I am Mary O. Kerrigan, Executive Director of Step Up Ventura, a nonprofit dedicated to ending the cycle of homelessness where it begins…in early childhood.
Homelessness is very hard to escape, especially when you are born into a homeless family.
Homelessness is scary, especially for young children, and fear interferes with children’s ability to trust, pay attention, and learn.
Step Up Ventura will provide nurturing all-day, year-round infant and toddler care and preschool to homeless children, so that they can succeed in school and life. This will give their parents the time to get education, training, jobs and housing, bringing stability to their children’s lives.
Meeting that goal will take a lot, but our participation in the Chamber has helped greatly already. Chamber members have donated goods and services and sponsored fundraisers. At the heart of it, it’s all about relationships. We have formed some wonderful relationships with Chamber members.
As a Chamber Member I am delighted to be part of an organization where so many business members generously give to programs working to end homelessness. Step Up Ventura and I look forward to strengthening existing Chamber relationships and forming new ones in the coming year.
We invite Chamber members to join us in our fundraising efforts so that we may fulfill our promise to the homeless children of Ventura.
Hello, I'm George Tabata, Commercial Loan Officer at Ventura Community Bank (VCB), a division of Ojai Community Bank. I've been fortunate enough to work in community banking in Ventura County for over 30 years. I couldn't be prouder of our hometown.
At VCB, we provide financial products and personal service, tailoring our strategies to meet the clients' needs through local decision-making. Our Bank’s local lending programs allow us to continue to invest in our community’s future.
Our new downtown location is convenient and offers opportunities for partnership with downtown businesses, and the Chamber is now our neighbor. We love working with the Chamber because their programs go hand-in-hand with our goals. We're able to network with businesses that share our vision for a strong local economy. Whether it’s at a Business Expo, Connection Breakfast or the Poinsettia Awards, the Chamber has given us great exposure to potential customers while contributing toward Ventura’s thriving business environment.
Swift Chip is a Managed IT Services provider, serving all the IT needs of small to mid-sized businesses. We have locations in LA and Ventura counties, and provide 24/7/365 support to our many happy clients. As enthusiasts of making IT “just work” without the hassle, we are able to save our clients time and money, while keeping them on the cutting edge. We act as a contracted IT department for pennies on the dollar of what it would cost to have an in-house person, while providing an entire team’s worth of skills and experience.
Since there’s difficulty in a potential client being able to determine if an IT company is professional or not, we’ve gone out of our way to obtain the highly respected CompTIA Managed IT Services Trustmark, a 3rd party audit of our company and how we work. We hold all of our practices and policies up to scrutiny.
Additionally, IT Security is becoming ever larger of a focus for us, so expect to see some new offerings along these lines from us soon!
We’re very happy to have our two offices in Ventura, and Santa Monica, since that lets our team service a wide array of clients in SoCal.
We started small, and built the company from the ground up. We could never have gotten where we are today without the help of the Chamber!
Ventura County Credit Union (VCCU) has been a Ventura Chamber of Commerce member for over 50 years. My involvement hasn't spanned that amount of time, only 11 years, but what an 11 years it's been!
This Chamber CONNECTS. It connects business owners to the city and our local elected officials. It connects me with the best, most involved business; from restaurants to hair dressers to who I had repair my garage door when it broke last year. Most importantly, it connects me to small business owners -- helpful as I am the Business Lending Officer at VCCU.
VCCU offers everything a bank does, but with lower loan rates and higher interest rates. I pride myself on the level of service our local VCCU office gives to our membership and community. Stacy Oates, our Branch Manager in Ventura, is so dedicated to this community and the Chamber’s "Ventura Leadership" program. And I am actively involved with the Chamber's "Teacher of the Month" and "Principal for a Day" programs and I serve on the Board of Directors too. VCCU gives back in so many ways.
For more information about me, please visit the VCCU website.
Join! Renew! Get involved! There are so many opportunities for you to grow your business. Take it from me and my 11 years of being a proud Chamber member, it's worth the investment.
Photo caption: From left to right: Judy Tailor, Rachel Holst, Robert Jacobi, Lindsay German, Anthony Sewell, Karen Williams
At Main Course California, we love creating memorable events! Main Course California is a creative, service-driven catering company that specializes in sustainable, from-scratch cuisine and personalized care at every event. We specialize in off-site catering for private parties, corporate events, and weddings. From corporate cocktail parties to full-service weddings and event production, we are there every step of the way.
