Chino Valley Chamber of Commerce Impact Report
July 1, 2022 – June 30, 2023
Greetings to our valued community,
As President and CEO of the Chino Valley Chamber of Commerce, I am honored to bring you our annual report, a testament to the resilience, innovation, and success of our Chamber and the businesses we represent.
This year, we focused our energies on strategic initiatives, including implementing Upskill Chino Valley effectively, doing a better job at telling our story, making legislative action a priority and outreaching to businesses with a purpose.
Our successes are the collective achievements of our dedicated team, our supportive members, and our vibrant community.
A special thank you to County Supervisor Curt Hagman for which the kickoff to this program would not be possible. Everything that was accomplished below was thanks to the support of Supervisor Hagman and Chino Valley businesses in 2022 and 2023.
We also want to thank State Senator Connie Leyva and Assemblymember Freddie Rodriguez for helping us secure funds to continue this programming for years to come.
Implement Upskill Chino Valley Effectively
Our commitment to fostering a thriving business community extends beyond networking and legislative action. We believe that a robust workforce is the cornerstone of any successful business. Under the guidance of our Workforce Development Director, Renay Sehgal Mehta, we’ve facilitated impactful initiatives that have led to significant business growth and career development opportunities.
One such initiative is our On-the-Job-Training program. This program aims to help businesses expand their workforce while also providing meaningful employment opportunities for our community members. A shining example of this initiative’s success is Manuel, CEO of Student Hires. Through the program, Student Hires expanded its workforce from 3 to 20 members to cater to the growth of their after-school program, reaching from 54 to 230 students. This resulted in an allocation of $19,920 in on-the-job funds for Student Hires.
This year, we’ve achieved the following milestones:
- Placed 100+ people in full-time jobs
- Posted 75+ career openings on the Chino Valley Chamber Job Board
- Worked with 135+ businesses to support their workforce needs
- Referred more than 800+ businesses to San Bernardino County Business Workshops
- Referred more than: 800+ businesses to the San Bernardino County HR Hotline
- Connected 10+ businesses to free San Bernardino County Business Consulting program
- 9+ Employers participated in On the Job training program receiving more than $59,169.60 in funds to support the growth of their business.
- Hosted 6+ Successful Job Fairs supporting 1,000s of job seekers, 100s of businesses
- Chino Valley Chamber Job Board generated more than 31,064 views for the 61 businesses currently participating
- Sent 9+ Hiring Newsletters to 2,396 community members
- Hosted the State of Workforce with Dr. Angelo Farooq and Bradley Gates
- Hosted Congresswoman Young Kim for Fireside Chat on local workforce initiatives
Success Story: Kardar Insurance
Chairman’s Circle Sponsor, Kardar Insurance Agency, has benefited greatly from our efforts. They received $15,600 in OJT Funds year-to-date, allowing them to bring new talent onboard.
One such talent is Travis Lafond, now working with Farmers Insurance – Kardar Agency. He shares his experience: “Prior to my current employment, I owned my own business. As a ‘solopreneur,’ I quickly found how difficult business ownership is in many ways. When I was offered a position to continue my career in the same industry because of these on-the-job training funds, I was ecstatic. Since completing the on-the-job program through San Bernardino County, I have learned many skills and strategies that will allow me to continue in success for many years to come. Being able to align myself with another professional in my field and learn from her past experiences and expertise has proven to be invaluable for me and my family. Thank you, Renay, for helping put this together!”
We look forward to continuing these programs, leveraging our partnerships, and creating further opportunities for businesses and job seekers alike in the coming years.
The Chamber has successfully partnered with prominent organizations that place the Chamber regionally for collaborations.
In July, Renay was recognized as Woman of the Year by Assemblyman Freddie Rodriguez. This recognition is a testament to Renay’s impactful work and her commitment to enriching the Chino Valley’s economic and social fabric.
