New SB Chamber Board Chairman Sees Bright 2013
New Chairman Scott Hadley is the managing partner at Bartlett Pringle & Wolf, Santa Barbara’s old certified public accounting firm, which opened in 1948. Hadley has been with BPW for 15 years. BPW has been a chamber member since it started operation.
“Our 2013 business plan will be unveiled Feb. 7 at the State of the Chamber luncheon at the Coral Casino,” Hadley told Santa Barbara View. At the earliest, Hadley said, a replacement for 24-year chamber chief Steve Cushman could be named by the end of March.
Cushman retired abruptly in May, just after with the chamber vice president and marketing chief left. Former Ventura chamber chief Zoe Taylor was named interim president and chief executive officer. Taylor initially was brought on board to serve until this month or until a replacement was found.
Hadley said the chamber is posting the national search for a new leader with the Western Association of Chambers of Commerce. Applicants will be interviewed in February, he said.
Meanwhile, the chamber is trying to grow its more than 800 members to the level of its glory days before the recession when membership was well over 1,100. Some now former member said they were not getting enough return on the hundreds of dollars paid in dues to the chamber annually. Many quit the group and joined other organizations.
Hadley said the chamber board is turning that trend around. “The chamber will be the voice of businesses,” he said. It will provide more networking events, business information and advocacy to supports its members, said Hadley, a Buellton resident who earlier served as chamber treasurer.
The new chairman said the group has surveyed its members and found more of the things they want from their membership. “We hope people will come out and give the chamber a good look,” he said.
Spirit of Entrepreneurship Nominations Sought
This week, nominations opened for awards to honor eight woman entrepreneurs in Santa Barbara County, while raising scholarship money for future business people.
The Spirit of Entrepreneurship Foundation, formerly the NAWBO-SB Foundation, will stage a gala awards dinner in May to honor the eight winners and present scholarships to local student entrepreneurs. Winners will be nominated in eight categories. Nomination deadline is Feb. 22.
“We have added a new category this year for Emerging Businesses to level the playing field for women who are just starting their businesses,” said Cathy Feldman, board chairwoman and CEO of the Spirit of Entrepreneurship Foundation. “Anyone can nominate herself or someone else just by going to our website, www.soefoundation.org and clicking ‘nominations’ and filling out the form.”
Feldman said selection of winners will be done by independent judges who are not connected with the foundation to preserve the integrity of the awards. The top three nominees in each category will be recognized, but the winners will not be announced until the dinner at the Fess Parker DoubleTree Hotel & Resort. Lynda Weinman, co-founder and executive chairwoman of lynda.com, will be the MC for the event.
The Spirit of Entrepreneurship Awards is held in with the Scheinfeld Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation at Santa Barbara City College. A week before the event, the Scheinfeld Center will put on its New Venture Challenge, a two-tiered business pitch competition for SBCC students and area high school students to promote youth entrepreneurship.
Three student prizes at the college and high school level will be awarded. Winners of both tiers of the New Venture Challenge will be the foundation’s guests and receive their prizes at the Spirit of Entrepreneurship dinner. Proceeds from the awards will fund cash prizes for the student winners.
“The mission of the Spirit of Entrepreneurship Foundation is to support entrepreneurship at all levels in Santa Barbara County because entrepreneurs are the engine for growing our economy,” Feldman added. “By recognizing both women and student entrepreneurs with the Spirit of Entrepreneurship Awards, we believe we are making an important contribution.”