Barbara Martinez: Living Her Dream at the Chamber

By Jennifer L. Warren

GOSHEN – Mr. Rogers. Mike Rose. Lucille Ball.

At first glance, the trio might appear to have little in common; however, to Barbara Martinez, they are superheroes, who have set the bar high as entertainers. It’s that very lofty standard that she aspires to in her position as Executive Director of the Goshen Chamber of Conference. Appointed earlier this year in February, Martinez was contacted by the Chamber President, Mark Kalish. Referred by a host of people, Martinez, at the time, was immersed in her very popular, Live Facebook/Instagram broadcast, “Where in the World is Barbara Martinez.”

“It’s a behind-the-scenes look at local businesses, a mix of Mr. Rogers, Mike Rose Dirty Jobs, with some comedic Lucille Ball effect thrown in,” explained Martinez, who previously worked as the Director of Communications for Orange County Chamber as well as the Confidential Secretary for the Sheriff’s Office. “I go behind-the-scenes as a guest-tasting food, skydiving and sometimes getting dirty doing different kinds of jobs.”

It was that hands-on, real-time approach and overall flavor of Martinez’ work that made her an extremely attractive candidate for the Executive Director position. She was “walking the walk,” developing a solid following while personalizing the connection between businesses and their patrons, all powerful, dynamic and very convenient for all those involved.

“The Facebook Live brings the community in to get to see a real intimate look at the businesses; I stop a moment in time, meeting the owners, talking about the business, seeing that human side and making a connection,” said Martinez about her broadcast. “It’s easy to say shop local because, but if you don’t have a human connection, you’re not going to make a bond with the business; so, when people go to the business after seeing the broadcast, they feel like they already know it-like having a warm invitation.”

That cozy, comfortable feeling has now carried over to Martinez’ work for the Goshen Chamber of Commerce, where she leads another Facebook Live broadcast, “Chatting with the Executive,” during the week for the business hub. In order to be a qualifying business for the show, one must be a Chamber member. Once selected, Martinez will meet at the owner’s business, receive a tour and depending on the day and product, she might be seen making a pizza, driving a horse around a track, or any number of other things, sometimes traditional, others zany, thus the fun of being live, much like Lucille Ball was on television.

“I make mistakes and laugh all the time-at them and at myself,” said a smiling Martinez. “That’s what makes it all so much fun.”

And fun she is having. Since becoming Executive Director six months ago, Martinez has revamped the membership benefits, initiated a radio station, “Goshen Chamber Connects” (WTBQ), broadcasting live every Friday from 12-1, allowing guests to talk live about their businesses, brought Facebook Live directly to businesses, and started a new website on May, as well as launched a new app-the only one of its kind in New York State that is mobile friendly. The proof of her hard work, talent and laser vision lies in the doubled membership as well as consistently sold out Chamber Breakfasts each month, something the vibrant Martinez has never once had to sell herself.

“I tell people-businesses what we have to offer and have them check out our website Facebook and Instagram,” said Martinez. “From there, I let them make their own decisions.”

Those choices have resulted in huge successes, a win all the way around- for the Chamber of Commerce, businesses, patrons, as well as Martinez herself.

“I get to do what I love and get paid for it” said Martinez. “You can’t beat that!”

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