The Bronx Chamber of Commerce’s former president has stepped down after its board changed his title.
After 13 years of service to the chamber, most of them as president and CEO, but recently as its events director, Lenny Caro was recently hired by Mercy College to serve as its chief of Government and Community Relations.
The new position, according to the college, will help strengthen the college’s existing relationships while also building new ones with businesses, elected officials and educational organizations in the borough.
Caro officially began his new position at the college’s Bronx campus on Tuesday, September 8, according to Catherine Cioffi, a Mercy College spokesperson,
The campus is located at the Hutchinson Metro Center, in the same office complex where he performed his chamber duties.
Caro will be in charge of fundraising, finding business partners that could enhance internship and employment opportunities for Mercy College students.
He will also be tasked with driving enrollment at their borough campus located at 1200 Waters Place
Cioffi spoke of Mercy College’s involvement with the Bronx Chamber of Commerce serving as a member of the chamber’s board.
The college has been familiar with Caro for years, she said.
When looking to fill the position, Caro came to mind after some searching, she added.
Caro’s educational background was not an important factor in filling the position, the spokesperson said.
The number one requirement for someone to be hired for Caro’s new position is a strong passion for the borough as someone who wants to see it succeed and thrive, she said.
“Lenny is a perfect fit for this position and we are so thrilled to have him on board,” said Cioffi. “Lenny is the epitome of the Bronx having served on the Bronx Chamber of Commerce for 13 years, and we’re excited to see what wonderful opportunities he has to offer our college and our students.”
Joseph Kelleher, Bronx Chamber of Commerce chairman, confirmed Caro’s passion for working with and supporting youth and young adults throughout his years at the chamber.
This included bringing New York Yankee baseball players to visit pediatric cancer patients at Montefiore, and visiting local schools with Ray Negron, who is part of the New York Yankees front office and author of a children’s books.
“He’s very passionate about helping the youth and in spreading a message that they can become whatever it is that they dream,” said Kelleher. “Lenny is now doing what he is so passionate about.”
“I’m very happy for Lenny and I believe this position was made for someone with his same dynamic personality. This is going to be a wonderful time for Mercy College,” said Geri Sciortino, a Bronx Chamber of Commerce board member and owner of Bronx Design Group president.
“At the time he was hired, the chamber was in dire need of bringing itself back out and reestablishing itself,” she said. “We needed a person who could market that on a large scale, and make the Bronx and the city aware that the Bronx Chamber existed and was getting its footings.”
During Caro’s tenure at the Bronx Chamber of Commerce, the chamber had difficulty maintaining membership, according to John Collazzi, Bronx Chamber founder and current board member.
“I believe our new executive director, Michelle Dolgow Cristofaro, will be able to correct the situation and bring the Chamber along so that its members receive the benefits they expect,” he added.
“With Michelle’s superior academic background, the issues of the past will be rectified,” Collazzi concluded.
Under Dolgow Cristofaro, Lisa Sorin, also a board member, indicated that she is confident the chamber will continue to grow.
Sorin said that Cristofaro has been working behind the scenes and this will be an opportunity for all to see the quality of her work.