Ranzenhofer honors DiPirro as Woman of Distinction


    President and CEO of Amherst Chamber receives recognition

    Albany, N.Y. – State Senator Michael H. Ranzenhofer honored Amherst Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Colleen C. DiPirro Tuesday evening at the 15th Annual Women of Distinction ceremony, honoring her outstanding contributions in enriching the quality of life for the community and beyond.

    “It is an honor to recognize Colleen DiPirro as the 2012 Woman of Distinction for the 61st Senate District.  She is a true role model to so many young women in Western New York,” said Senator Ranzenhofer.  “For decades, Colleen has been the driving force at the Amherst Chamber, ensuring businesses have the resources and support to thrive, grow and create jobs for the residents in our community.  Her positive impact has been so immeasurable that our community would just not be the same without her.”

    “I was truly honored to receive the Women of Distinction Award from Senator Michael Ranzenhofer this past week in Albany.  While gratifying to be recognized for the work I do, it is noteworthy that the public-private partnership the Senator has nurtured with the business community provided me and the Amherst Chamber of Commerce with a foundation that breeds successful outcomes.  I share this honor with the business community and look forward to continuing our legacy of success,” said DiPirro.

    Colleen began her career with the Amherst Chamber of Commerce as a single staff person.  Since then, under her leadership for the last 30 years, the Amherst Chamber has increased its membership from under 200 businesses to over 2,500, and grown its budget from $24,000 to $1.9 million. 

    Last summer, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo appointed her as a member of the Western New York Economic Development Regional Council that later received a Best Plan Award and $100 million allocation for the region. In her role, she currently serves as Chair of the Council’s Communications Committee.

    Colleen was the first woman to be honored by the Buffalo Sales and Marketing Executives in 1998 as Executive of the Year.  She has also been recognized by Business First as one of the 100 most influential people in Western New York and awarded the Governor’s Award for Excellence in Business. 

    Colleen has served as a member on the Board of Directors for the New York State Chamber of Commerce Executives.  She has served on the board of directors for many community and not-for-profit organizations, including WNY Autism Foundation, Hospice Playhouse Project, Executive Women International, Buffalo Prep, Unyts and Williamsville Sweet Home Junior Football Association.

    Colleen is the widowed mother of two sons and the proud grandmother of three.  She attended Alfred College as a marketing major.  Prior to joining the Chamber, she worked for the Erie County Legislature and as a retail manager.

    The Women of Distinction program was created in 1998 to honor great New York women.  Past honorees include former movie-star Lucille Ball, 19th century suffragist Katherine Davis and other women accomplished in sciences, academics, business and the arts across New York State.  Other women of distinction honored by Senator Ranzenhofer for the 61st district include: Flora Leamer (2009); Carrie Kahn (2010); and Millie Tomidy-Pepper (2011).

    The Amherst Chamber of Commerce was founded in 1956.  The Chamber is one of the country's largest suburban chambers today with 8 full-time, professional staff, operating out of a suite of offices in Centerpointe Corporate Park.  Through its Board of Directors, scores of dedicated volunteers, strategic partnerships and more than 2,000 members, the Chamber works to protect, accelerate and facilitate collaboration of the business interests in the Buffalo Niagara region.