The Chamber is Gearing Up for EMPOWER, The Leadership Experience

The Greater Scranton Chamber of Commerce is hosting its ninth year of EMPOWER, presented by Geisinger, on Thursday, April 25, at Kalahari Resort & Convention.

EMPOWER is the premier women’s leadership event in northeastern Pennsylvania. It is a day-long conference highlighting the ability all women have to create positive change in their communities and lives while recognizing the extraordinary power that exists when women come together to support each other.

The 2024 conference theme is “purpose.” It will feature dynamic keynote speakers Dr. Lauren Hazzouri and Patrice D. Banks, as well as special appearances from the mayor of Scranton, Paige G. Cognetti, Honorable State Representative Bridget Kosierowski, and the Honorable State Senator Rosemary Brown.

Dr. Hazzouri is a licensed psychologist, speaker, and founder of Hazzouri Psychology, a full-service psychology practice in downtown Scranton. Patrice D. Banks is the founder of Girls Auto Clinic, which provides automotive buying and repair resources, products, and services, and is a platform for Banks to educate and empower women through their cars.

Attendees will engage with 44 regional speakers through invaluable breakout sessions and have access to a wellness studio and a small business marketplace.

Breakout session presenters include: Lori Moran, The University of Scranton; Kathryn Bondi, Posture Interactive; Dr. Andrea DiMattia and Dr. Michelle Schmude, Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine; Bethany Staples and Brittany Watt, Market Share Consulting; Dr. Carrie Demers, PureRejuv Wellness Center at the Himalayan Institute; Jennifer Lutsey, Children’s Service Center; Shane Powers, NeighborWorks of Northeastern PA; Jenna Urban, Urban Mac Media; Dr. Elizabeth Carter, AAPPEAL, LLC; Dr. Katie Desiderio, Moravian University; Olivia Eaddy, Prudential; Kristyn Smith, Tobyhanna Army Depot; Eric Acosta, Wilkes University; Nicole Strauser, Prudential; Shanie Mohamed, the Greater Wyoming Valley Chamber of Commerce; Bella Ceccoli, Scranton Area Community Foundation; Glynis Johns, Black Scranton Project; Kelley Laird, Fidelity Bank; Mandie Hendricks, Janney Montgomery Scott; Dr. Tricia Richards-Service, I Need A Speaker; PA State Senator Rosemary Brown; Marie Beggin, Penn East Federal Credit Union; Chelsey Coslett, NEPIRC; Stephanie Mihal, MMQ & Associates; Dr. Sarah Wodder, Scranton Counseling Center; Jennifer Davis, Sordoni Construction Services, Inc.; Patricia Cummings, Patricia O Cummings Therapy, LLC; Christie Estadt, Body Blueprint PTC; Dr. Barbara Plucknett, The Body Blueprint Demystified; and Brianna Strunk, Pocono Mountains Visitors Bureau.

For a second year, The Honesdale National Bank will sponsor a teen program at EMPOWER. The program is a unique opportunity specifically curated for teen attendees (ages 16-18) designed to enhance personal and professional development. The Teen Program is in partnership with Leadership Lackawanna and Leadership Northeast.

Over 800 attendees will appear at EMPOWER, The Leadership Experience, on April 25. Tickets are available online at

Episode Twelve: All Things Chamber

Momentum Magazine

Check out April’s Momentum Magazine. Now available online.

Upcoming Chamber Events


Episode Eleven: All Things Chamber

Momentum Magazine

Check out April’s Momentum Magazine. Now available online.

Upcoming Chamber Events


Be a Speaker at EMPOWER

Have you enjoyed Empower Women’s Leadership Conference?  Ever want to be on the stage sharing your story, your expertise, motivating others? This is your year and your opportunity! 

EMPOWER Women’s Leadership Conference is now EMPOWER, The Leadership Experience!  EMPOWER will be held on Thursday, April 25, 2024, at Kalahari Resorts, Mount Pocono. We are accepting submissions for “Breakout Room Speakers, Wellness Presenters & Instructors, Panelists and Panel Moderators” through January 12, 2024. The 2024 theme is “PURPOSE” (to be interpreted by Speakers/Presenters in their presentation).