Main Course California Catering was started by Rachel Holst and Robert Jacobi in August of 2008. Originally we were going to just stick to catering. That changed when the economy hit bottom in early 2009. We decided that the only way out of the economically induced slump was to try and get as much attention in the local Ventura community as possible. We decided to open the Main Course Bistro and joined the Ventura Chamber. I figured; why not combine our talents and start creating new trends at the Chamber? In 2009 I joined the Chamber board and became the Marketing Chair. Together with then-president Sandra Burkhart and the Chamber team we created some awesome ideas to draw attention to the chamber and our company . One of the outcomes of our collaboration was what later became the well-known local event "Taste."
In 2011 Rachel and I decided to make Lindsay German our business partner. We closed the Bistro and concentrated on catering only. Main Course got noticed for our culinary ability and hospitality and customer service. We started to cater for some big names such as Lynda.com, Mercedes, Applied Silicone, VACE and CMH to name a few. We are currently the exclusive caterer for the Museum of Ventura County and always looking for new clients. Who isn’t? The Chamber helped us get here and I am looking forward to the next step already.
Hello, my name is Patty Brown and I am the owner of Dottie's Sweet Delights. Having worked (or should I say played!) as the Membership Manager at the Camarillo Chamber of Commerce for 4 years, I completely believe in the value, the benefit and the power of Chamber membership. As a small business, the networking opportunities and visibility the Ventura Chamber of Commerce offers is second to none.
As I launched Dottie's Sweet Delights in 2015, one of the most important things I had on my very long To-Do list was to become a member of the Ventura Chamber of Commerce. The first week Dottie's Sweet Delights (formerly 805treats.com) was "officially open for business" I was able to introduce my products at Ventura Chamber's TASTE event, and, as a result, I was able to create the buzz and the visibility I needed at a very critical time. The Ventura Chamber of Commerce is the perfect place for a business (especially a NEW small business) to go to grow their business and meet other like-minded business people!
Hello, I’m Derek Duncan. I own and operate TAG Computers, which is your Tech Assistance Group. We opened six years ago in Ventura to provide excellent, but affordable onsite computer & technical support for individuals and businesses for all of Ventura County. I come from a very corporate environment, working with Hewlett Packard and Proctor and Gamble for many years, and working with our local businesses has been the greatest opportunity ever. The Ventura Chamber of Commerce has played a vital part in helping my company establish itself by providing consistent opportunities, very friendly places and events to meet and build great relationships with businesses and loyal people in my community. The Chamber of Commerce has always helped people to find out where to go to get the best service in your community. This is because it is built from real people in our actual community who have used those services and products. Being born and raised, still living and working in Ventura, I believe in creating relationships built on trust, consistency, and a mutual belief in helping our neighbor. Being a member is not only FUN, but it is also a way to create ever lasting relationships with others in the business community. Thank you Ventura Chamber and Happy New Year!!
At MortgageCouch, we've worked tirelessly over the last year to become the "Most comfortable home loan broker in Ventura County." Our team would never be able to provide our outstanding clients with such "comfort" through this challenging process, if the community at-large didn't, in turn, make us feel comfortable.
At MortgageCouch, we ARE the Chamber. We've built and cultivated so many valuable relationships with a wide range of Ventura Chamber businesses, from FASTSIGNS to Surf Brewery, as well as sponsoring Ventura County's Fusion soccer club. Last month, we closed our first home loan for a Chamber member - Colleen's Weddings Your Way, and donated $500 to the charity of her choice, the Easter Seals. In addition, our philanthropic endeavors also include Chamber non-profits: The Cal-Vet Home of Ventura, Food Share, and Project Understanding.
At MortgageCouch, we want to revitalize the home loan acquisition process throughout the region, and we've taken a giant step toward that lofty goal through our invaluable relationships with the Ventura Chamber and its fine members.
We ARE the Chamber and we ARE Ventura County's mortgage broker. For more information, please visit www.mortgagecouch.com.
