It's a new year and with it comes new opportunities.

Your Westerville Area Chamber of Commerce is honored to be a part of the Year of Leadership taking place in Westerville through 2017.

With all of the changes coming into the new year, we first needed to celebrate the great strides your chamber took last year and honor leaders making a difference in our community. On Jan. 31, we celebrated the "Lightbulb moments in life" at our Annual Meeting and Awards Dinner, where two new recognitions were presented.

The first was an Innovations Spotlight, which featured the great work happening at the Point at Otterbein with edgeThingz and the future of home deliveries with DHL Supply Chain in collaboration with AirGo Media's drone presentation.

The second recognition was the creation of two new awards for the Business of the Year (under 50 employees), given to Northstar Family Dental, and (50 or more employees), given to Roush Honda. These were followed by our ongoing annual awards for Business Person of the Year, Don Barlow with Westerville Public Library, and Young Professional of the Year, Lisa Armitage with Goldfish Swim School.

Important dates

According to the 2016 Annual Survey, roughly 65 percent of members polled said networking was their top benefit of joining the chamber. Your chamber has a lot of quality educational and networking events coming up.

The first of three YP Breakfast Round Tables will take place Feb. 16, which will feature Tanny Crane, Crane Group. Later on Feb. 16 will be our Business After Hours hosted at the Point at Otterbein. The following week will be a Combined Chamber Business Expo on Feb. 21.

Registration is now open for our March quarterly membership meeting -- Smart Cities: What's the Big Idea?

Finally, applications for the Westerville Area Chamber of Commerce Music & Arts Festival, presented by Heartland Bank, are available on the chamber website.

If you are an artist or know of someone interested in exhibiting in our juried art festival, please apply now. The application deadline is March 24. The festival will take place July 7-9.

We are excited for what is in store for our 49th year of supporting the business community of the Westerville area.

Please let us know what your chamber can do for you by contacting us at 614-882-8917 or by email at info@westervillechamber.com.

Janet Tressler-Davis is president and CEO of the Westerville Area Chamber of Commerce, which provides Chamber Corner to ThisWeek Westerville News & Public Opinion.