As a long-time member of the Greater Bakersfield Chamber of Commerce, I am excited to serve as the 2018 Chairwoman of the Board. The Chamber has been a driving force in the local economy since its founding in 1920, and as we head into our 98th year, the support of our members is more important than ever. Our organization is a cornerstone of the Bakersfield community, and our volunteers are amazing. Our member involvement allows the Chamber to celebrate ribbon cuttings and anniversaries, plan enlightening class days for our Leadership and Youth Leadership Bakersfield programs, and review ballot initiatives and legislation amongst many other things.
One thing I want all of our members to know is that even if you are not as actively engaged in the Chamber as you’d like to be, the Chamber is always working for you. We will continue to champion initiatives and policies that support economic growth, highlight the great partnerships and projects happening in our community and develop the next generation of business and community leadership. Here are just a few of the initiatives we will be working on:
- A priority in 2018 will be assisting our small business members with labor law compliance and connecting them with procurement opportunities. The Chamber will expand our Labor Law and HR Forum series, and include more compliance tools. As a former HR professional, I can attest how important it is for businesses to stay current on California’s ever-changing labor laws.
- The Chamber will be producing our second annual BizClimate Survey. The survey’s first composite results provided valuable intelligence on how our membership views the economy, barriers to growth and the priorities the Chamber should focus on in the coming year. This year, we hope to dive deeper on challenges identified in 2017, including workforce development and health care.
- Through a partnership between the City of Bakersfield, the County of Kern and many local companies, work has begun on a Regional Branding Initiative. The goal is to improve the external image of Bakersfield and Kern County. We believe this effort will be integral to driving economic growth and the recruitment of highly-skilled workers. The Chamber is serving as a fiscal agent and facilitator for this important project.
- We are proud of our reputation as an unabashed advocate for the business community and for aggressively working to elect pro-business candidates. With 2018 serving as an election year, there will be challenges and opportunities for businesses on local and state issues. BCCPAC, the Chamber’s Political Action Committee, will continue to support business-friendly candidates and work with other local business associations to amplify our collective voice.
As we enter 2018, the Chamber is committed to serving our membership. On behalf of the board of directors, I want to thank you for allowing us to be stewards of the Chamber, and we are here to work for you – our members.
2018 Chairwoman of the Board
Manager – Policy, Government & Public Affairs, Chevron