I am excited and honored to be interning for the Chamber. I look forward to learning about different aspects of the business world from the Chamber staff and its members. I have always wanted to be a part of an establishment that strives to make their community better, and I have found that in the Chamber. Since day one, I could hear how passionate its staff and members are in supporting local businesses and its community.
I currently study at California Lutheran University where I am majoring in Business Administration. I have taken classes in Management, Event Planning, & Marketing, so it excites me that I can now apply my knowledge to events that the Chamber is hosting.
I am from Oxnard, but I can honestly say Ventura is my second hometown. I spend much of my downtime looking for eateries on Main Street or surfing the swells of C Street. I am very grateful to intern for the Chamber and work with you all. To be mentored by the Chamber staff is an opportunity of a lifetime, and something that I will value forever. With a view of the Pacific Ocean to my right and the local mountains towering over me to my left, I wouldn't want to intern anywhere else than in Ventura.
We decided to join the Ventura Chamber of Commerce in 2014. This was something that we felt would vastly improve our business. We did not want to just be a Chamber member; we wanted to be involved with the Chamber. This is why Theresa proudly serves as a Chamber Ambassador.
Joining the Chamber was one of best business decisions we made for our business. The Chamber helped us in promoting our bakery as well as advocating on our behalf with the City of Ventura. We've received nothing but "great support" from fellow members as well. I Would Rather Be Baking Co. was an on-line bakery up until last October.
After patiently waiting for the right situation to open up our retail store front, we were very pleased that the opportunity came up in the City of Ventura.
As one of the few bakeries in the area that offer custom cake designs similar to those seen on TLC's Cake Boss makes for a very busy bakery. Many of our customers refer to us as the West Coast Cake Boss. We've had tourists from New York, Boston, and Chicago buy cannoli's and say that it makes them feel like they are at home. We offer cookies, cupcakes, lemon bars and cannoli's daily. Our experience with the Chamber has been one of seeing Chamber members support one another. Chamber members come in to purchase baked goods for their clients and their families and the referrals we receive are much appreciated!
For more information, please visit www.iwouldratherbebaking.com
PODS of Tri-Counties has been a member of the Ventura Chamber of Commerce since we opened our doors 10 years ago. From the moment we joined, we were able to learn more about the local business environment and have had the opportunity to network with hundreds of local business owners at countless events, giving us the chance to promote PODS and create partnerships with other businesses and local non-profits. The Chamber allows me to promote my business through various marketing tools and will advise on any city business issues I may be facing. The Ventura Chamber of Commerce is a true advocate for the local business industry and teaches you how to properly network and make the most of your time while at an event. I recommend any new business owner to take part in this wonderful organization that always gives its unwavering support for a business’ success.
Hello, my name is Stephanie Becerra and I have been an active member with the Ventura Chamber of Commerce since 2000. I recall the first Chamber event I attended; I walked through those doors of that crowded room not knowing a soul, and seven years later I was Chairman of the Board. What happened between that first event and installation was a whole lot of personal and professional development. The business connections, the professional relationships, and the friendships that have cultivated as a result of active involvement are many in number and invaluable. Through my involvement I have been afforded many great experiences I would have foregone had I merely sat on the sidelines. It wasn’t always easy or dare I say comfortable, but it was always rewarding. I am fortunate to work for Montecito Bank & Trust where my boss, Marni Brook and our CEO, Janet Garufis, both of whom are former Chamber Board Chairs in Ventura and Santa Barbara, respectively, firmly believe in the collaborative power and the benefits the Chamber has to offer. I have always maintained that if you are in business, you are a Chamber member. Dues are required merely to sustain the operation of this wonderful business advocate. My advice is to join and participate, and everyone will reap the benefits of your actions, especially you!
I can't imagine my business life without the Chamber in it. With much of my life growing up spent on teams, I've always thrived when surrounded by like-minded individuals. That is exactly what I found from the moment I joined. Everywhere I looked were people like me, hungry for success, passionate about what they did. I had found my teammates to take into the trenches with me.
I started out like most of us do, hitting a networking event here, a business expo there, even helped launch the first iteration of the YPG. However, it was when I joined the Marketing Committee and had the fortunate luck to build the Ventura Chamberwebsite that my membership really took flight. My clients saw my involvement as a positive and it brought me amazing opportunities I could not have forged without the Chamber's support.
