Comstock's magazine 0319 - March 2019 - Page 59

What would surprise people about your chamber? “We have both a local and a state- wide chamber. This means we’re well-equipped to help our local members, because we have statewide influence. And we operate two federal centers: one that helps small, disadvantaged mi- nority-owned businesses get access to contracts in the transportation sector, and the other is focused on helping mi- nority-owned businesses export to Asia.” “For the past five years the Rocklin Chamber has returned 10 percent of our event profits to our nonprofit members, including the Placer SPCA; KidsFirst; the Matt Redding Foundation; and various student groups at Sierra College, Whitney High and Rocklin High.” — Robin Trimble, Rocklin Area Chamber of Commerce “We are one of a few chambers that have a Water Committee. It works with the City of Woodland to seek viable solutions to flood protection. Our chamber repre- sentatives worked with regional agencies, elected officials and other partners for the success- — Pat Fong Kushida, Sacramento Asian Pacific Chamber of Commerce ful completion of a surface wa- ter project for Woodland and Davis.” — Kristy Wright, Woodland Chamber of Commerce What’s the greatest obstacle you’ve had to overcome at the chamber? “Being taken seriously when you are in- vited to have a seat at the table. You have to be that much smarter and work that much harder, because typically you are only one of a handful of women and a mi- nority that is in the room.” — Pat Fong Kushida, Sacramento Asian Pacific Chamber of Commerce “When the 2008 financial crisis began, we saw that members were making budget choices. Chamber investments — and tickets to our fundraising events — were at the bottom of the list. This crisis was a huge hit to our local economy and, in turn, a massive hit to our organization.” “We have fielded more than our share of calls and requests for quotes regarding immigration. The current climate has brought out some great allies and some not-so-great social media comments and voicemails. Fear, bias and racism, unfortunately, have always been a part of our world, but have been getting loud- er and uglier. I am exceptionally proud to be one of the voices sharing the good stories — the amazing successes of our Latino-owned businesses and their contributions to the betterment of our community.” — Cathy Rodriguez, Sacramento Hispanic Chamber of Commerce — Kristy Wright, Woodland Chamber of Commerce “Having one of the smallest populations [of the ethnic chambers] in our city meant that we had to work harder to show that we were a worthy and viable organization, and that the entrepreneurs in the African-American community deserved all of the attention and support that other chambers were receiving for their respective members. We were con- tributing to the economic welfare of our city and region just like all of the others. We were providing technical assistance and training and networking opportuni- ties and hiring just like all of the others. It took years, but we have finally been acknowledged.” — Azizza Davis Goines, Sacramento Black Chamber of Commerce “The Great Recession of 2008-2011 and the long, slow and often sad climb to recovery.” — Denice Seals, West Sacramento Chamber of Commerce March 2019 | comstocksmag.com 61