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Unemployed business executives network for jobs

Western New York Executive Candidates meeting
WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley
Western New York Executive Candidates meeting

By Eileen Buckley

http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/wbfo/local-wbfo-901137.mp3

Buffalo, NY – Business executives are among the region's unemployed. But a networking group is designed specifically to assist in their job search. WBFO'S Eileen Buckley recently attended a meeting of the Western New York Executive Candidates.

Click the audio player above to hear Eileen Buckley's full story now or use your podcasting software to download it to your computer or iPod.

Members of the Western New York Executive Candidates meet every Tuesday at a church in West Seneca. Each member delivers a 20 to 30-second elevator speech, explaining their professional experience.

The meetings sound much like an executive board session. You will hear them talk about newsletters, e-mail blasts, press releases and best practices. The meeting leadership follows a tight agenda with time limits to share job leads and professional business information.

Brian Carrier lost his job as an IT professional. Carrier is among 25 other unemployed middle to upper managers in this business networking group. Robert Durante formed this organization last September and is with the Buffalo and Erie County Workforce Development Consortium.

"A group like this really helps people, not only to look for work. but to develop professional skills they have," said Durante.

But you can't just show up at a meeting. You must met a certain criteria to be selected to join this networking group.

Durante says income and education are part of the criteria. But he said to be selected members must have a level of professional experience and skill, proven project management and significant contributions to profits.

Members must take an active role. They share contact information and ideas of how to land a job.

Rob Mydzian has been unemployed for a year. He lost his job in Eastern Europe due to the financial crisis while working for an American company based in Delaware. Mydzian is an engineer, but boosts other skills.

"It's not a pity party by any means", said Mydzian.

Other members of the Western New York Executive Candidates include a food industry expert, former business owner and an unemployed geographic information systems expert. Donna Chestnut lost her job with the Town of Amherst in January as part of budget cuts. But Chestnut says participating in this business networking group provides positive reinforcement in her job search.

"We all love coming to the group...we are here to get jobs and here to support each other," said Chestnut.

Those participating say Western New York Executive Candidates keeps everyone on track and inspire them to conduct an active job search. The organization already has a proven track record. Since last September, 26 members found new employment.

As a workforce specialist, Robert Durante, says it is his job to lead the unemployed to good, high paying jobs, that he insists exist in this region.

The unemployment networking group also has an active Website. You can learn more at Western New York Executive Candidates.