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  • Writer's pictureellencdonker

The Maplewood Chamber of Commerce becomes a modern force by Rick Gilman

It is probably an understatement to say that the act of "doing business" has changed over the past dozen years. Driven by new technology, the economy has shifted to include more service-oriented professionals, and businesses have had to learn to adapt to a digital business model. Even brick and mortar businesses have found their operations transformed.

In Maplewood, one constant throughout has been the Chamber of Commerce, which seeks to promote and strengthen the business community, provide networking opportunities, education and advocacy. But it, too, has had to change with the times and is currently taking steps to continue to revitalize the organization.

One of those steps is reflected in its new executive committee leadership team composed of all women, including Ellen Donker, vice president and director of marketing and communications; Christine Coster, director of membership; and Diana Gáler, the new Chamber president and director of events, supported by Lorraine Labonne-Storch as executive director.

Gáler, deals with many of these same challenges in her own business, Gáler Coaching for Excellence, and is well-prepared to take on the new role. She explained some of her goals for the coming year.

“Maplewood has a business community that is as vibrant and diverse as our town. As president, I’m excited to drive engagement and visibility for our member businesses, and look to deliver great educational and networking events to help them and our community thrive.”

Donker, publisher of Matters Magazine, said, “We held listening sessions with members about what they wanted from the Chamber and we'll be putting many of their suggestions into action. Top on my list is communications.”

Coster, State Farm Insurance Agent, added, “I look forward to recruiting new members and engaging them in activities that have tangible benefits for their businesses.” To that end, Anthony Garubo Salon will be hosting an open house November 13 at 7 p.m. for anyone interested in learning more about the Chamber. For more information on the Chamber, visit


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