Rochester Chamber CLIMB Debuts at Wegmans Organic Farm

Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce CLIMB held the first event of its 2017-2018 inaugural season with a trip to the Wegmans Organic Farm in Canandaigua.  CLIMB stands for Chamber Leadership Initiative: Mentoring for Business, a ten-month experiential program designed to connect young professionals with business leaders across multiple sectors of the Finger Lakes economy.  Thirty-one participants representing 28 Rochester-area companies are part of the inaugural cohort.

Excellus BlueCross BlueShield Executive Program Manager of Health Care and Network Management Shaquana Divers said, “Some of the takeaways from our visit to Wegmans Organic Farm were thinking long-term, focusing on relationships with the people that you serve, and when you think that you’re doing a good job, change.  Innovate to go even further to serve people.  I think many businesses and individuals can apply these strategies to achieve success.”

Some of the activities that filled the day-long session at Wegmans Organic Farm included a presentation on Wegmans’ corporate mission and leadership from VP of Organizational Management Anne Meath, a “Gentle Yoga” session with Stency Wegman, a tour of the farm with a panel discussion featuring farm leaders, and an introduction to evolutionary leadership from Rochester Chamber member The XLR8 Team.

“It was certainly an eye-opening experience,” said Canandaigua National Bank & Trust New Media Coordinator Ashley DiDia. “I think an underlying theme that we are going to see in the CLIMB program is a sense of community and the building of long-term relationships.  That’s really how our whole community is going to continue to grow.  It’s a strategic advantage that we have right here as young professionals to help grow and sustain this community.”

CLIMB gives participants an inside look at local success stories directly from top executives and their teams through nine signature events.  Community and political leaders will also weigh in on crucial issues facing the Finger Lakes region.  The next event in September focuses on the “Finger Lakes Forward” industries of Optics, Photonics, and Imaging as well as Finger Lakes wine with visits to GS Plastic Optics and Three Brothers Wineries.

At the conclusion of CLIMB’s first cohort in May 2018, participants employed by Rochester Chamber member companies will be invited to serve a one-year term on the chamber’s Future Leaders Advisory Council.  Learn more at