Switching careers? No problem! The moment I told the Chamber staff and fellow members I was becoming a real estate agent I was met with warm encouragement and asked to serve on the Board of Directors as Vice Chair of Communications. Not a bad way to deepen my connections with community leaders and local moguls on a regular basis right? Needless to say, I'm better at what I do because of my Chamber membership.
While living in the San Fernando Valley in the 90’s, I joined and was a Board Member of the Woodland Hills Chamber of Commerce where I learned the benefits of Chamber Membership. Upon relocating to the Ventura Area in 2008, I took a job as sales rep with what was then Vista Honda. I discovered that though the company had been a Ventura Chamber of Commerce member for several years, no one was representing them at the various functions and events. I quickly jumped in to be the face and voice of Honda at these events because my experience has always been that the benefit you get out of the Chamber of Commerce is dependent on the amount of effort you put in. With this in mind, I am now an Ambassador, I attend the Connection Breakfasts, I go to Mixers and participate whenever and wherever I can. Yes, it takes up some time but the recognition, referrals and customers I have gained over the past six years have been nothing short of tremendous. And best of all, what I really love about the Ventura Chamber of Commerce is that all of these efforts have always been lots of fun! The staff is supportive, the membership energetic and the events always well planned and attended. Thanks, Chamber, for being all that you are!
Hi! My name is Kerry Swift and I'm a Massage Therapist at Mayfair of London. I've been in business for myself for several years but just joined the Ventura Chamber of Commerce in February. I now wonder why I waited so long to become a member! I believe we have a Chamber and support staff like no other. There are so many ways to get involved and there's always something offered to support us in growing and developing our businesses. I chose to get very involved from the get-go. I joined the Ambassadors, have attended a couple of the Biz-Connect groups, I never miss a breakfast meeting or The Mix (I think I have won a raffle item almost every time!), and have attended other events such as the Business Expo, ribbon cuttings, and basically any event that is offered that I can attend around working my business. I have also gotten involved with The Teacher of the Month program. This is a wonderful way to thank the teachers that are doing an excellent job with our children, as well as being able to promote our business in the process. I have met some really exceptional people, the cream of the crop. And the icing on the cake is that I have gained clients. It takes a month or two for people to get to know you and trust that you are someone they want to do business with. Not only have I gained some Chamber members as clients, but I have also gotten referrals. One member now comes in 1-2 times every month and another entrusted his expectant wife with me for a pregnancy massage. I love promoting the Chamber and its members to others. Networking is key for anyone who wants to grow their business and get to know others and the Chamber is the best way I have found to do so. And it is fun!
My name is Greg Bird and I AM THE CHAMBER. Since 2000, I’ve worked for Gold Coast Broadcasting, LLC, a locally owned group of six radio stations serving all of Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties. GCB has been a member of the Ventura Chamber since 1997. Currently, I serve on the Chamber’s Marketing Committee, and have done so for the past four years.
I maintain a close relationship to the Ventura Chamber of Commerce because quite frankly, it’s good for business. Whether I attend a Mixer, Training Module, Networking Breakfast, Business Expo, or some other event, I know the Ventura Chamber will provide a fine value for both my time and money. From my perspective, the very best business relationships contain some sort of personal connection to the other person. The Ventura Chamber of Commerce provides a platform where business professionals can come together for fellowship, frivolity, and fun.
Zig Ziglar taught me long ago; I get more of what I want, when I help others get more of what they want. And that is how it goes with the Ventura Chamber of Commerce. You truly get out of it, what you put into it. I found that my years of media experience could bring value to the Marketing Committee, so that is where I focus my energies.
Networking is the backbone of the Chamber of Commerce. Come to an event, and meet someone new. You never know …. your next big client could be a handshake away?
Hello, I am Kristy Marin! I decided to become a full-time Independent Mary Kay Beauty Consultant at the beginning of this year, so I quit my job and started working my business. With more time on my hands I bought a ‘How to Network’ book and it advised me to join my local Chamber…So I did! Surprisingly, I lived right near the Chamber office. A home based business like mine can die without networking, personal connections, and referrals. At my first Chamber breakfast I met Lorie Balzer of Oasis Real Estate, she advised me to get involved…So I did! I am now a Chamber Ambassador and get to serve and volunteer at Chamber activities and events. I go to the Mixers which are always a great time; I am also part of the steering committee for the Home Based Business Support Network which will be geared towards businesses like mine. Since I’ve joined, my business has been growing steadily, I have access to business resources I did not have before, I network, and I am having a great time. With the Ventura Chamber as part of the backbone of my business, I know my business will continue to thrive and grow. I want to say THANK YOU to those I’ve met, those I will meet, and those I have and will do business with. Special THANK YOU for the AMAZING staff at the Chamber office who always provide incredible service with a smile! See you at the next event!
