Guest Opinion: Looking ahead to a great 2019 for Chamber of Commerce


I am incredibly honored to be selected as the 2019 chair of the board for the Pleasanton Chamber of Commerce, and I accept this role with excitement, humility and pride.

I want to extend a special thanks to the past chair, Harold Roundtree of Uncle Credit Union, who, along with the board and staff, did an amazing job in 2018 promoting local businesses and helping to build a strong community.

Scott Raty, who had been Chamber of Commerce CEO since 2007, announced his retirement in 2018. We are so grateful to the many years of top-notch service and leadership provided by Scott, and we wish him well on his retirement. Harold and the executive team, led by past Chamber chair John Sensiba, interviewed many qualified candidates to fill the CEO position, and they selected an awesome new CEO, Steve Van Dorn, who has over 30 years of experience working in Chambers throughout the Bay Area. 2018 was a great year.

I am excited about 2019 and energized to work with such a wonderful new board. You will be hearing more from our board members throughout the year, as each will be focused on different areas of the Chamber's goals, which are centered around helping to support the business community and our residents.

The 2019 Pleasanton Chamber Mission will benefit businesses and residents by being the 3 "Cs":

* The Catalyst for Business and Economic

* The Convener of Leaders and Influencers

* The Champion for a Stronger Community.

I am pleased to introduce you to the 2019 Chamber Board of Directors (see image to right).

In addition, our talented Chamber staff of five bring more than 65 years of combined experience to the table each day, providing continuity and support to our more than 100 active volunteers. Thank you all for your hard work and support.

Pleasanton businesses contribute over 60% of the local tax base and collectively act as the economic engine that produces the jobs, incomes, investments and contributions that support our extraordinary quality of life. One of my primary goals as chair is to show residents and members many of the wonderful benefits and tools the Chamber can offer your business to help expand your business network and increase your bottom line.

Listed below are some of the issues the board and staff will focus on in 2019:

* Grow Chamber membership by showing a "value proposition" as a member to help your business meet its goals.

* Continue to support the highly energized Ambassadors, who help to educate our community on the value of the Chamber of Commerce.

* Help support the Young Professionals Group's mission of growing and supporting our future leaders.

* Work closely with the business community and the city leaders to update the 2020 Vision to a 2025 Vision

* Focus on workforce development with a Tri-Valley Chamber Alliance; consider holding a local job fair, women's conference and/or diversity inclusion seminar.

* Focus on philanthropic service groups and build stronger relations with nonprofit businesses.

We have a lot to do in 2019 and I hope you can get involved. Join me at the Business and Installation Luncheon 2019 on Wednesday, Jan. 30. Get your tickets today before it is sold out at

Everyone is invited to our monthly Chamber mixers. Bring a prospective member to learn more about what the chamber can do for you and what you can do for the Chamber. We want to hear from you. Stay tuned, for the best is yet to come!

Editor's note: Herb Ritter is the 2019 chair of the Pleasanton Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors. Ritter, owner of Ritter Investments LLC, is also a member of the city of Pleasanton's Planning Commission.

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