Message From the Board Chair
Happy 2017 and welcome to your San Rafael Chamber of Commerce. We are grateful for you whether this is your first year in the Chamber or your 99th – our Board and Staff are working together with you for local business.
I am honored to be the Board Chair for 2017. Along with the turn of a new year comes reflection. As I write from my desk in East San Rafael I see not only the trajectory of our local businesses individually but the trajectory of our Chamber as a whole, the Chamber to which we all belong. In 2016 the Chamber has grown in size and scope with an increase in membership renewals of more than 10% as well as a 7% increase in new memberships. We have increased participation in our Economic Vitality Outreach Program and raised the profile of our Leadership Institute.
Growing our member base is important but we strive for both an increase in quantity of members as well as the quality of our events, programs and influence. The State of the City dinner, the Business Showcase and the Women of Industry events were the most successful yet this past year. We also added some events like our Ambassador Program’s Power Lunches and our Green Business Briefs. We have increased our partnerships and collaborative efforts with other Marin County Chambers in 2016 and look forward to more of that this year. We continued and grew the reach of our business retention and expansion interview program. In three years, we have interviewed close to 400 San Rafael businesses, yielding measurable results such as a reduction in MMWD requirements and costs for new businesses, a monitoring program for City planning and building department efficiency, and a downtown parking study to name a few. And, we got to make a personal connection with the people in all the businesses we interviewed. We also created the East San Rafael Working Group to better understand the needs and issues faced by a neighborhood that is one of the City’s largest economic engines.
Which brings me to what lays ahead. In 2017 your Chamber looks forward to expanding our partnerships and strengthening our community. We will further grow the East San Rafael Working Group to include more businesses small and large as well as more voices from the non-profit arena. We will expand our partnerships with the Downtown Business Improvement District, the Marin Economic Forum and Sustainable San Rafael. We will keep our focus local and explore greater local marketing efforts. We will work together with our members to enhance your exposure and your connections.
With new partnerships we can expand our influence, strengthen our advocacy and improve our local economy. In 2017, we all belong. We belong to this Chamber, this community, this City and this life. I look forward to collaborating. Welcome.
Stephanie K. Plante
President, CPi Development