While Rose Aglieco, executive director, acknowledges the uphill battle some women have fought over the years in the workplace, she has not faced those challenges.
"It's not like it was anymore,” she said. “This position is just as much a woman's job as it is a man's job, or a man's job as it is a woman's job."
Aglieco, a resident of Brewster for the last 25 years and the executive director since October, sees the area as not only a great place to start a business, but also a place of equal opportunity.
"Our board is made up of men and women, and I see that more and more women are owning their own businesses," she said.
Her job involves developing professional interests in the area and creating networking opportunities for member businesses in the chamber.
"Just by eyeballing the membership list and taking note of who comes to our meetings, I could say that our membership is pretty evenly divided between men and women."
Of the ten members of the chamber's board of directors, four are women. Chamber Secretary Cathy Purdy is enthusiastic about the success Aglieco has had since taking October.
"She's doing an amazing job, the energy and value she has brought the chamber is just wonderful," Purdy said. "She really believes in what the chamber can accomplish and you can tell that she's going to make it happen."
The executive director's talent for generating business interest and enthusiasm comes from her longtime passion for building relationships and helping people succeed. After receiving a degree in recreational therapy at the State University of New York at Brockport College, Aglieco spent many years as a recreational therapist before becoming involved in fundraising in the non-for-profit sector.
"I was fundraising, lastly, for a private mental health association, so I had always been in the health field, career-wise," she said. "My new job is a change, in that it's business, although the health agencies and the not-for-profits are a part of the chamber of commerce."
Aglieco has found her work with businesses in the community to be satisfying and, in many ways, comparable to the personal relationships she's formed over the years in her previous work.
"I've always enjoyed working with people and helping them reach a definitive goal," she said. "You get to form a lot of very personal relationships working with businesses in Brewster. Because it's a small enough community, you get to know the people and their families, and you really get a sense of what a warm, welcoming place this is."