We joined the Ventura Chamber to promote our company, Central Coast Imaging Solutions (suppliers of Canon office equipment). Our customers range from home offices to large corporations, mirroring the Chamber's members. We joined the Chamber Ambassadors, held a ribbon cutting and participated in all of the networking activities. We found this to be a very effective marketing strategy for CCIS. As an Ambassador, we were also encouraged to attend other committee meetings and Board meetings. At one time, Workman's Compensation rates increased dramatically and put our company at risk. The Chamber's Legislative committee jumped into action, went to Sacramento to appeal for reform...and made a difference. When there was talk of a healthcare reform, the Chamber formed a committee to research and recommend a solution that would be business friendly. After experiencing how the Chamber could impact business and economic growth, I remained on the Legislative committee. Traveling to Sacramento, Washington D.C. and China with the Chamber has provided me with a deeper understanding of our political environment and a global education. Currently, I am a second year Director on the Board, Trustee on the PAC, and the Chair of the Legislative Committee. All of the activities that our company has participated in with the Ventura Chamber have added great value to our company.
I learned early on in my career how important it is to stay connected with the business community and be an active participant in the markets I serve. Through this I have built lasting relationships with my clients at Pacific Western Bank that goes beyond the confines of an office. No other group has helped me achieve this more than the Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber has helped me effectively market my business, provided me with numerous networking opportunities, offered programs that help educate and inform, and offered many chances to serve the community. Not only that, but the Chamber continues to put business first through their advocacy and support of legislation that is business friendly. I am proud to serve as a Chamber Board member and am thankful for all the Chamber has done to help me succeed in my business and stay connected to our wonderful community.
I joined YPG to make a real difference as a young professional. I truly wanted to help develop a platform where my peers can come together for networking, referrals and professional development.
After joining the group, I soon volunteered as Events Co-Chair. Being able to plan and promote YPG events is a true honor. During my tenure, I have met so many wonderful young professionals in the community. By partnering together not only can we grow within our careers, but also make a real impact in our community.
For example, last year YPG spearheaded fundraising campaigns for local nonprofits including the Bell Arts Factory. The highlight of the year was our December “Holiday Cheer” campaign where YPG provided gifts to teenage girls living in foster care. New to YPG in 2014 will be our Books & Brew Reading Club, Social Saturdays and Lunch Mobs. All of which are informal gatherings of YPGers intended to provide a casual opportunity to connect outside of work. We are also in the midst of launching our new Professional Development series aimed at helping YPGers take their careers to the next level.
Aside from all the professional aspects of the group, YPG is vehicle for developing lasting friendships with likeminded people. The camaraderie within YPG is a large part of why I continue to serve on this committee. We are always looking for new members and I highly encourage my peers to attend one (if not all) of our events.
Furthermore, if your company or business would like to consider sponsoring or hosting a YPG event, please feel free to contact us anytime. To learn more please visit our Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/VenturaYPG
I have been a member of the Ventura Chamber for almost year, and it has been one of the best decisions I ever made, the only regret was to not joining sooner. The Ventura Chamber holds monthly mixers and Connection Breakfasts, has four different networking groups, one of which I belong to. This has given me the opportunity to meet and network with a lot of other business owners. I have received a lot of business from many Chamber members, servicing their homes and businesses. My involvement and attendance at Chamber events has resulted in getting plenty more referrals. I believe every business owner should be part of the Chamber. I gladly accepted being a Chamber Ambassador and have done my part to share my positive experience of being a member to new and fellow business owners. The bottom line is the Chamber is the most valuable tool for my business and if I was to start my business again I would join the Chamber right after getting my business license.
