EMPOWER, The Leadership Experience: Inspiring Leaders and Cultivating Potential

EMPOWER, The Leadership Experience, presented by Geisinger and hosted by The Greater Scranton Chamber of Commerce, left attendees feeling motivated, challenged, and deeply engaged in soul-searching conversations. With over 800 attendees, including 61 enthusiastic high school students, the event was a testament to the region’s commitment to cultivating leadership and business innovation. Attendees found the experience to be resourceful, tapping into a wealth of knowledge and expertise from the event’s two keynote speakers and 46 regional breakout speakers, panelists, and wellness presenters.

For the second consecutive year, The Honesdale National Bank sponsored the teen program, providing high school students with a unique opportunity to embark on a journey of self-discovery and empowerment. Through a series of workshops and interactive sessions, these young leaders were equipped with the skills and motivation to uncover their purpose and drive positive change in their communities. The Teen Program was in partnership with The Chamber’s leadership development affiliate, Leadership Lackawanna, and Luzerne County’s leadership cohort, Leadership Northeast.

President of The Chamber, Bob Durkin, shares, “The growth of  EMPOWER with over 800 attendees is, I believe, a measure of the emergence of women in leadership positions across northeastern Pennsylvania. We hope and believe that this program is providing women with professional and personal development tools and resources that will add to that trajectory.”

Keynote speakers Dr. Lauren Hazzouri and Patrice D. Banks, renowned for their expertise in leadership and personal development, shared their insights and experiences, leaving a lasting impression on attendees.

“You are going to fail. PERIOD. You are human, and it’s just going to happen. However, it’s what you do with that failure to move forward to continue with your purpose,” shared Patrice D. Banks, founder of Girls Auto Clinic.

Dr. Hazzouri and Banks, through their captivating stories and practical advice, empowered participants to embrace change, overcome obstacles, and unlock their purpose. Attendees at the breakfast keynote session were asked to name one word that defines their purpose. The three most common phrases reported were happiness, helping others, and families. The challenge to all attendees was to run hard after their purpose and allow their purpose to fuel their life ambitions.

The event’s lineup of regional breakout speakers and panelists covered a diverse range of topics. Attendees found these sessions to be invaluable, offering actionable takeaways, and fresh perspectives on leadership in today’s dynamic world.

The conference included the Highmark Wellness Studio, which hosted 10 wellness presenters, and the Fidelity Vendor Marketplace, which housed 37 Chamber members and their businesses.  

As EMPOWER continues to evolve, organizers remain committed to providing a platform for leaders at all stages of their journey to connect, learn, and grow together. With each passing year, the event serves as a catalyst for positive change, empowering individuals and organizations to make a lasting impact on the world around them.

Northeast PA, save the date for April 24, 2025, at Kalahari Resort & Conventions.

Chamber Goes “All In” on AI at the 155th Annual Dinner

The Greater Scranton Chamber of Commerce held its 155th Annual Dinner, presented by PNC Bank, on Wednesday, March 27, at the Scranton Cultural Center in downtown Scranton. Over 450 people attended, including Lackawanna County Commissioners Bill Gaughan and Matt McGloin. Shawn Kanungo, a disruption strategist, bestselling author, and former innovation expert for Deloitte, was the keynote speaker.

The event included a networking dinner followed by the Chamber program where board chair, Attorney Jerry Musheno offered remarks and had a little fun with generative AI. The Chamber, along with the help of member Posture Interactive, developed AI photos and videos for the night’s entertainment. Members submitted prompts that generated photos.

The Chamber’s President, Bob Durkin, stated, “The Chamber is blessed to have such strong support from our regional business community. The Annual Dinner is an occasion to salute all of our members and celebrate the efforts of our literally hundreds of volunteer leaders over this past year.”

Pete Danchak, northeast PA regional president of PNC Bank, offered remarks and introduced Shawn Kanungo, the keynote speaker. Kanungo is a world-renowned generative AI expert who gave an inspiring keynote on AI’s power in businesses.

Kanungo delivered a riveting challenge to the audience on AI and its power of influence on the world. AI can be a useful tool to help advance small businesses that don’t have the manpower but use the tool wrong, and the intent of AI can have a negative impact. Kanungo’s work with corporations has shaped their trajectory as they harness AI’s power to advance operations and lay a foundation of mining through data, creating social campaigns, and more. His presentation gave Chamber members a perspective on AI for their businesses and paved a path for future discussions.

The incoming board chair, Attorney Marianne Gilmartin, concluded the evening with remarks and looked to the upcoming 2024–25 program year. The Chamber’s success stems from its members and their growing businesses.