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Grooming a Generation of New Community Leaders

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I look around and see how much has changed in the past ten years and can’t help but notice that does not hold true for our leadership in Putnam County.  Year after year it seems the same people are running for office on both a Town, County and State level. I believe one way to get new people involved is to groom young business leaders into community leaders.


The 2010 census reported that  13 percent of the population in Putnam County is over the age of 65 and 23 percent of the population is under 18, while the New York State average was 13.7 percent of a population over 65 and 22 percent of the population under the age of 18.  Clearly there is a shift towards the younger generation in the workplace.  Its having an impact on chambers of commerce too – G. Daniel Hearn, President/CEO of the Catawba County, NC Chamber and Chairman of the US Chamber’s Institute for Organization Management, recently told a nationwide audience that in his 40 years of service he’s never seen a demographic so radically different than its predecessors.  Our youngest business owners expect clearly defined benefits and demonstrated value from the people they buy from, and that includes the chamber of commerce which represents their needs.  Therefore we as leaders need to adapt our strategies to reflect the needs and priorities of our up-and-coming entrepreneurs.


There are so many young professionals who are doing their part to make Putnam County a great place to work, live and raise a family that they deserve to be recognized.  The Putnam County Chambers of Commerce is initiating the “40 Under 40 Trailblazer Award” to celebrate our young people.  Applications along with nomination rules and information are available on the Chamber website,, and must be received by November 16, 2012.  The awards themselves will be presented at Villa Barone on January 25, so get involved, and celebrate the youth movement in Putnam County business!


-Jennifer Maher,

Chairwoman, the Putnam County Chambers of Commerce

Business Strategist Keller Williams NY Realty