Welcome to 2019! The holiday season is behind us and all of us in the Chamber are looking forward to an exciting new year! We closed December with a wonderful mixer hosted by the great team at the Homewood Suites by Hilton. General Manager Rhodora Escobar did a fantastic job with the food, beverages and atmosphere as they combined our mixer with their 16th anniversary celebration. The event was festive and we had a large turnout of both regulars and new people.
This year, the chamber will be concentrating its efforts to strengthening the board, growing our membership and integrating the officers and our new CEO. No, it’s not a typo. If you started on page one of this issue you have no doubt read that the chamber has a new CEO, Madison Davis. She was (by far) the best candidate that was interviewed by the executive search committee to serve as the next leader of the organization. I believe she will do a terrific job of moving the chamber forward and expanding its reach to a more digital and younger demographic, while maintaining the great success and momentum that our chamber has exhibited over the past 20+ years.
In June, I alerted Bruce Bonar, the board chair, and the entire board of my intention to step down with the target date of January 2019. We started the search process, interviewed candidates, evaluated everyone, chose finalists, conducted more interviews and finalized the selection, completing the paperwork at the end of December.
I became affiliated with the Brisbane Chamber in 1990, when I started employment at Hitachi America, Ltd. on Sierra Point. Little did I know that I would be writing this column 29 years later. I served in a board member capacity for many of my 15 years at Hitachi. In 2008 I was selected after a lengthy interview process to serve as the executive for the organization.
During these (many) years, I have had a wonderful journey. I cannot list all of the wonderful board members who helped to make the experience as fun and rewarding as any chamber could be, but I consider many of them to be friends that I hope to keep as I step away. Long-time board members such as Larry Purcell, Rich Borghello and Tamara Heath have been with us during this journey and newer members such as Dan Carter, Freddy Beaman and the remainder of the current board have made it fun and rewarding. Together we have put programs together such as the Annual Excellence in Education Awards, which have given over $275,000 in scholarships to local students; exposed every 8th grader at Lipman Middle School to business and governmental operations for the past 25 years; promoted our local businesses at our annual Business Expo, and hosted many “mixers,” “Candidate’s Night,” “State of the City”, “State of the County” and other events that I have probably forgotten along the way. I am also very proud of what we have created as our team helped the Luminary evolve into a true “Business and Community Journal.”
First and foremost, it has always been about the people that I have had the opportunity to work with. Our chamber members, city staff members, members of the various city councils, planning commissions, school board members, school district staff members, the students, our citizens and our regional officials have always been helpful and eager to lend a word of advice (or opinions) when necessary and needed. And of course my “office mate” for these last 10+ years, Alison Wilson, who makes the hard stuff, look easy.
Brisbane is a unique, quirky, and wonderful place where people do get involved and truly walk their talk. The community and businesses have a healthy dialog and even if they don’t always agree on everything, they always work together to make the city a better place. Although I will continue to serve the city in a limited capacity working on Economic Development projects, it will be different. Instead of “we,” the chamber will be “they,” and I expect that will take a bit of getting used to. It has truly been an honor and a privilege to represent the Brisbane Chamber, its’ members and the citizens over these many years. Thank you.