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2014 BEST Chamber Event: Santa Rosa Chamber of Commerce

Author: Elaine B. Holtz
May, 2014 Issue

“Events are a fun way to gather, network and support one another.” —Jodi Shubin

Improving existing programs and activities that contribute most to the success of its members is one of the goals of the Santa Rosa Chamber of Commerce. Janet Rogers, director of special events and Leadership Santa Rosa, creates events that are interactive. Those who attend walk away feeling they’ve learned something about other businesses and members. Rogers believes the more opportunities members have to interact, the more opportunities they have to acquaint themselves with each other and each other’s businesses and form stronger relationships as a business community.
In May, the chamber will begin its Small Business Breakfast Program with Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom’s “Small Business: California’s Economic Growth Engine.” Rogers’ goal for this breakfast is to reinforce the fact that the chamber supports all business sizes. “Often, we’re looked at with the perception we’re only for large businesses. We want small business owners to know they’re welcome—the chamber membership is actually comprised of more than 90 percent small businesses,” she says.
Also in May, Showcase Sonoma County, the chamber’s largest and most interactive networking event, is ramping up once again to celebrate and highlight the brightest business leaders from the most dynamic companies in Sonoma County. There will be exhibits from almost 100 businesses—from tech, finance and manufacturing to restaurants, wineries and breweries.
Jodi Shubin, director of client and community relations at Pisenti & Brinker, is executive board division chair of the chamber’s special events committee. She points out the annual gala, which always sells out, and Sonoma County Showcase as some of the most popular events. There’s also the golf tournament, which is one of the largest and most popular events in the area, and the Educators Breakfast in August, which will be sponsored by the business community to honor teachers for their dedication to our youth.
What stood out for Shubin last year was the Agri-Business BBQ, which brings agriculture and the business communities together. More than 400 guests attend to honor one of Sonoma County’s top agricultural leaders. At the barbecue in 2013, Dan Benedetti was honored for his contributions to the dairy industry and his leadership of one of Sonoma County’s most recognizable and iconic brands, Clover Stornetta Farms. He was joined onstage by his wife and several grandchildren, who walked to the stage holding signs of affection for their “Nonno” (“grandfather” in Italian). One of the signs read, “I like Nonno because he makes Clover milk.” Says Shubin, it not only touched everyone’s hearts but also gave all a sense of community.
“Events are a fun way to gather, network and support one another,” Shubin says. Other events the chamber holds are a monthly mixer, Wake Up Santa Rosa, Ribbon Cuttings, Business After Hours Mixer, Leadership Santa Rosa plus workshops and seminars. Events are an important part of the chamber’s mission to support, promote and advocate for its members and create a vibrant, sustainable economy in the region.



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