Zack Hutchins
Director of Communications

For Release — Monday, January 24, 2005

Award recognizes outstanding performance of a chamber of commerce leader

ALBANY—Karen St. Hilaire, Executive Director of the Saint Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce, has been awarded the Chamber Alliance of New York State’s (CANYS) Excellence in Leadership Award for 2005. St. Hilaire received the honor on January 19th at the annual CANYS Legislative and Leadership conference in Albany, NY.

The CANYS Excellence in Leadership Award is presented each year in recognition of outstanding professional development and contributions in the promotion of the chamber profession.

St. Hilaire has been instrumental in developing the Northern Adirondack Trading Cooperative, which was conceived and launched in August of 2003. The project targets micro-entrepreneurs that manufacture or produce goods. The program’s intent is to serve geographically isolated businesses by connecting them with a secure e-commerce entry point through E-Bay. Participating entrepreneurs also receive regular training in business management, finance, and other areas to increase the likelihood of their success. Twenty-two small businesses have already benefited from the program, and it has expanded from Saint Lawrence County to Essex and Clinton Counties.

Under St. Hilaire’s leadership, the St. Lawrence County Chamber founded the annual St. Lawrence International Junior Carp Tournament in 2003, luring anglers from all over the world to the St. Lawrence River between Ogdensburg and Massena.

St. Hilaire was also appointed by Senator Hillary Clinton to the Board of New Jobs for New York. The 12-person board oversees the efforts of a non-profit created to bring together venture capitalists with entrepreneurs to create jobs in New York State.

St. Hilaire has been Executive Director and CEO of the St. Lawrence County Chamber since October 1999. She received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Clarkson University.

CANYS is an association of chamber executives from New York’s local and regional chambers of commerce committed to providing professional development opportunities for member executives and leveraging the power of chambers to promote state-government policies that will improve New York’s business climate. CANYS is affiliated with, and administered by, The Business Council of New York State.