I’ve been a member of Biz Connect since September 2012. Not only is Biz Connect a great way to meet some terrific businesses as potential clients but I have used several fellow Biz Connect members for my own business purposes. Chamber events like mixers and the Connection Breakfast are great to get my business known within the larger business community but Biz Connect lets me know these businesses on a deeper level, thus increasing the chances of referrals. Whether a fellow business owner like me or an employee of a terrific company, these members keep this group hopping. I have formed close alliances with fellow Biz Connect members; members of my own group as well as other Biz Connect groups. Biz Connect has helped my business grow while getting to know other great business people with the Chamber as a whole.
The Chamber has been great at providing me assistance with navigating some of the hurdles of opening my new business. And as a result I’ve developed great relationships within multiple city departments. Through the Chamber, I have also developed new relationships with other business owners in Ventura. The Chamber continues to support me and my business by referring customers to my restaurant. I can’t say enough about them. The membership is well worth the cost. It’s comforting to know these fine people are looking out for me and supporting my business.
As a new member to the community 13 years ago and new to my second profession of Real Estate, I knew it was important to make both business and professional connections. I was fortunate to meet someone early on that invited me to attend a Chamber event and the rest is history.
As with anything, you get out of something what you put into it. My Chamber membership has allowed me to keep current on developments in the community – what businesses are coming, issues that are relevant to business function on a local and state legislative level, opportunities to welcome new businesses in the community through the Ambassador group, networking through the greater Chamber activities as well as the small Biz Connections groups sponsored by the Chamber.
Being a Chamber member for the past 13 years has allowed me to develop relationships and knowledge about our local businesses and to forge wonderful personal relationships. Truly, the Chamber people are like a second family to me.
When I moved to Ventura in 2008, I was faced with the challenge of building a business network from scratch. I knew nothing about Chambers of Commerce, but learned the Ventura Chamber of Commerce sponsored a monthly networking breakfast, which was a start. I arrived at the event to find a banquet hall filled with people; the event involves each attendee giving a 20-second commercial for the entire group. I was nervous, and am embarrassed to admit I thought the commercials would be boring. But my commercial went fine, and I heard others that were so entertaining I laughed out loud. The people were very friendly and professional; after the event, another attorney, Rick Nyznyk, introduced himself and invited me to lunch. In the years since, good networking with fun people has been a hallmark of my experience with the Chamber, and I’ve built relationships with people throughout the business community.
Gold Coast Transit has been a Ventura Chamber of Commerce member for over 30 years. We find the Chamber to be a valuable resource that allows us to reach out and interact with local businesses and their employees. The Chamber helps us to be informed about new legislation, the development plans of the City, and new businesses that are opening in the City.
As a government agency we work closely with businesses and other governmental agencies and find the Chamber of Commerce provides a valuable link and means of connecting with the businesses and agencies in Ventura. Networking opportunities, business expos, training classes and other information resources are valuable benefits of being Chamber of Commerce members.
Having been born and raised in Ventura, I thought I knew everyone and everything about “my” wonderful town. But the Ventura Chamber of Commerce has given me the opportunity to not only learn more about Ventura and the surrounding areas, but to connect with people and businesses I never would have had a chance to with my own circle of contacts. I am now an active member of the Chamber through the Teacher of the Month program, I attend many of the annual events and try to make a few ribbon cuttings too. Most importantly, I am able to help my fellow Chamber members get loans to expand their businesses and have built strong relationships with the people and businesses of Ventura.
The relationships from the Chamber have generated numerous referrals and great community connections. A recent passionate Chamber source that I am involved with is the Green Task Force. The Green Task Force has empowered our business to work “green” and assisted us to become a certified green business in Ventura. I also enjoy going to the Connection Breakfast each month. The breakfast is a great way to stay connected with the community, discover upcoming happenings, meet new contacts and advertise your business. Oh, and how could I forget about the Teacher of the Month recognitions. Each month a teacher is recognized for their outstanding achievement, sponsored by the Chamber and local businesses. This is one of the many ways the Chamber has empowered us to give back to the community. Thank you Ventura Chamber.
In the summer of 2005, I was excited by the endless opportunities being the new owner of FASTSIGNS of Ventura would bring. I was new to the area and looked forward to becoming part of the community. The best advice I got was to join the Ventura Chamber, get involved and give it time. Being an active member has been a great way to very quickly learn about our wonderful city. I have made so many business connections and great friends.
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