Changing of the guard at Riverhead Chamber of Commerce


After four years as executive director of the Riverhead Town Chamber of Commerce, Mary Hughes is preparing for a new endeavor.

Come March 1, Ms. Hughes will be the community outreach coordinator at Peconic Landing in Greenport. Heidi Inzerillo, who was the Riverhead Chamber of Commerce executive director from 2006 to 2010, will replace Ms. Hughes as interim director beginning on Monday.

“The biggest thing I’ll miss here is working with everyone I’ve met — the members especially,” Ms. Hughes said.

The chamber currently has about 200 members. “I can’t say enough about them,” she said. “I really enjoy working for the members.”

During her time, Ms. Hughes has introduced numerous things to the organization. She “brought the chamber into the 21st century” technology-wise by updating the membership system and getting the chamber more active on social media.

Additionally, Ms. Hughes is one of the founding members of the Suffolk County Alliance of Chambers, an organization designed to give small chambers a voice in government and allow them to collectively be heard, she said.

She also got the chamber to participate in The New York Times and Boston Globe travel shows.

“That’s an accomplishment — especially The New York Times travel show, because people come to the booth and they’re so excited that Riverhead’s there,” Ms. Hughes said. “They’re very impressed by it.”

While she admits she’ll miss her time at the chamber — especially the ribbon cuttings — she knows Ms. Inzerillo is the right person for the job. In addition to holding the position at Riverhead, Ms. Inzerillo was the executive director at a chamber of commerce in Ohio for three years before moving back to Long Island about two years ago.

Because of this, Ms. Inzerillo understands a lot of the chamber’s programs and knows a lot of the people in the town, making her the first person the board thought of to fill the position, Ms. Hughes said.

“I’m looking forward to seeing the members that I worked with as well as meeting the new members of the Riverhead chamber,” Ms. Inzerillo said of returning to the position.

She said her main goal is to “address any needs that need to be filled” for the businesses and community at large while here.

But because she’s been gone for a few years, Ms. Inzerillo said she plans on learning about what Ms. Hughes has introduced to the chamber of commerce and realizes it’s important to understand where it is now.

Plans for the future include a new membership campaign, which is currently happening, beginning a mentorship program for high school or college students, and expanding their volunteer and intern reach.

Most importantly, Ms. Inzerillo is happy to be back in working in the town she spent a lot of her free time while growing up on the North Fork.

“Riverhead has always been where my heart is,” she said. “I have a fondness to Riverhead and a connection to the businesses, the individuals and the community at large. So that love for Riverhead never left me when I left Riverhead.”

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Photo Caption: Mary Hughes, left, had her last day as executive director of the Riverhead Town Chamber of Commerce on Friday. Heidi Inzerillo, right, is the chamber of commerce’s new interim director. (Credit: Nicole Smith)