The Chamber is currently prioritizing workforce initiatives aimed at addressing the prevailing workforce challenges in our region. To accomplish this goal, Renay and I have undergone training in acclaimed skill-based programs and U.S. Chamber Talent Pipeline Management. These initiatives are designed to enhance the skills and capabilities of our workforce, contributing to the overall development and growth of our region’s talent pool and creating upskill career pathways.
The heart of our Roundtable program lies in our commitment to fostering an environment where industry sectors and cross-industry partners can come together to collaboratively address the challenges faced by local businesses in the Chino Valley. This initiative is more than just a series of meetings; it’s a strategic tool designed to generate solutions and opportunities that ensure our local businesses not only survive but thrive.
Through our bi-monthly industry-specific and non-industry specific roundtables, we engaged with 10-20 businesses each session, creating a melting pot of ideas and constructive feedback. These insights have informed actionable strategies and helped shape the future direction of the program.
Incorporating innovation into our dialogues, we convened special logistics and medical roundtables, bringing together businesses to brainstorm on industry-specific challenges and opportunities. The discussions helped inform our future programming, leading to enhanced Talent Pipeline Management, partnerships with trade schools, industry-focused community events, and ongoing roundtable dialogues.
Our Roundtable program unites our efforts in Diversity, Equity, Accessibility, Inclusion (D.E.A.I.), and Innovation under one banner, fostering an inclusive and innovative dialogue among diverse businesses. This year, we facilitated in-depth discussions with 49 minority-owned businesses across a range of sectors. This gave them a platform for representation, and the chance to articulate their unique challenges, particularly in relation to capital access. By leveraging these insights, we’re exploring new funding opportunities and grants to bolster their growth and success.
The Roundtable program is a multifaceted platform designed to leverage the power of diverse viewpoints and innovative thinking. Our primary objective is to create an environment where industry and cross-industry partners can collaborate effectively, crafting solutions to challenges, and paving the way for all businesses in the Chino Valley to thrive.
Career development opportunities abounded as we created more than 100 career pathways for Chino Valley Unified School District students via mentorship, job shadowing, internships, and more.
The Chino Valley Chamber of Commerce, under the stewardship of our Youth Programming Director, Nicole Tabatabai, is deeply committed to nurturing future leaders and facilitating the seamless transition from academic pursuits to successful careers.
This past year, our programming reached over 5,200 students across the Chino Valley Unified School District. This was achieved through a comprehensive roster of workshops, fairs, and competitions, bringing together students, educators, and local businesses for mutual growth and enrichment.
Our significant accomplishments include:
- Successfully placing 45 students in internships, providing them with invaluable professional experience. These internships were hosted by esteemed organizations such as EJD Engineering, Student Hires, AACE Home Care, Anita Kundi, DO, Peterson’s Family Chiropractic Office, City of Chino, Transamerica Financial Advisors, and more.
- Facilitating 21 events involving Chino Valley businesses, fostering a greater understanding and connection between our students and the local business community.
- Organizing the Chino Valley Emerging Leadership Program for 36 promising students, aimed at cultivating leadership skills and offering practical exposure to the professional world.
- Hosting the Kids Entrepreneurship and Student Pitch Competition, engaging more than 250 students and attracting over 1,000 community attendees. The competition was a platform for students to showcase their entrepreneurial skills, leadership, and potential, with finalists receiving over $5,000 in awards.
Looking to the future, we are excited to continue these programs and to introduce new workshops focused on soft skills and financial literacy. We also plan to host more Kids and Teen Entrepreneur Fairs and Career and College events, aiming to reach even more students in the upcoming academic year.
Our commitment to the students and community of Chino Valley remains unwavering. As we continue to develop and implement programs that address the workforce challenges of our business community, we look forward to creating even more opportunities to positively impact students and our business community.
Our Chino Valley Leadership Collaborative program became a reality, drawing 25 attendees across various organizations in the Chino Valley. The program facilitated a nurturing environment that enhanced communication and collaboration among community leaders. In addition, we are working on an Innovation Council to guide the Upskill Chino Valley program and foster growth and innovation in our community.