EMPOWER 2024 consists of four (4) Breakout Room tracks:

1.) Professional Development
2.) Personal Development
3.) Leadership Development
4.) Panel Discussions (final topics/titles tbd):

a.) Non-Traditional Industry Leaders
b.) Young Professionals: What To Do or Know
c.) Poise & Public Speaking
d.) Career Building

Breakout Room Speakers must prepare a 45 minute presentation inclusive of Q&A to typically includes a PowerPoint presentation.
Panelists offer their expertise on specific topics managed by the Panel Moderator.

Wellness Studio Presenters/Instructors.  The Wellness Studio runs every 30 minutes. We are currently looking for Presenters/Instructors to offer 20 minute sessions covering “Mind, Body and Spirit”.  This an be a fitness class, mindfulness, meditation, nutrition counseling, etc.

If EMPOWER is for you and you’re ready to get on stage and share your expertise please complete this “Speaker Submission Form” by January 12, 2024 to be considered for EMPOWER.  (No calls or direct emails please.)

We look forward to reviewing your submission and seeing you at EMPOWER, The Leadership Experience!

Marywood University Celebrated EMPOWER Campaign at Launch Event

On Friday, at an outdoor celebratory launch event, Marywood University announced the public phase of its comprehensive campaign, EMPOWER: The Campaign for Marywood. The event, which featured the popular local band, The Chatter, kicked off the campaign as well as Marywood’s Alumni and Family Weekend. Alumni, students and their families, faculty, staff, and members of the greater community attended the announcement and the celebration that followed.

EMPOWER is a multi-year effort to raise $30 million with three priority areas: to create access to education through scholarships for students with financial need, to reimagine campus through the construction, renovation, and renewal of buildings and spaces to support growing programs and next-gen learning, and to enhance the student experience through annual and endowed philanthropic support. To date, Marywood has raised $24 million from alumni, parents, and friends of the University during the quiet phase of the campaign.

During the event, Marywood University President Sister Mary Persico, IHM, Ed.D. introduced the official campaign video, and followed its presentation by stating, “Through the EMPOWER campaign, we are embarking on a journey that transcends the boundaries of our campus. The impact of this campaign will ripple far beyond these walls, reaching into the very heart of our local community and contributing to the development of the region.” She continued, “By empowering our students, by fostering innovation and learning, we are sparking a chain reaction that will uplift our local communities, stimulate economic growth, grow the workforce, and inspire a brighter future for all.”

Campaign co-chairs, Marywood Board of Trustees Chair Lisa Lori, Esq. and Marywood Trustee Robert Tamburro, followed Sister Mary, with Atty. Lori noting, “Marywood’s commitment to education has always been steadfast, empowering students to believe in themselves and serve their communities…Together, we will create, reimagine, and enhance the future of Marywood University.”

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

Melissa Gilbert – EMPOWER Conference Keynote Speaker

The Greater Scranton Chamber of Commerce is excited to announce Melissa Gilbert, Emmy winning, Golden Globe nominated actor, director, producer, and NY Times Best Selling author, as the keynote speaker for the 2023 EMPOWER NEPA Women’s Leadership Conference.

The 2023 EMPOWER NEPA Women’s Leadership Conference will be held on Thursday, April 13 from 8 a.m. to 5:30 Kalahari Resorts and Conventions.

Melissa Gilbert is an Emmy winning, Golden Globe nominated actor, director, producer, and NY Times Best Selling author. As a producer her recent film Guest Artist, written by and starring Jeff Daniels premiered in 2019 at The Santa Barbara International Film Festival.

As an actress Melissa’s career began at the age of 2 appearing in commercials and guest spots. Melissa achieved iconic status by the age of 19 after a 10 year run on the television classic Little House On The Prairie (Golden Globe Nomination). She has starred in over fifty television movies and feature films including The Miracle Worker (Emmy Nomination), The Diary of Anne Frank and Splendor in the Grass. Her television series credits include Little House on the Prairie (Golden Globe Nomination, 2 Young Artist Awards), Sweet Justice, Stand By Your Man and Secrets and Lies for ABC. Her company, Halfpint Productions, produced several films including The Miracle Worker (Emmy Award).

