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Spotlight on Heather Bell-Meyer, President and CEO of the Orange County, NY Chamber of Commerce

Published: November 21, 2022

On Nov. 16, Vision Times sat down with Heather Bell-Meyer, the President and CEO of the Orange County Chamber of Commerce in upstate New York, to discuss her career and the chamber’s work in the local business community.

Bell-Meyer has been serving the Orange County Chamber of Commerce as president and CEO since May, 2021 after serving as acting president and CEO for the chamber since January of the same year.

She brings a lifetime of experience in business to the role. 

After obtaining an associates degree in business management and customer relations from Berkeley College, Bell-Meyer spent a short stint in the Marine Corps. Following an honorable discharge due to medical reasons Bell-Meyer married and had two sons. Soon after her son’s were born Bell-Meyer was divorced and found herself raising her two young boys on her own.  

Understanding that she would be the sole provider for her young family, she went back to school and earned a Bachelor’s degree in organizational management, achieving a 4.0 GPA all while working full time and tending to her family responsibilities.

With her new Bachelor’s degree in hand Bell-Meyer secured an executive assistant role with Heineken USA. A few short months after starting with Heineken, she was promoted and began serving the company as a corporate affairs specialist, managing both government and community affairs.

“It was a role that kind of scared me because at that point I didn’t know what a Democrat or a Republican was and, the day my boss promoted me, I ran out the door, downstairs and across the city center and grabbed ‘Politics for Dummies,’” she told Vision Times.

The Orange County Chamber of Commerce supports businesses, large and small, throughout the region holding networking events, offering seminars, webinars and workshops and advocating for member businesses. (Image: Screenshot via

Bell-Meyer said, “The part of my job for community affairs was managing the brand and the corporate reputation of the company and making sure that we were giving back to the communities where we worked and lived,” adding that, “a lot of that was event management.”

She discovered that she was particularly good at planning large, complex events and after Heinkein went through some organizational changes she decided to “hang out [her] own shingle” and established an event planning company, A Perfect Plan.

Taking a risk, Bell-Meyers withdrew $5,000 from her 401K to fund her start-up and got to work.

After struggling to get her business launched, Bell-Meyer reached out to a local business professional, Marsha Gordon, the president and CEO of the Business Council of Westchester.

“I attribute a lot of the success that we have had at the chamber to what I learned from Marsha and what I continue to learn from her because she is also a great mentor to me,” Bell-Meyers said. 

Soon after engaging with Gordon, Bell-Meyer’s business took off. “I was busy every weekend, every holiday and I was going into what people know as ‘business burnout.’”, Bell-Meyers said, adding that her business won multiple awards.

“And then, another opportunity knocked on the door,” she said.

Bell-Meyers was approached to run a local White Plains YMCA. At first she was apprehensive, telling Vision Times that she didn’t “know anything about running a YMCA,” however quickly adapted to her new role as the Associate Executive Director. 

“The building was basically falling down and hadn’t been maintained in ten years and we were told that if anything is going to fail here it’s going to be the building and, that’s what did,” she said.

She said during her tenure with the White Plains YMCA that she and her team “brought the programs back to life,” offering childcare at multiple locations for children as young as 6-weeks-old and running multiple camp programs for inner-city youth. 

It was not long before she was identified as a high-performer and was promoted to Executive Director at the White Plains YMCA and was enrolled in the YMCA’s YUSA executive prep institute. 

However, the building that housed the White Plains YMCA was at the end of its life and the decision was made to sell the building, thus ending her time at the White Plains YMCA.

It was following this that Bell-Meyers found herself leading the Orange County Chamber of Commerce. 

Heather Bell-Meyer, President and CEO of the Orange County Chamber of Commerce. (Image: Heather Bell-Meyer/Orange County Chamber of Commerce website)

Serving Orange County businesses

The Orange County Chamber of Commerce offers a wide array of events for business leaders to attend and provides opportunities for members to develop and build business relationships. 

The Chamber offers numerous benefits to members including referrals, legislative advocacy, informative emails, radio programming, advertising, marketing and sponsorship opportunities, seminars, webinars and workshops, committee opportunities and more. 

Cost for membership is based on the number of employees the business has.

Bell-Meyer said that every member is “on a level playing field” and that there is a tiered system for corporate partners. “Corporate partners get more, because they pay to play. So, you’ll see the corporate block that is on our website; it’s tiered, diamond, platinum, gold …”

Hudson Valley Credit Union is a diamond partner with the chamber and platinum partners include Crown Castle, LegoLand New York and New York Stewart International Airport among several others.

Corporate partners enjoy complimentary tickets to the Chamber’s annual gala and the Chamber’s golf tournament as well as other benefits. 

According to the Chamber’s website the nonprofit serves nearly 1,200 businesses and organizations throughout the region who benefit from regular business referrals, outstanding networking, promotional opportunities and government advocacy. 

A current example of the Chamber’s government advocacy is that they are approaching government leaders to address the rampant unemployment fraud that occurred over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic and are asking the government to abandon the unemployment tax, “because our small businesses cannot sustain paying that tax,” Bell-Meyers explained.

“I’m hoping that whoever goes up to Albany, in any capacity, is going to go up there and start a repeal process,” she said, adding that, “And I am hoping whoever is representing us in Albany going forward is also going to look into this unemployment fraud because we have been talking about this for over a year.”

“There’s a lot of things that go on behind the scenes,” she added.

Upcoming events associated with the Chamber include a sexual harassment training course that is required by New York State for certain businesses that is offered at no cost to members and community events including a speed networking event on Nov. 30, and a “December Networking Mixer” to be held on Dec. 1. Numerous other events are scheduled out to the end of the year.

To learn more about the Orange County Chamber of Commerce and how to become a member go to