January 22, 2018

Auburn business owner is chamber's third female chair

Kate Sharry.

Kate Sharry, the owner of Auburn business consulting firm Group Benefits Strategies, is the Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce's new chairwoman.

Sharry becomes only the third female head of the board, joining then-president of Quinsigamond Community College Sandra Kurtinitis and Susan Mailman, the owner of Coghlin Electrical Contractors and Coghlin Network Services.

"It's really exciting," Sharry said of her role as a woman leading the chamber's board.

The Paxton resident first joined Group Benefits Strategies in 1994, later buying the company from her father in 2012. The 10-employee company helps municipalities and businesses with employee health insurance, benefits, audits and claims. It is the Massachusetts' largest municipal health insurance consultant, Sharry said.

"I love working with my clients, working in this office and being in this industry," Sharry said.

As the chamber board chairwoman, Sharry said she'll support the chamber's mission to recruit, retain and incubate businesses, and increase awareness of programs, events and workshops that the chamber offers regularly to its business members. She will advocate for lower business tax rates in Worcester, which unlike many communities has a higher commercial tax rate than its residential rate.

"A lot of our businesses are small family-run businesses like mine," Sharry said. "We just want to keep that momentum going and have it not hinder growth over the next years."

Sharry has been a member of the chamber's board of directors since 2014 and has served for two years on its Women's Leadership Conference Committee. She serves on the Worcester Business Development Corp.'s board of directors, the Worcester Homeless Youth Task Force, and the Planting the Seed Foundation.

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