One of Erie's Chamber members is ready to take on a new role. Barbara Chaffee spends her career making changes not only in Erie, but across the country. Today she says she's ready to take on a new role.
Barbara Chaffee, Chamber President, says, "I know it may seem odd that I went from tourism to terrorism, but what it was was that whole public liaison piece."
It's that wide skill set and ambitious attitude that lands Barbara Chaffee careers in Harrisburg, the White House, and then back home in Erie. And, after seven years serving as the Erie Regional Chamber and Growth Partnership President and CEO, she's stepping down.
Mayor Joe Sinnott says her accomplishments are leaving a lasting impression on the area. "I think her work with the chamber was transformational and I think that work, the fruits of that work will have an impact for years to come."
Chaffee says she accredits her local legacy to taking good ideas and bringing them to life in the community. "I've had some wonderful, blessed challenges and opportunities and the good news is I've learned a lot every single position I've been in."
One challenge, though, seemingly above the rest... "It was a great privilege to work in the White House at a time when the country was in despair over what happened." She served under President Bush in the Department of Homeland Security following 9/11. Her dedication to the country gets her to Washington, but her loyalty to Erie brings her back years later. "I have a passion for this place so it was very excited to be able to have the opportunity to come home."
While she is leaving the chamber, Chaffee says she is not done working. She'll be taking a short break and then plans to take on other roles in the community. Her last day is October 31st, and right now, there's no word on her replacement.
Chaffee isn't the only person leaving the chamber. The Growth Partnership Vice President, Benjamin Pratt, announces he's taking a new opportunity, too. He'll be the Economic Development Manager for the town of Erie... Colorado.
Pratt tells us, "My wife and I have been really looking for an opportunity to take a next step in our careers and when that opportunity presented itself, we thought it must be fate, we should probably just make sure to apply to it."
Pratt says he's had a great experience working with the chamber and is excited about this new chapter.
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