Our Leadership Program saw active participation from diverse sectors, ranging from manufacturing, education, trade, to government, entertainment, and utilities. Over the course of 10 days, we toured an impressive 29 different sites, including city halls, museums, fire and police departments, healthcare facilities, and unique businesses. These engaging sessions offered a unique insight into the operations of these organizations and helped build stronger bonds within our community. The tours fostered a sense of interconnectedness among organizations that often operate in isolation, thereby cultivating potential business development opportunities.
One of the stipulations of the Chino Valley Leadership Collaborative program is to coordinate and plan a Community Good Project. For our inaugural Community Good Project, our leaders raised funds for the Chino Valley Fire’s Heart Safe, Bleed Safe program. So far, an AED has been placed at BikeFix in Chino and another is scheduled to be placed at Buffalo Wild Wings in Chino Hills. The installation of these AED’s will go to helping save Chino Valley lives.
Have a Better Storytelling Voice Highlighting the Work We Are Doing for Businesses / Community
We made a conscious effort to strengthen our storytelling voice and illuminate the work we are doing for our businesses and community. Our monthly newsletters now regularly showcase Chamber successes, member stories, hiring opportunities, and legislative actions. Our community engagement director, Julia Cabrera, routinely informed our City Council about our Chamber’s operations at council meetings.
Under the strategic guidance of our Marketing Director, Josie De Vera, the Chamber’s reach has continued to expand, bringing our members and the local community even closer. We take great pride in our marketing efforts that serve as a pivotal tool in promoting our businesses, events, and initiatives.
This year, we experienced a 7% increase in our social media following across platforms, growing from 7,374 to 7,893. This growth is a testament to the valuable content we share and the meaningful engagement we’ve fostered with our audience.
Moreover, we saw a notable increase in email subscriptions, from 2,131 to 2,399. With an impressive open rate of 36%, we are reaching and resonating with our audience, providing them with essential updates and opportunities available through the Chamber and our members.
Member Anthony Lopez of Anthony Lopez Insurance stated that the Chamber’s marketing efforts not only provide resources to individual members but also allows members to be resources for others.
Q Tran of Inland Family Optometry said, “We are truly grateful to be part of the wonderful Chino Chamber! The organization has helped our small optometry practice, Inland Family Optometry, better connect with the local community as well as build relationships to each other grow. Some of the ways the chamber include: Connect us to other businesses that may need our service, In our case- eyecare or optometry and including our business in the Chamber business directory, website, social media, and newsletters. ”
These achievements underscore our commitment to enhancing our communication channels and providing ongoing value to our community. We are committed to continually improving our marketing efforts to ensure we serve our businesses, members, and the Chino Valley community in the most effective ways possible.
We are excited about the growth we’ve seen this year, and we look forward to further expanding our reach and impact in the coming year.
Additionally, we used our digital platforms to regularly share insights about upcoming events, Chamber successes, and the advocacy work we are doing for our businesses. We are proud of our unique business spotlights, which have helped to support and elevate our members.
Make Legislative Action a Priority
As part of our commitment to making a difference for our members, this year the Chino Valley Chamber of Commerce elevated our Legislative Action program. We have been actively engaged in influencing policy decisions that directly impact our members and our local economy. We attended all Inland Empire Chamber Alliance meetings, participated in all CalChamber phone calls, and hosted monthly legislative action gatherings. Notably, our Board Member, Jeff Vaka, was recognized as the Small Business Advocate of the Year by Cal Chamber, marking an important achievement for our Chamber.
In a rapidly shifting post-pandemic economic landscape, we have worked diligently to back legislation at federal, state, county, and local levels that aid our members’ businesses. We have continued partnerships with the Western Association of Chamber Executives, the US Chamber, and the Inland Empire Legislative Alliance, to strongly advocate for the policies that we and our members have agreed upon.
Below, you’ll find a summary of our positions on key legislative issues throughout 2023 which you can also find on our website.
