Among Incoming Chamber Chair's Priorities:
Building Community Support


(Wednesday, November 29, 2006 7:29 AM EST)

With her year as chairman of the Arlington Chamber of Commerce fast approaching, local attorney Barbara Nicastro has started shaping her priorities.

Nicastro assumes the chairmanship in January, succeeding Sean Hosty of Smith Barney. Working with member organizations to help address the county government's projected fiscal shortfalls will be one of her top priorities.

“We are waiting for the information to analyze,” Nicastro said in a recent interview. “We're hoping for the best, and preparing for the worst.”

In the interview, Nicastro said the current budget crunch must be addressed without the situation becoming “onerous for the businesses and residents of Arlington.”

Another issue Nicastro will devote time to is improving business and community relations.

“One of my overarching priorities is to achieve a better degree of understanding between businesses and the residents of Arlington,” she said. “I want to make a more cooperative effort.”

She plans to do this by increasing opportunities for alliances with the schools, and by harnessing the ideas of people in the community who have useful knowledge and talents they can share with Chamber members.

Nicastro also hopes to bring new members into the Chamber. In particular, she wants to extend a hand to new businesses, businesses on Columbia Pike and in Shirlington, and ethnic and minority business groups.

She stressed that the Chamber is there to provide value to its members, whether newcomers or long-time participants.

“The Chamber gives you the chance to acquire knowledge and connections,” Nicastro said. “This is a place you can come to and learn what you need.”

Improved communication will be another area of focus for Nicastro. Her goals are to have electronic updates sent more than once a week to members, and to an include an “Ask the Chair” link on the Chamber of Commerce Web site.

Nicastro will be the third woman to serve as chairman in the Chamber's 82-year history. Monte Davis and Carolyn Settles were the first two.

But Nicastro said she doesn't really think of her achievement within the context of gender.

“I'm just another business person who is going to be chair,” she said. “But I'm proud to be a role model.”

Nicastro said she recognizes that being chairman will have its challenges, but is ready to take them on.

“I'm getting excited about being chairman,” she said. “I'm looking forward to the chance to give back to the Chamber and Arlington, and all the blessings they've given me.”

Both Hosty and Nicastro will offer remarks at the Chamber's annual meeting, slated for Dec. 8. Gov. Kaine is set to be the keynote speaker.

Barbara Nicastro will serve as chairman of the Arlington Chamber of Commerce in 2007.


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