Greater Fort Myers Chamber To Host ‘New Year, New Friend’ Networking Event Jan. 11

Submitted By: Emily Golden

The Greater Fort Myers Chamber of Commerce’s Women in Business and Leadership NEXT committees are partnering to co-host a “New Year, New Friend” networking program from 4 to 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 11 at the Gulf Coast Humane Society.

The Gulf Coast Humane Society is a private nonprofit animal welfare organization that has served Southwest Florida for more than 75 years, providing refuge to more than 3,000 animals each year who are in need of compassionate care. Attendees of the Chamber program will hear from Gulf Coast Humane Society Executive Director Gary Willoughby, Community Relations Coordinator Brian Wierima and Events Coordinator Lori Hardacker about the history of the nonprofit, how it navigated through Hurricane Ian and the organization’s vision moving forward.

The program will include group tours of the Humane Society building and opportunities to learn more about the adoption process. For those interested in adopting, longtime Gulf Coast Humane Society supporter Goldstein, Buckley, Cechman, Rice & Purtz will be distributing “golden tickets” to attendees that are interested in offering a “furever” home, providing free or reduced-price adoption fees for cats and dogs of various ages.

The event’s nonprofit spotlight is Beesley’s Paws Prints. A collaborative effort among members of the United Way of Lee, Hendry, and Glades Counties network, the program brings together registered therapy dog teams to provide emotional support, comfort and affection to adults and children facing physical, emotional and mental challenges.

The Chamber program will be held at Gulf Coast Humane Society’s location at 2010 Arcadia St. in Fort Myers and includes a complimentary drink and light bites provided by Chicken Salad Chick. Registration is $10 for Chamber members and $20 for future members. Attendees can register in advance at or call 239-332-2930.

PF&A Design is sponsoring the event and Nova Southeastern University is the evening’s scholarship sponsor. Women in Business’ Annual Sponsor is HBKS Wealth Advisors and HBK CPAs & Consultants. Leadership NEXT’s annual sponsor is the Florida Gulf Coast University Alumni Association. Additional sponsorship opportunities are available for the January program.


Serving Lee County and surrounding areas since 1989, the Greater Fort Myers Chamber of Commerce, Inc. is a business organization that provides solutions and serves as a catalyst for growing the economy. The Chamber represents over 725 professionals and businesses throughout Southwest Florida, empowering, connecting and uniting members through meaningful networking, educational and community- and business-focused programs and events. For additional information regarding membership opportunities or events, please call 239-332-2930 or visit For the latest news and updates, follow the Chamber on Facebook at

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