CCCBI Holds Women Influencing Business Awards Dinner with Keynote Speaker Cherelle Parker  

CCCBI Women influencing Business Awards dinner
Image via Chester County Chamber of Business & Industry.
CCCBI Women Influencing Business Awards dinner.

The Chester County Chamber of Business & Industry (CCCBI) held its 2023 Women Influencing Business (WIB) Awards Dinner on Wednesday, Sept. 13 at the White Manor Country Club. Andrea Youndt, CEO of the Chester County Food Bank was presented with the Female Business Leader of the Year Award, and Alaina Kearney, Marketing Director of Barsz, Gowie, Amon & Fultz was presented with the Female Rising Star of the Year Award.  

Business leaders, community partners, family, and friends gathered to celebrate the accomplishments of the night’s honorees.  

CCCBI was also joined by Pennsylvania State Trooper, Katy Greenert, one of the law enforcement officers that apprehended the fugitive, Danelo Cavalcante, who recently escaped from Chester County Prison, ending a fourteen-day manhunt across the county. CCCBI President & CEO, Laura Manion, began her comments of gratitude, stating that Trooper Greenert is an outstanding example of female empowerment to highlight at the WIB event, and Greenert received a standing ovation from the crowd of two hundred attendees. Manion also mentioned that the Chamber can serve as a resource to any employers impacted by the search for Calvacante.  

Manion continued by sharing Chamber initiatives, mainly around workforce issues, many of which disproportionately affect women. This includes women re-entering the workforce, calling for expansion of the Childcare Tax Credit for Parents and childcare accessibility and affordability.  

CCCBI covered the cost of on-site childcare for parents who wished to attend the dinner. Some of the children who spent time in White Manor’s KidZone joined the evening’s festivities post-ceremony for photos with their parents. This was a first-time initiative that highlights the needs of childcare for women to develop their roles as business and community leaders.  

The WIB Awards honor women who are actively working towards professional development, creating opportunities for other women, and inciting positive change. In addition to Youndt and Kearney, CCCBI took the opportunity to thank Chester County Commissioner Michelle Kichline, who is currently serving her last term in office after nine years on the Board of Commissioners.  

In addition to Commissioner Kichline, Chester County Commissioner Marian Moskowitz, State Representative Dan Williams, and City Manager of the City of Coatesville, James Logan, were in attendance and thanked for the work they continue to do in service to the Chester County community.  

In her acceptance speech, Kearney recalled the words of her college career counselor, “pick a boss, not a job.” Kearney left the crowd with one piece of advice that she had followed for several years. She said, “As you all know, I am here because of the people that believed in me. I have one ask tonight, if a potential rising star asks you to get coffee, to be on their podcast, or to make a connection for them – do it. Follow them on social media, connect on LinkedIn, support them however you can. I promise you, when they make it big, they won’t forget you,” just as Kearney has not forgotten the community of people that brought her to CCCBI and the status of “Rising Star.” 

Miguel Alban, Senior Vice President and Director of Multicultural Banking for Customers Bank, as well as a long-time friend of Youndt, delivered a soulful recount of his first-hand experience with Youndt on mission trips to Peru and everyday life. Her care and attention for those less fortunate than herself was so great that he saw a new side of the country he used to call home.  

As a community, Chester County has the privilege of experiencing Youndt’s hard work and dedication to helping others. A special thank you to her family brought the room to tears, “your encouragement during my career, the late nights, long hours, weekends, holidays, and many challenging moments – you only get what’s left and never the best ‘me,’ you have been my rock and I couldn’t have achieved this without you.”  

The powerful emotions in the room heightened as the Keynote Speaker took the stage. Democratic Nominee for the 100th Mayor of Philadelphia, Cherelle Parker, spoke about her personal experience as a woman, a mother, a legislator, and her desire to be a true representative of the people. By the end of her speech, the room erupted with a continued standing ovation for her honesty and enthusiasm towards her prospective position as Mayor, and the potential regional change that includes Chester County. Parker noted that one of her most notable qualities is her determination to “get to yes.”

As free thinkers and changemakers, we as a community cannot hold ourselves within a box, we need to work together to get to “yes,” and create positive change. Though Parker is a Philadelphia native, she is aiming to “get to yes” by working outside the city too. Her history as a Lincoln University alum has drawn her back to Chester County and she is excited to continue working alongside entities like CCCBI to better the region as a whole.  

Parker’s goals for regional success align closely with CCCBI’s initiatives to prioritize and advocate for housing, public transportation, workforce development, and infrastructure as key priorities to make Chester County, as Manion said, “a truly great place to live, work, raise a family, and retire.”  

The Chester County Chamber of Business & Industry is excited to strengthen a partnership between the Chamber, Chester County, and the City of Philadelphia, and is honored to have women like Cherelle Parker, Michelle Kichline, Andrea Youndt, and Alaina Kearney in our business community.   

Manion concluded the event on stage with her one year old son in her arms. “This is what flexibility in the workplace looks like. Company culture is changing, and we hope you will join us in leading the way toward a new way of conducting business here in Chester County.” 

Learn more at the Chester County Chamber of Business & Industry.

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