Cristina Chianese honored as woman of distinction by State Sen. Biaggi


Cristina Chianese, president of the Pelham Chamber of Commerce, was honored as a woman of distinction by State Sen. Alessandra Biaggi.

Each of New York State’s 63 state senators nominates a woman of distinction from their district to receive the award. “These women are selected by their state senators to serve as role models for others to emulate and follow,” said the state senate’s website.

“What makes this award even more special to me is that Senator Biaggi is the one that has recognized me,” said Chianese. “She is a true role model for any civic-minded person. I have admired her work. and I’m so incredibly appreciative for all she does in and around Westchester.”

Prior to being president of the chamber, Chianese worked for several companies including NBCUniversal, Discover Communications, Sundance Channel and AMC Networks. With the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, however, Chianese shifted her focus to volunteer work to support small businesses and her community.

“During the early days of the pandemic, my volunteer efforts grounded me and gave me a sense of purpose during an unthinkable time,” said Chianese. “It kept my spirits bright and gave me a surge of town pride.” 

I want to maintain Pelham’s charm and unity and maybe even find new ways to make it even more special.”

— Cristina Chianese

“I have wanted to take my passion for marketing and apply it to the Town of Pelham since we moved here,” she said. “I used to pitch all my crazy local marketing-initiatives ideas to my husband, but it wasn’t until March of 2020 when my passion for marketing and love of our town came together. I started my efforts through the Junior League of Pelham. There was a call to league members to help the local businesses put together Easter baskets that could be sold in a Covid-safe way. I remember organizing baskets in Susan Quintin’s garage—at a distance with a mask on, feeling a sense of purpose and calm that we were doing something that could help others during the pandemic. From there, I knew I wanted to keep going and help other businesses. My efforts ranged from putting together marketing ideas to help generate revenue, building e-commerce platforms for businesses to literally taking over a gift shop and running it out of my home.”

Chianese attributes her love of Pelham to its sense of community. “I grew up in Long Island, where you knew your immediate neighbors and you knew your classmates, but towns were not nearly as connected as they are here,” she said. “Within a few months of living here, shop owners knew my name, my children’s names, my favorite items to purchase and always left me with a feeling of belonging.”

The warmth of Pelham is at the core of why Chianese continues to give back to the town, as it fills her with pride to be able to live and raise her family in a town that is so community-focused. Chianese resides in Pelham Manor with her husband John and two kids, Nicholas and Mackenzie.

“When I take walks with my family, it’s almost impossible not to run in to a neighbor or friend,” she said. “The idea of giving back to such a special place has always been a no-brainer for me. I want to maintain Pelham’s charm and unity and maybe even find new ways to make it even more special. As a mom, I also love having my children watch me volunteer. In fact, several of my Chamber efforts have been a full family affair and my kids look forward to it! I think it’s really important for children to learn the value of giving back and doing things not for a paycheck but for an even greater reward… because your efforts have a positive impact on others.” 

“Volunteer work is hard and time consuming, so you want to make sure you enjoy it and you are having fun. I have made some of my best friendships during the last two years. I feel so lucky to have been given the opportunities I have to make the impact I can.”