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Welcome Our New Chamber President

The Windham Region Chamber of Commerce is proud to welcome its new President, Michelle Garabedian.  Michelle has been a member of the Chamber since 2006 and has repeatedly taken on leadership roles including chairman of the Events Committee, Fundraising Committee and most importantly, the Veterans Service Council.  In 2014 she was awarded Chamber Member of the Year and in 2019 Board Member of the Year.  Michelle was elected by her peers in 2022 as the Chairman of the Board of Directors and has led the organization in rebuilding since the pandemic.  She is currently a realtor with Home Selling Team and an active volunteer and leader at the Eastern CT Veterans Community Center.

 

“During the pandemic we were one of the few chambers that were open and operating.  We sent out a newsletter every single day updating local businesses about what was going on, how they should manage the business shut down, how to offer their employees best options and what programs, loans and grants were available to assist them.  We gave every one of our members two years of free membership because we understood how difficult it was for them financially.  We continued to provide them their benefits, work with them on their strategic planning and rebuilding.  It was a very rewarding experience,” said Ms. Garabedian.

 

Ms. Garabedian, a veteran herself, and member of the American Legion, was instrumental in creating the Chamber’s Veterans Service Council in 2010.  She was a supporter of the creation of the Chamber’s Foundation and the subsequent founding of the Eastern CT Veterans Community Center.  Her leadership and volunteerism have brought veteran services to thousands of veterans throughout the state.  She currently chairs the “Honor Our Vets” program which was very busy this past month.  This program cleans the graves of our veterans in the New and Old Willimantic Cemeteries, they place flags on them the week before Memorial Day, remove them the week after, and host a memorial service where they float a memorial wreath down the Willimantic River after a solemn service.  “It is our duty to make sure that all veterans are never forgotten.  We take that responsibility very seriously,” said Ms. Garabedian.

 

Ms. Garabedian takes over as President after the retirement of Diane Nadeau.  “We are fortunate to have had such good leadership both with Diane and our board of directors, especially during the pandemic.  But I am very excited and enthusiastic about working with our new Membership Director, Suzanne Gendron.  She has a lot of marketing experience and Chamber relationships that will greatly benefit our members.  With this tough economy we are focusing on helping our members any way we can.



  That is why our energy efficiency program is so important, it has really helped a lot of businesses.  I am looking forward to working with our members from the 18 towns we cover and helping them grow, and in some cases, still recover from the horrible pandemic.”

 

If you would like to contact Ms. Garabedian you can email her at michelle.garabedian75@gmail.com.

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