- Request for an extension of the Cal Fire Public Comment Fire Hazard Severity Zones Deadline
- SR 83 R.A.I.S.E Euclid Ave Chino Creek Bridge project
- SB 67: ODMAP
- Request for state and federal funds for Chino Valley Fire District’s Fire Station 68 and Essential Resource Facility (ERF)
- SB 703: Work Hours Flexibility
- AB 1669: California Historically Significant Commercial District Act
- SB 330: Labor Code Private Attorneys General Act of 2024
- Chino Basin Program Support Letter
- FTC ruling on Non-Compete Agreements
- SB 253: Climate Corporate Accountability Act (WEINER)
- SB 261: Climate Related Financial Risk (STERN)
- AB 524: Discrimination based on family caregiver status
- AB 1156: Workers’ Compensation for Hospital Employees
- SB 809: California Fair Employment Housing Act: Fair Chance Act of 2023
- SB 365: Civil Procedure: Arbitration
- SB 616: Paid Sick Days: Accrual and Use
- SB 627: Displaced Workers: Notice: Retention and Transfer
- SB 399: Employer Communication: Intimidation
- AB 1000: Qualifying Logistics Use Projects
- SB 723: Employment: Rehiring and Retention: Displaced Workers
- Proposed Tax Increase Provisions in the Senate’s “Protect Our Progress” Budget Plan
- Elections: Initiatives
- AB 1228: Fast food restaurant franchisors and franchisees: joint liability
- SB 220: Income taxes: credits: corporate tax rate: minimum franchise tax: critical needs fund
- SCA 7: Employment: workers’ rights.
By steadfastly advocating for our members’ interests, we aim to create a business environment conducive to the success of our members in the Chino Valley and beyond. The Chino Valley Chamber of Commerce remains committed to ensuring our member businesses thrive and our local economy flourishes.
Outreaching to Business with Purpose
Purpose-driven outreach remained at the core of our efforts. We identified and reached out to businesses in key industry sectors, including Health Care, Manufacturing, Logistics, Non-Profits, and Retail Stores. Our ambassador team connected with more than 200 businesses, providing them with a sounding board for their challenges and a platform to voice their needs.
This year, we were delighted to welcome Judith Helper, previously the volunteer chair for our Chino Valley Leadership Collaborative, as our new Director of Corporate Initiatives. Judith’s role is pivotal in fostering robust connections between corporate businesses and our local community. Her appointment underscores our commitment to facilitate local businesses’ growth through a support ecosystem that encourages them to engage actively and invest back in their community. Judith’s experience and dedication will play a significant role in our ongoing mission to build a vibrant, mutually supportive business environment in the Chino Valley.
We are incredibly proud of the growth and success of our members, as they are the heart of the Chamber. This year, we welcomed 99 new members, bringing our total to 478. Each member contributes unique strengths and perspectives that enrich our community and drive us towards our shared goals.
Two of our members, Providence St. Jude Heritage Medical Group and PRN Financial, shared their experiences which capture the essence of what our Chamber strives to provide:
Vance Chung from Providence St. Jude Heritage Medical Group commended the Chamber’s assistance in executing a successful ribbon cutting ceremony. He shared, “Providence St. Jude Heritage Medical Group is incredibly grateful for the support provided by the Chino Valley Chamber of Commerce in helping us run a successful ribbon cutting ceremony. Throughout the process, they guided us on the steps to run a successful event, helped promote our organization and ribbon cutting, and helped ensure a successful event on the day of. The staff was incredible to work with and provided wonderful support and expertise throughout. Our ribbon cutting was very well received with our staff and physicians incredibly impressed with the event. We hope to work with the Chamber again in the future.”
David McDonnell from PRN Financial expressed his gratitude for the sense of community and support provided by the Chamber, stating, “Since joining the Chino Valley Chamber of Commerce, I’ve been so impressed with the award-winning staff that’s always willing to help my small business grow through the tools already in place, as well as the network of members who have offered referrals, business advice, and encouragement. The Chamber has a great feeling of community that makes a small business like mine not feel like I’m out on an island trying to figure it all out on my own.”
