Message from the President & CEO
The San Rafael Chamber of Commerce begins the year 2017 with an increase in membership, with nearly 180 new companies joining us last year. We are the largest and most influential Chamber in Marin County. Our diversity spans across industries, demographics and locations throughout the North Bay. We represent small, large, Green, for-profit, non-profit, local, and national businesses. Each and every voice counts. Whether you just joined us this year or have been a member for decades, your membership helps shape us as the esteemed organization that the San Rafael Chamber is today. Every effort has the potential to enrich each of us as individuals, as well as further the mission of securing the economic future of our City and our County. We rely on your expertise, insight and passion to help lead our community. We invite you to gather and help us celebrate the outstanding contributions that business makes towards moving our community forward at the annual State of the City Dinner on March 16th, 5:00pm-9:00pm at Peacock Gap Clubhouse. I hope that you can join us.
Through the work of our passionate volunteer Board and committees, we are working on developing our strategic plan and priority focus for the year ahead. Chamber committees are made up of dedicated volunteers that further the work of the Chamber in the community. Each committee is made up of YOU, our members, and you have told us what matters most to you and your organization. Below is just a sample of some of the activities you, our members, are planning for the year ahead:
The Ambassador Committee continues its regular outreach to our newest members by hosting Power Lunches and Coffee networking opportunities. The Ambassadors are the public relations arm of the Chamber, a group of friendly and helpful business people who serve as the backbone of the Chamber's membership programs. Chamber Ambassadors welcome our new members and help them learn more about their membership benefits while assisting them in making connections in our business community. The Power Lunches and Coffee meetings are a great way to get and stay connected to the Chamber community.
The Economic Vitality Committee will continue with their business retention and expansion interviews in 2017 and speak with over 100 companies. We continue to collect data from the interviews to help us identify any obstacles or common themes for businesses operating in our city and meet with officials to build awareness of the issues and collaborate on solutions. We are currently weighing in as an active participant on the Downtown Parking and Wayfinding Study group. The Chamber will also have two representatives on the General Plan 2040 steering committee and voice your opinions on Land Use, Housing, Circulation, Economic Vitality and more. Stay tuned for more on these…
The Governmental Affairs Committee (GAC) will be focusing their efforts on several key issues that are affecting You, our members and businesses in San Rafael and Marin. They include workforce housing, transportation, job creation and homelessness. Once again, we are co-hosting the North Bay Legislative Summit with the Santa Rosa Chamber on February 24thto create a legislative agenda of State policy issues. This agenda will form the basis for any future efforts from our partner Chambers at the State level. Though the GAC engages in State politics as it pertains to our regional issues, our main focus is what is happening at the local level. Chamber leadership meets regularly with local officials. We were excited to hear that there are 15 projects on the Development watch list for Downtown and that eight of them are housing opportunities. Equally exciting is expanded economic development efforts by city staff, including the exploration of possibilities opened up by the passing of Prop 64, and participation in the East San Rafael Working Group alongside business and property owners. In an effort to keep you directly connected and abreast of the latest news, we are hosting several coffee meetings with elected officials including Mayor Phillips and Supervisor Connolly. Let your voice be heard. Please check our website for details.
We have partnered with Dominican University Barowsky School of Business to bring you a special discounted rate on their Executive Education program. For a limited time, Chamber members who enroll in The Making of Visionary leaders will receive a 20% discount. This certificate program is designed for those seeking to take their business or personal performance to the next level. It is perfect for graduates of the San Rafael Leadership Institute. More information.
We continue our partnership with Mill Valley, Corte Madera and Tiburon Chambers on hosting Essential Seminars for Small Businesses. The latest one on Employment Law 2017 was extremely well received. If you missed it, we will continue to offer you seminars in the year ahead on the latest trends to help your business blossom in 2017 and beyond. The next workshop is April 5 -- Marketing Your Business in 2017.
This is just a sample of the scope of work planned ahead. I will continue to update you as the other committees finalize their business plans and develop their priority activities for 2017. If you wish to get involved and make a difference by participating on a committee, please call the Chamber office at 415-454-4163 and we’ll get you connected to our talented volunteer committee Chairs.
Whether you ever open an email, serve on a committee, attend an event or participate in one of our programs, the Chamber is working for you. Promoting Business and Building Community at the same time. When you have a question, need a resource or face a problem, we’ll be here for you.
Joanne K. Webster
President and CEO
415 454 4163 x 101