Pat Vero Takes on the Role of Executive Director with an Open Mind


Laina Kitlowski, Assistant Editor

The Town of Erie puts on many events year round that bring the community together to have a good time. But how do these events come to be? Behind the scenes of it all is the Erie Chamber of Commerce, led by the new Executive Director Pat Vero. 


The Erie Chamber of Commerce works to support local businesses in Erie and provide them with opportunities to work together. Event Coordinators such as Pat Vero or Cory Thompson work behind the scenes to put together fun events that bring the people of the community together for annual traditions.


Pat Vero has been working as the Executive Director at Erie for the past 15 months after she officially joined the Chamber in January of 2022. After working at the Lafayette Chamber for 15 years as the Director of Marketing and Events, and closely working with the Erie Chamber for many collaborative events, she was drawn to switching over and taking on a more authoritative role at Erie. 


Not long after joining the Erie Chamber and adjusting to her new role, Vero was met with a positivity from the new community. “I have never seen a community so welcoming,” she explained. Throughout the first month, members and citizens came in to welcome her and just say hello, an action that did not go unnoticed by Vero. 


As the Executive Director, Vero has many tasks to fulfill and roles to play. She is behind the organization of specific community events, ensuring that they run smoothly and create a positive environment for the attendees. “In the last year I have implemented many networking programs and increased attendance at our special events, bringing more into our community.”


Some of the specific events that Vero works to organize and put on include a Coffee Connection on the first Friday of each month which joins different community members together to share ideas, the annual Parade of Lights put on by the different schools in Erie to kick off the holiday season, and many more social events where you can likely find Vero and explain your ideas to her for future input. But the event that stands out above all to Vero herself is the Town Fair and Balloon Launch that is put on every May. 


Erie Chamber Advertisement for Parade of Lights


The Town Fair and Balloon Launch is an event that hosts people both from Erie and from other towns. You can see beautiful balloons launched into the sky, followed by a fair hosted in Downtown Erie, full of food and other goods. It is one of Vero’s favorite events to coordinate. She explains that it, “brings down residents and non residents. Once an attendee sees all Erie has to offer they return to shop or eat.” Vero can join her business-like mindset with her outgoing personality to attract people to the Erie community. After a fun and organized event like the Town Fair, it is hard for people to stay away, and they are highly encouraged to come back. 


Vero also works closely with her fellow Erie Chamber co-worker Cory Thompson to organize events together. Thompson has worked at the Erie Chamber for 6 years as the Special Events and Member Coordinator. On and off for eight years, the two ladies worked together while Vero was at the Lafayette Chamber and developed a connection that allows them to collaborate on every process in running the Erie Chamber. 


“When she accepted the role as Executive Director with the Erie Chamber, she had to learn new systems, processes, events, work with a “new” Board of Directors and never hesitated to ask questions and learn new routines,” explains Thompson. Vero has been especially successful in her new role because of her “willingness to learn and take on new tasks.” After transitioning from one Chamber to another, Vero experienced differences in the way things are run, and Thompson has described her as staying “open-minded” and ready to take on all of those new challenges. 


Vero and Thompson both have strong backgrounds in previous job roles, which allows them to draw off each other’s knowledge and successfully apply it to running the Chamber. Without Vero’s “outgoing and friendly personality,” as explained by Thompson, the events in Erie wouldn’t be the same. Vero always puts a lot of work into the events she organizes, and always does so with the intention of bringing the community together to have a good time. 


After 13 years of service as Executive Director, Vero replaced Elle Cabbage, a respected community member by many, who contributed so much during her time working at the Chamber. It is a tough role for Vero to have to fulfill, but she does so effortlessly and is continuously getting more involved and familiar with the community. Thompson described how, she has 15 years of event planning experience so she brings a wealth of knowledge to our Erie events.” Not only does experience and knowledge contribute to Vero’s qualifications for the role, but as does her adaptable personality. 


While Chamber members like Thompson heavily rely on their Executive Director to make decisions and oversee certain events, Vero highly appreciates the help and skill of her co-workers as they help her transition into this new community. She described how, “Ms. Thompson is an integral part of the Chamber. When I came to the Chamber, I had experience with putting on events elsewhere, but not here in Erie. Cory has the experience with these events here and together we do a great job and have fun doing them.” 


Connecting with businesses is also an extremely important part of planning events in Erie in order to get the community involved and promote the local shops and businesses of Erie. Vero explained, “I most enjoy meeting the Business community and turning around to find programs that will help them succeed.”


It is always with a positive mindset and the best intentions that Vero goes into a business collaboration, which is why the events in the town are always so successful. Not only does Vero work with local businesses, but also individual members to kick start their business and get them noticed within the community. Businesses and community members rely on Vero in order to succeed, showing the importance of her role in not only the Erie Chamber of Commerce, but also the community as a whole. 


When talking about the specific businesses in Erie, something Vero enjoys collaborating with the most, she explains how, “There is not one business specifically.  Every business in the Chamber has different strengths and needs which makes it so enjoyable.” Because Vero is so open-minded and unbiased, a partnership with her would only lead to success. 


Now, in order to help these businesses reach accomplishment, plans must be made to help them create goals and join events to get noticed. Vero plays a big part in this aspect of the process as well, as she explained, “I love to organize Member Events, bringing our Business Community together.” 


Overall, Vero plays such a large role in the planning, organizing, and production process of the events in Erie that it often goes unnoticed by the public. It is never a bad idea to stop by the Erie Chamber office, located on 235 Wells St. in Old Town Erie, to stop by and thank her for all she does for the people and businesses of Erie. 


The Erie Chamber of Commerce has been a leading organization in Erie for years and years, and their focus on aiding the community is not faltering. For starters, there are no big plans and changes for the Erie Chamber in the years to come. Instead, they will continue their job of serving the community’s needs and organizing fun events that bring people together. Vero describes, “like any successful business, the Erie Chamber has always changed through time. We are responding to the needs of our members.  We are bringing in more ways for businesses to connect with other businesses, from networking opportunities to educational seminars.”


It is safe to say that while slight changes are bound to happen, the Erie Chamber of Commerce will continue their duty of making Erie as best of a town as it can be, all with the help of Vero and her talented crew of coworkers. 


As for Vero’s plan for the future of her career, she is so happy to now be a part of the Erie community and plans to keep her position during the years to come. She explains how, “I have been here a little over a year and feel that what I am doing as Executive Director is fulfilling and helpful to the community. I have no plans to retire.” This is exciting news for the community as they can expect to see and coordinate with her at many of the future events in Erie to come. 


Vero plays a large role in the community. From organizing events to connecting with businesses to help promote their products and services within the community, Vero is involved in every process. Though she is new to the role of Executive Director, and a leadership position in Erie, she is learning as she goes and doing everything with an open mind, bettering the community each and every day.