Revitalized Chamber Of Commerce Presents Women’s History Program

Victoria Kunz, left, was one of the speakers at the recent Jackson Chamber of Commerce event. Joining her is Lakewood Police Detective Sgt. Jeanette Shimonovich. (Photo courtesy The Jackson Chamber of Commerce)

  JACKSON – The township’s Chamber of Commerce is keeping busy with several projects that are open to the public. One recent event showcased women’s history.

  Anthony Canderozzi, the chamber’s president, shared details with The Jackson Times on the Chamber’s women’s initiative and a recent event they held.

  “About a year ago I asked Board member Samara O’Neill to spearhead a women’s initiative to focus on and support the successful strong women of our community. We had an invite-only event at The Edge Restaurant. About 30 people participated and provided feedback on what they would like to see at future events,” Canderozzi said.

  He said, “it has grown to a four-person committee – Samara O’Neill of Porter Plus Realty, Bernadette Seda of Lakeland Bank, Sarah Cascarina of Creative Financial Group and Tina Clark of Santander Bank. They have just celebrated a successful first event of 2023.”

  “Among the three speakers was historian Victoria Kunz, wife of Jackson Police Chief Matthew Kunz, who discussed women in history and the history of Jackson Township,” Canderozzi added.

  “I am thrilled to have co-chaired this new initiative, EmpowHER Networking Group,” Seda said, noting that her fellow co-chairs are Tina Clark, Samara O’Neill, and Sarah Cascarina.

Sarita Porter enjoys a moment during a recent Jackson Chamber of Commerce event. (Photo courtesy The Jackson Chamber of Commerce)

  Seda added, “we aim to provide a space of support, mentorship, collaboration, and shared experiences. We wanted to give a platform to elevate the female voice, whether leading in their industry or just starting the journey.”

  “In attendance were 55-plus successful professionals. The event’s win is attributed to putting ourselves in the position of our audience. We sought to attract how we wanted to be impacted by the content, and thus our topic was born – celebrating women’s inner and outer wellness,” Seda said.

  “We placed ourselves in the details, the beautiful venue – Mathis House, the food we chose, and the speakers. We utilized our Jackson Chamber online social media and personal pages to promote as well as the deep relationships we have within our Jackson community and beyond,” she added.

  Seda noted the success of the event “is a reflection of our initiative, EmpowHer Networking Group, and the dedication of my fellow co-chairs who, in our own right, are successful women blazing our path within our industries.”

  O’Neill said, “our EmpowHer initiative hit home with so many women the ability to network and build each other up from a place of encouragement and growth is something we all need a little more of. We need to focus on the positive in today’s times. Too many people feel that they need to bring someone down to build themselves up or look away from someone who is struggling or just starting.”

  “That’s not the way. We need to build each other up, cheer for each other, encourage one another and let people know they are not alone and if they are feeling alone, they don’t need to be anymore. I love my fellow co-chairs and the differences and energy that we bring to the table because we all feel it, that collaboration and shared experience from young, seasoned and the like, extends to the professionals that join us,” she added.

Mathis House Proprietor Vicki Weiss enjoys a ride in a very small vehicle during a special event hosted by the Jackson Chamber of Commerce that was also sponsored by Lakeland Bank. (Photo courtesy The Jackson Chamber of Commerce)

  EmpowHer, fueled by the Chamber, plans on hosting quarterly events.  The next is planned sometime in June.

  “We saw a dip in membership during COVID due to COVID protocols and of course a lack of events. With many businesses shifting to work from home models, we tried to identify those workers and invite them to be a part of our business community,” Canderozzi added.

  Canderozzi said the Chamber has been making progress through a number of changes such as partnering with EmpowHer, adding an online renewal and new registration for members, having online registration and payment for events and creating a community calendar “that will support all Jackson events as a one-stop for what’s happening in Jackson.”

  He added that the Chamber has also established a partnership with Jackson TV (JTV) a “hashed out with myself, Samara, and Ethan Noble – the head of JTV. With their help we are building videos for business spotlights, new member intro, and special events.”

A woman plays the piano as part of the entertainment of a recent Jackson Chamber of Commerce event that spotlighted Women’s History month. (Photo courtesy The Jackson Chamber of Commerce)

  “The students are gaining internship-like experience adding to their resume and the Chamber has committed additional scholarship funds available to JTV students,” Canderozzi said..

  Upcoming Chamber events include networking breakfasts that are held at 8 a.m. at Bubbakoo’s on Countyline Road on the fourth Tuesday of each month.

  Their next big event will be the second annual golf outing on June 12. For information about that visit