Melissa made her stage debut in 1979 as Helen Keller in “The Miracle Worker”. A member of the legendary Actor’s Studio, Melissa’s other professional theater credits include Laura in Glass Menagerie, Elma Duckworth in Bus Stop, Melissa Gardner in Love Letters, and Rose White, a role she created, in “A Shayna Maidel,” (Outer Critic’s Circle Award and Theater World Award). In 2008 Melissa also created the role of Ma in the Guthrie Theater’s presentation of Little House on the Prairie:The Musical, and toured north America the following year. In 2014 Melissa played M’Lynn in a production of Steel Magnolias at the Totem Pole Playhouse. Melissa’s off Broadway credits include If Only:A Love Story at the Cherry Lane, The Dead 1904 with the Irish Repertory Company and My Brilliant Divorce at the New Ohio Theater. Most recently Melissa starred in the premiere of the critically acclaimed play When Harry Met Rehab at the Greenhouse theater center in Chicago.

As an author Melissa has penned three best-selling books; Prairie Tale: A Memoir (New York Times Best Seller) Daisy and Josephine, a children’s book and My Prairie Cookbook. Her fourth book, Back To the Prairie: A Home Remade, A Life Rediscovered, written for Simon and Schuster’s Gallery Books, was released in May of 2022.

In 1996, Melissa made her television directing debut with the ABC after school special “Me and My Hormones.”

Melissa was president of Screen Actors Guild for two terms 2001-2004. She served on the executive council of the AFL-CIO, The California Film Commission and in 2016 was the democratic nominee for Michigan’s 8th congressional district.

In 2015 Melissa and her husband Timothy Busfield co-starred, co-wrote and co-produced the multi-award winning short film “One Smart Fellow.”

Gilbert was honored with the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce’s Lifetime Achievement Award and when she was twenty-one, received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Melissa is very proud to tell people that her star is just a short walk from her father’s. She is the proud mother/stepmother of six sons and one stepdaughter. She is also grandmother/step-grandmother to her absolutely perfect, brilliant grandchildren, Lulabelle, Ruby, Eli, Vito, Aury, Bowen and Ripley .

Andrea Owen – EMPOWER Conference Keynote

Life Coach,

Presentation: Master Resilience: Excel in Mental Tenacity to Bounce Back Stronger From Problems and Difficulties

Challenges and struggles will always be a part of work and life, and the key to thriving during these times is resilience.

  • Understand clearly that your life challenges are invitations to your best and most tremendous life.
  • Build superior mental stories so that you can quickly see when your inner narratives are holding you back and learn to create more empowering ones.
  • Recognize your values so you’re clear on what’s important about the way you live your life, and have a “map” to help you navigate life’s challenges.

Results: Women will leave this keynote or workshop with renewed enthusiasm for what makes them stronger and wiser, research-driven tools on both how to master their mindset, as well as dependable strategies to help them re-navigate when they get “lost”.


Andrea Owen is an author, global speaker, and professional certified life coach who helps high-achieving women maximize unshakeable confidence, and master resilience.

She has taught hundreds of thousands of women tools and strategies to be able to empower themselves to live their most kick-ass life through speaking, her books, coaching, and her wildly popular podcast with over 3 million downloads.

Andrea is the proud author of How To Stop Feeling Like Shit: 14 Habits That Are Holding You Back From Happiness which has been translated into 18 languages and is available in 22 countries, as well as her inaugural book, 52 Ways to Live a Kick-Ass Life: BS Free Wisdom to Ignite Your Inner Badass and Live the Life You Deserve. Her latest book, Make Some Noise: Speak Your Mind and Own Your Strength came out in August 2021.

Andrea is a Certified Professional Co-Active Coach (CPCC) from The Coaches Training Institute, a Professional Certified Coach (PCC) with the International Coaching Federation, a SHE RECOVERS® coach, as well as a Certified Daring Way™ Facilitator; a modality based on the research of Dr. Brené Brown.

Andrea holds a Bachelor of Science from California State University in Kinesiology with a specialty in Health Science. She has been featured on The Huffington Post Live,, NBC, and 

She has facilitated many workshops for girls hosted by Dove’s Campaign for Real Beauty whose efforts inspire and empower women and girls to live confidently and change the world around them.

In addition, Andrea has been sober for close to a decade and is active in the world of recovery.