Linda Baran has worked at the Staten Island Chamber of Chamber for the past 35 years. The Chamber is the largest business organization on Staten Island and is comprised of over 600 businesses with approximately 20,000 employees. In May 2004, Baran was elected by the Chamber’s Board of Directors as the first woman President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the organization, which was established in 1895. Prior to that, she served as the interim president for seven months and held the position of vice president of finance and resources. Baran has worked in many areas of the chamber, including Finance & Operations, Membership Development, Community Relations, Special Events as well as Government and Legislative Affairs
Over the past year, Baran has continued to advocate on behalf of small businesses at the Federal, State and City level for much needed relief. Throughout the pandemic, the Chamber has been providing direct services to both member and non-member businesses. They became an information hub, with daily updates about access to loans and grants, guidance relating to workforce, and City and State regulations, and supplied much-needed educational programming. The Chamber also facilitated the delivery of hundreds of thousands of PPE items, with the staff making drop-offs.
The organization instituted the “Feeding the Frontlines” initiative, in partnership with the office of the Staten Island Borough President and the United Federation of Teachers. The program partnered with local restaurants to feed hospital staffs at the peak of the pandemic. The effort garnered more than $60,000 in donations – 100% of which went to local restaurants and fed hospital workers during a difficult time.
In October. the Chamber launched “Shop Staten Island” an online store to help local retail businesses attract new customers. The shop allows small businesses and start-ups to sell their products online, giving them the opportunity to compete with larger corporate retailers.
Most recently, with support from the Peterson Foundation and the Partnership for NYC, the Staten Island Chamber joined the Brooklyn, Bronx, Manhattan, and Queens Chambers to launch the Small Business Resource Network (SBRN), a comprehensive approach to strengthening New York City’s economy and accelerating the recovery of small businesses — starting with personalized guidance and access to special resources.
Additionally, Baran worked tirelessly in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy to provide resources and information to affected Staten Island businesses and continues to advocate on behalf of Sandy recovery and relief. Under Baran’s direction, the organization is also deeply rooted in the revitalization of the Bay Street corridor in Downtown Staten Island. To help more businesses, the Chamber brings Chamber-On-The- Go services to all corners of the borough.
Baran is a diligent advocate for improved transportation on Staten Island, including a strong proponent of a transit solution on the North Shore, and has met with numerous high-ranking officials from the Federal Transit Administration, Federal Highway Administration, Port Authority, MTA, and the NYS and NYC Departments of Transportation, among other transportation agencies.
Eight years ago, Linda decided to launch the Chamber’s Young Entrepreneur Academy to ensure the success of the next generation of business leaders. Going forward, Baran sees the member organization taking a more active role in the area of workforce development.
Ms. Baran serves on the board of Notre Dame Academy, and as an advisory board member for the Small Business Development Center at the College of Staten Island. She is a Past President of the Staten Island Rotary Club, Past President of the Chamber Alliance of New York State (CANYS) and continues to play an active role in the 5 Borough Chamber Alliance.
In 2003, Baran received a Certificate in Nonprofit Organization Management from the U.S. Chamber Institute of Organization Management at Villanova University, Villanova, Pa.
A native Staten Islander who grew up in Midland Beach, she currently resides in Great Kills with her family.