July 10, 2018

After six years as the Chair of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce, Brooklyn Alliance and our newly established Brooklyn Alliance Capital, Inc. I have made a decision to step down as of June 30, 2018.

I am extremely honored to have broken through the “glass ceiling” and be the first, not only woman, but a minority – Latina and immigrant from Cuba – to have served as your Chair. I believe this is truly reflective of where Brooklyn is today.

I am proud of the many milestones we reached during those six years:
– The Chamber has grown to over 2,000 members strong.
– The organization is financially sound and has reduced almost all of its debt.
– We celebrated a successful and impactful Centennial Gala which has further strengthened the finances of the Chamber as well as provided support for many of its programs in the coming years.
– We launched Brooklyn Alliance Capital, Inc., a community development financial institution (CDFI) which has begun to lend money to small businesses providing much-needed access to capital.
– Earlier this year, the Brooklyn Chamber was recognized as a premier business organization and named “Chamber of the Year” by the Business Council of New York State, Inc.

That names just a few of our long list of accomplishments and, of course, we couldn’t have accomplished this without our strong membership, our committed Board of Directors and Executive Committee Members, our dedicated and experienced staff, our relationships with our great elected officials, our partnerships with governmental agencies and of course – YOU, our members.

Brooklyn is now the hottest brand in the world and all of our efforts together at the Chamber have made this possible! This is something we all need to be proud of and exhibit that great Brooklyn character and swagger.

I am stepping down at a time when the Chamber is not only financially stable with its membership levels strong, a well-recognized brand and a list of choices of ongoing activities. Additionally, we are well underway on our search for our new President and CEO.

We have a solid Executive Committee and a dedicated Board made up of many leaders willing to step up and take us into the future. I am happy to announce that Ana Oliveira and Gil Cygler will be assuming the position of Co-Chairs of the Brooklyn Chamber. Ana, Market Executive at Investors Bank is an experienced financial professional and brings extensive management expertise and true understanding of our communities. Ana has been an active member of the Executive Committee and Chamber Board. Ana and Investors Bank have been strong supporters of many of the Chamber’s programs. Gil Cygler, President of Glade Claim Management has been a long-standing and extremely active and supportive Chamber member for nearly three decades. Gil has run a number of businesses within Brooklyn and has been the Co-Chair of our Government Affairs Committee and spearheaded our Chamber On The Go program and Brooklyn Night in Albany. I feel very confident that we have the right people in the right place at the right time. I am certain that under Ana’s and Gil’s leadership the Brooklyn Chamber will continue to stand out in New York, in the country and globally.

It has been an honor to have served as your Chair for the last six years as well as being an active member for over twenty-four years. What an incredible run! I will continue to be a staunch supporter and advocate of the Brooklyn Chamber and of all things Brooklyn. This is not goodbye, and I’m hoping to see you at the next event!

Let’s keep the Chamber and Brooklyn moving forward!

Thank you.

Denise Arbesu