Catching up with Dottie Gallagher
President & CEO, Buffalo Niagara Partnership
Photo by kc kratt
How has the Partnership changed since you took over as CEO?
The Partnership has had excellent leadership for decades. What I found when I got into the role is the Partnership does more than even I understood. We’ve worked to become more visible and accessible to the business community and our members. We are very active on social media and sharing content that we think is important for our members to know. The work has iterated with the changing challenges of the region, but I think that has always been the culture here.
What do you consider the biggest challenge facing our region?
There is no question that having a workforce that has the skills and training needed for the jobs we have here is job number one. With twenty percent of workers retiring in the next seven to ten years, we have a great deal of work to do. To accomplish this goal, we must deal with the issues we have here as it relates to racial equity and inclusion. We truly have to become “One Buffalo.” Our employers say they struggle in recruiting and finding talent, and in particular have called out a need to have a more diverse and inclusive workforce. In order to realize our true economic growth as a region, we must grow opportunities for all.
Why should businesses become members?
Businesses join the Partnership for two main reasons; some invest in us because they know we are working for the betterment of the region and for economic growth. They know that we represent the interests of employers in many important conversations with the public sector and they appreciate our ability to convene and collaborate to address important issues in the community, such as workforce development. The other group of members join because they use the regional chamber to grow their own businesses, and to grow their company and professional profile. Even with ubiquitous social media platforms, it still comes down to getting to know people and build relationships that create opportunity. There is no substitute for shoe leather, and our members engage by participating in councils, task forces we organize, and in the meaningful content events where they can gather with other like-minded business leaders.
We know you're all business, but what do you do for fun?
Let me first say, I have a lot of fun doing my job and I work with some fantastic people in this community. But to decompress, I like to spend time with my dog Gerald and I might watch a little too much Great British (Irish, Canadian and Australian) Bake Off shows on Netflix and You Tube (and I don’t bake, btw.) My most favorite thing in the world to do is to visit and spend time with my two adult children. I have a fall trip planned to visit my son in Chicago to see a Bears game and my daughter and I are looking at taking major trip to Australia and New Zealand next year.