater Scranton Chamber of Commerce staff are not eligible for nomination.
  • The Greater Scranton Chamber of Commerce board members are not eligible for nomination.
  • Athena committee members are not eligible for nomination.
  • Athena committee members may not score an application that they submit for nomination.
  • Nominees must own or be an employee of a business that is a member in good standing of The Greater Scranton Chamber of Commerce.
  • Nominations must be received no later than January 20, 2022 at 4 p.m. Incomplete nominations will not be reviewed.
Selection Process:
  • Nominations will be live on on January 2, 2022.
  • Nominations must be received by January 20, 2022 at 4 p.m.
  • The Athena Award committee will review all nominations and score independently.
  • The Athena Award winner will be announced by February 11, 2022.
  • The Athena Award will be presented at the International Women’s Day Celebration on March 8, 2023.

James Bognet

Jim Bognet is a conservative Republican preparing to run for Congress in PA-8 against impeachment enabler Matt Cartwright, the Democratic incumbent. Jim believes Cartwright has abandoned his constituents by joining the liberal witch hunt and voting to impeach President Trump. Jim held a senior appointment in the Trump Administration in Washington, D.C. and resigned his position to move home to Hazleton, PA to lead the fight in the 8th congressional district against the Democrat’s fatally flawed impeachment crusade and Matt Cartwright’s political war against President Trump.

Jim Bognet was born and raised in Hazleton, Pennsylvania. Jim grew up in a big Italian-Irish family, surrounded by dozens of uncles, aunts, and cousins in a tight-knit community at Most Precious Blood Catholic Church, where he was an altar boy. Jim’s dad is a small business owner, a mechanical contractor building schools and doing plumbing and heating projects for factories and commercial buildings across northeastern Pennsylvania. Working construction with his dad taught Jim how to dig a ditch, knock down a wall, and the value of hard work and saving money. Jim’s mom is a high school teacher who taught him the value of education, discipline, and compassion. Jim is proud to have had one grandfather who was an Italian immigrant, and a grandmother (Army) and grandfather (Navy) who served abroad in World War II in Europe and the Pacific.

Jim played football, basketball, and baseball at Hazleton Area High School before attending Penn State University on an academic scholarship. Jim was awarded a half-tuition scholarship to UCLA, where he earned a law degree and a MBA.
Jim opposes illegal immigration and strongly supports President Trump’s policies to reverse illegal immigration and finish building the Wall. Jim has witnessed the personal tragedy of the opioid epidemic in his family, and believes we must get serious about cracking down on drug kingpins and traffickers with greatly enhanced criminal penalties, increased treatment for addicts, and counseling for their families.

Jim has spent his career fighting for conservative economic policies, to cut taxes,
create jobs and help small businesses. He worked on manufacturing and small business issues in the Trump administration, and believes we must rebuild our industrial heartland. Jim wants good jobs at good wages, to allow people in Northeastern Pennsylvania to thrive. Jim will fight to protect social security, and health care for seniors, families, and people with pre-existing conditions.

Jim interned for Rick Santorum in the U.S. Senate, and worked on Rep. Lou Barletta’s first campaign for Congress. Jim since has worked on Governor and Senate races over 17 years, and as campaign manager for three statewide campaigns and worked for three presidential campaigns. Jim founded his own small business, a firm helping companies and organizations across the country with public affairs and communications issues. Jim believes deeply in education, and contributes to Penn State, UCLA, Shriners’ Hospital for Children, and Operation Smile.

U.S. Representative Matt Cartwright

Matt Cartwright has spent his entire career sticking up for working people, first as a trial attorney and now as the Congressman in Pennsylvania’s Eighth District. He is a fighter for all hardworking northeastern Pennsylvanians, especially when it comes to protecting and expanding access to health care, and growing our local economy.

Matt was named one of the most effective Democrats in Congress for his ability to work across the aisle and get things done. Matt is a strong advocate for better wages and economic security for middle class Americans; job-creating federal investments in northeastern Pennsylvania; high-quality care for our veterans; and protecting our environment for future generations.

Since taking office in 2013, Matt has introduced more legislation supported by both Democrats and Republicans than any other House Democrat. In 2019, the Center for Effective Lawmaking named him one of the most effective members of the U.S. House for his record of advancing real solutions to the biggest issues our nation faces. In the past few years, Matt has gotten bills signed into law by the president that protect low-income veterans from being scammed out of their hard-earned benefits, prevent government officials from using taxpayer dollars on personal expenses, and safeguard the rights of child pornography victims.

Twenty-Three Norris McLaughlin Attorneys Recognized by Best Lawyers®

The law firm Norris McLaughlin, P.A., has announced that nineteen of its attorneys have been selected for inclusion on the list of The Best Lawyers in America© for 2021, including three recognized as Best Lawyers® 2021 “Lawyer of the Year” in Woodbridge. An additional four attorneys were named in the inaugural edition of “Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch.”

“We are very happy for so many of our attorneys to be selected for this honor. It is an acknowledgment of the hard-earned respect of their peers and their dedicated work for our clients,” said John N. Vanarthos, Chairman of the firm.

The following attorneys were recognized in The Best Lawyers in America:

Three of those attorneys listed have been recognized as the Best Lawyers® “Lawyer of the Year” in Woodbridge for 2021: Bauer for Bankruptcy and Creditor Debtor Rights/Insolvency and Reorganization Law, Donovan for Environmental Law, and Drier for Mediation.

In addition, the following four attorneys have been recognized as “Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch:”

Chamber Event Updates

Empower: Women’s Leadership Conference (April 17) – Rescheduled to September 10, Kalahari Resort

All April Chamber events postponed until further notice – Additional details to come soon

SKILLS 2020: Workforce Resource Summit (April 21) – Moving to virtual event, new date coming soon

Build a Better Brand Seminar (March 26) – Postponed until further notice

“The Office” Book Launch YP Mixer  at Scranton Art Haus (March 25) – Postponed until further notice

The Office: A Book Launch at The Marketplace at Steamtown (March 25) – Postponed until further notice

Member Welcome Lunch (March 19) – Postponed until further notice

Business Breakfast Briefing with McNees Wallace & Nurick (March 13) – Postponed until further notice