Young Money: Introducing Caitlin Campbell McNulty
blog by Ben Kirst • January 11, 2012 @ 7:00am
We’re going to have a new guest on Buffalo.com—say hello to Caitlin Campbell McNulty, director of advocacy and communications for the Amherst Chamber of Commerce. Caitlin is going to stop by once every couple weeks to give young professionals—like ourselves—a lesson in business and related topics. This will be particularly useful for Ben T., who recently sold his only cow for a packet of magic beans.
Without further ado, here’s Caitlin:
So what exactly do you do?
Caitlin: I am the Chamber’s director of advocacy and communications, but with a small staff like ours, we all wear many hats. Primarily I am responsible the following functions at the Chamber: I handle all of the Chamber’s government affairs work, including working with our Public Affairs Council and the Chamber’s annual Legislative Agenda. I also have oversight of the Chamber’s communications work, including press, social media and electronic communications to our members. I organize and run the Chamber’s special events – we have three signature events each year and will be adding a new event recognizing young professionals in February, the Emerging Business Leaders Awards Gala.
The one aspect of my job that excites me the most is my role with the chamber’s newest program focused on young professionals, Emerging Business Leaders. I serve as the Chamber’s staff liaison with this group, whose focus is on improving the skills and leadership capabilities of all young professionals in the region.
Tell us all a little about yourself.
I grew up in Batavia and graduated from Batavia High in 2004. A fun fact about me is that I was a page in the United States House of Representatives in the summer of 2003. I lived in Washington, D.C. with about 75 other pages and worked on the House floor for the summer—an amazing experience.
I went to the University at Buffalo as an undergrad. I graduated cum laude with a bachelor of arts in 2007. My degree was in communications with a minor in political science. I worked for both the New York State Senate and Erie County in government communications after graduating. When I decided it was time to move into the private sector, the Amherst Chamber of Commerce seemed like a perfect fit.
I started with the Chamber in March of 2010 and have been here for a little under two years. Moving to the Chamber has been a perfect way to ease myself into the private sector after having spent the beginning part of my career in the public sector.
So what is the Emerging Business Leaders program?
Emerging Business Leaders is a program from the Amherst Chamber of Commerce, founded and guided by the young professionals we are looking to serve. The EBL is not just about networking—it is a group for young professionals who are striving to advance their leadership potential and personal and professional success.
Through skill development, community outreach and networking, members of EBL build the competencies and connections necessary to stay in this area and thrive. Participants get a return on their investment that pays dividends in professional advancement.
The Chamber began this program after seeing a void in the marketplace for programs and services specifically geared towards improving the leadership and professionals skills of young professionals in the area. We want the program to be driven by need, which is why we have an advisory board made up of 20 yp’s who develop the programs and services we offer.
What’s on deck for the EBL is 2012:
While many of our events turn into networking opportunities, the EBL in 2012 will be focus on more diverse programs and opportunities for the attendees of its events. EBL will also be continuing the very successful Food for Thought program which places a small group of young professionals at a meal with a regional CEO or executive for a meal to have a really open ended and dynamic conversation about how they got to where they are today and what advice the executive can offer to young professionals.
What are some of the challenges and opportunities facing young professionals in Western New York?
There are always challenges for young professionals in any business climate, not just Western New York, due to age, lack of experience and myriad other factors.
But, there a lot of opportunities in Western New York if you are dedicated and focused on finding the one that fits for you. It’s time our region stops talking about why we cant keep young talent here and instead find a plan to keep a young workforce engaged and enthusiastic.
Western New York is a great place to live, cost of living is low, there is a lot of culture, a great nightlife, exciting emerging neighborhoods – all things that energize young professionals and encourage them to stay and build a life in an area. We have 22 colleges and universities in the region with a light of bright young people graduating from them each year. The community has to remind them that they can stay in the area and contribute to its re-growth.
And what about the Bills? Are they ever going to be respectable again?
As a (mostly) proud season ticket holder, I hope the Bills get their act together at some point in my lifetime. As my husband likes to say, “we have to get tickets next year, I can’t miss a playoff season!” That’s the best (and sometimes worst) thing about being a Bills fan—they always give you hope that next year will be better. I definitely hold that hope from season to season and Billeive we’ll return to football glory.
Watch for Caitlin’s Young Money articles on Wednesdays twice monthly beginning on Jan. 18.