After a six-month selection process, the Board of the Brisbane Chamber of Commerce has selected a new President and CEO to lead the organization. Madison Davis, Brisbane native and Mayor/Councilmember, has been appointed to succeed retiring President and CEO Mitch Bull.
The appointment follows a lengthy recruiting and interview period, starting in June when Mitch announced his intention to step down in early 2019. The executive committee formed a search committee and we posted the job description on multiple recruiting sites Zip Recruiter, Indeed.com, Craigslist and the chamber-centric website for the Western Association of Chamber Executives (WACE), as well as putting out the message locally through word of mouth to local chamber executives.
Despite the booming economy, interest was high in the part-time position and the committee received 16 applications from interested candidates. Following telephone interviews, the list was whittled down to the five candidates that best met the criteria for the position, as well as were geographically located within the greater bay area.
The selection committee followed with outreach to the finalists and set up interviews. Although every person interviewed could perform the functions of the position, Ms. Davis stood head and shoulders above the other applicants with her broad knowledge of marketing, corporate outreach, social media skills and (obviously) her knowledge and commitment to the community and familiarity with the chamber. Through two sets of interviews, she showed a keen knowledge of not only the community in general, but the “modern” business environment where social media, trend marketing and millennial outreach will be critical factors for organizations going forward. As a result, the search committee (Tamara Heath, Freddy Beaman, Teresa Montgomery, Dan Carter, Rich Borghello and myself) recommended unanimously to offer the position to Ms. Davis.
“It would have been easy for us to select a semi-retired, seasoned executive for the position and it would have worked, but all of us on the search committee wanted to find the best person that can lead the chamber and understand the unique needs and relationships that exist in our unique community,” said Dan Carter, who continued “Madison was the best candidate and handled all of the questions we could throw at her. Plus, no one we interviewed had the knowledge and experience (of Brisbane) that is critical.”
We researched the potential areas of “conflict of interest” and found out that the instances of elected officials serving as CEO’s of chambers or trade associations are not uncommon. Recently the cities of South San Francisco and Redwood City have experienced the same situations. We have met with city staff and legal professionals to discuss the parameters of the positions and the areas where potential conflicts can occur, and we are working to ensure that the rules and laws are strictly followed with board member business brought before an elected body such as the city council.
The Brisbane Chamber of Commerce has historically served only to bring information to the citizens during the political process. We do not ever support individual candidates or individual ballot issues. We work with the League of Women Voters to provide impartial forums for candidate during election cycles. Unlike other chambers, we do not have a Political Action Committee or such groups within the chamber. We exist to create an environment where the overall community, residential and business, can flourish.
I speak for the entire board when I say that we are excited and pleased to have found such a capable person to serve as the staff executive. We believe Madison will do a wonderful job in the position and continue to represent the best interests of the citizens of Brisbane. We welcome her to the chamber team and wish her much success during her tenure.
I would also like to take this opportunity to acknowledge our outgoing executive. Mitch has guided the chamber for the past 11 years and served on the Board of Directors for over 15 years prior to becoming the President/CEO in 2008. His work on our major programs such as Students in Business and Government; Excellence in Education, State of the City/County programs and the Annual Business Expo have really created a long-lasting link bringing our businesses and citizens together. He also remade the Luminary, turning a monthly newsletter into a true business and community journal that brings information to everyone in town. I also speak for the board when I wish him well on his reduced work schedule going forward. It has been a pleasure working with him.
While the change in day to day management will be something that we haven’t had for 11 years, we are looking forward to new ideas, and activities that we will implement together going forward.