Chamber Connections:

The Otsego County Chamber regularly hosts CEO roundtables around the county for small business owners and CEOs of our for-profit and nonprofit organizations.

Most participating businesses that regularly attend our CEO roundtables are successful in making meaningful connections by regularly working “on” their business instead of “in” their business, as they chart a course that propels their business further faster by making meaningful connections with a cross section of industries, who are all working collectively around economic development for our region.

Roundtable participants gain improved growth, profitability and fiscal strength. A business’ bottom line can benefit from roundtable investment in time. Roundtables help businesses run better, grow faster and make more money by sharing best practices, listening to new community projects and sharing state and federal program resources.

Business owners and CEOs face a unique set of challenges. At best, they are independent, confident, driven self-starters. None of them can do it alone. Everyone needs a network of support and connections to solve problems and add to the overall economic success of our region. Today’s CEO Roundtable members gather with the collective goal: helping fellow business leaders improve their performance and be the most effective.

A CEO roundtable provides business owners with an opportunity to discuss with their peers business matters of importance to them such as workforce development and talent recruitment. They can bounce ideas off the others, get new ideas about solving old problems and share each other’s experiences in order to help each other become more successful in business. The whole idea is to allow members to tap into the collective wisdom and experience of the group to help them prevent mistakes, solve tricky business situations and to maximize their opportunities and all from different industries helps to add the diversity of experience. CEO roundtable members become close colleagues and provide motivation for each other that “we’re all in this together.”

A group of supportive peers helps leaders align their values, goals and strategies. The roundtable model works with the Otsego County Chamber leading the charge because the chamber facilitates bringing the leaders together and inviting our elected officials to participate by listening to the business needs while also sharing the need of their constituents in the community.

Furthermore, CEO participants give their best to their peers, and get the best of their peers in return. And it’s a place where business leaders can find accountability once a problem is discussed. Fellow roundtable members will check in, making sure the others have followed through. Groups provide members with support, empowerment and accountability, so you can grow from good to great.

I began the CEO roundtables five years ago as a way for our CEOs who are members of the Chamber to connect to the Chamber network and resources that are offered by inviting expert presenters, such as our mentors from the Greater Binghamton SCORE chapter. SCORE is part of the national nonprofit association dedicated to entrepreneur education and the formation, growth and success of the nation's small businesses. SCORE volunteers serve as "Counselors to America's Small Business."

The CEO roundtables are a way to inform and educate our members on our chamber's role in promoting housing opportunities, education/workforce development, tourism, programs for small businesses, public policy advocacy, which is all part of economic development. We know that successful economic development marketing (the location/retention of businesses) cannot occur without a sound quality of life, solid education system (K-12 and life), solid workforce development opportunities and leadership development.

To become a member and participate in the CEO Roundtables, please contact me at or 607-432-4500. 

Barbara Ann Heegan is president and chief executive officer of the Otsego County Chamber of Commerce.