These testimonials highlight the dedication of our Chamber in providing crucial support to our members, facilitating their growth, and fostering a strong sense of community. Our members’ successes and positive experiences fuel our mission and efforts, and we look forward to further expanding and enriching our Chamber community in the upcoming fiscal year.
Our Next Gen initiative, which includes mixers, CEO spotlights, and workshops, has engaged a younger audience and broadened our impact. Notably, our CEO workshops were recommended by educators from CVUSD and Chaffey College, leading to a strong participation from their students. These young individuals have found value in making connections, receiving mentorship, and developing their leadership skills through our programs.
To further amplify the voice of young professionals in our community and encourage their active involvement in both Next Gen and wider chamber initiatives, we established the Young Professionals Council. This council serves as a platform for driven and passionate young individuals to collaborate, ideate, and drive positive change.
The Young Professionals Council has quickly become a driving force within our organization. One of its exceptional members, James Olvera of Fusion Home Group, exemplified an unwavering commitment to fostering the growth and engagement of young professionals in our community. As a testament to their dedication and achievements, James was honored with the prestigious title of Young Professional of the Year.
The recognition came as a result of James’s tireless efforts in encouraging their peers to be actively involved in Next Gen and other chamber programs. They played a pivotal role in promoting the benefits of our CEO workshops, mixers, and spotlights among young professionals, ultimately leading to increased participation and impact. Through their leadership and passion, James has inspired many others to join our cause and contribute to building a stronger, more interconnected business community.
We are immensely proud of James’s accomplishments and the Young Professionals Council’s overall impact. Their success not only highlights the effectiveness of our Next Gen initiative but also reinforces the importance of empowering young individuals to shape the future of our business community. As we continue to support and nurture the talent of tomorrow, we are confident that our efforts will foster a thriving and innovative environment for years to come.
The Chino Valley Chamber of Commerce is known for organizing engaging events that bring together our vibrant community of businesses, fostering networking, learning, and celebration. This year, our events have reached new heights, and we’re excited to share our accomplishments with you.
Under the skilled leadership of our Director of Event Operations, Lupe Hurst, we are proud to report an impressive 87% retention rate among members, and an average satisfaction rating of 4.9 out of 5. Our events serve as a catalyst for community collaboration, fostering a strong sense of unity and cooperation among businesses, residents, and local organizations. One of our core objectives is to create an inclusive environment where everyone feels welcome and valued, regardless of their background or affiliations.
This year, we hosted 163 events with over 10,000 attendees, a testament to our active and engaged membership. Deputy City Manager Vivian Castro praised our efforts on the State of the City event, noting, “I just wanted to reach out to thank you for a great event last night. Your staff were very helpful and accommodating, and the guests really enjoyed the event. Please extend our thanks to your team.”
Our events encompassed various themes and objectives, including the Salute to Public Safety, Taste of the Chino Valley, State of the City for Chino, State of the City for Chino Hills, Business Awards & Recognition Dinner, Business Expo, Golf Tournament, and Holiday Luncheon.
As we look towards the future, we’re excited to announce our new additions to the event calendar: our Women’s Conference on August 10th, the Innovation Council Panel on August 23rd, and the Artificial Intelligence Summit on September 20th.
These events are invaluable platforms for connecting, learning, and celebrating our shared successes. We are deeply appreciative of your participation and contributions to these events and look forward to meeting and exceeding your expectations in the coming year.
Under the leadership of our Board Chair, Josh Sun, we held a highly productive board retreat at Infuzion Zone, where we strategize about supporting and growing the Chino Valley business community. To ensure the utmost transparency and accountability of our finances, particularly with the funds we received for our Upskill Chino Valley program, we hired an auditing firm and established a 501C3 Chino Valley Chamber Foundation.
Our programs have received widespread recognition and commendation across San Bernardino County, from the San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools, the Western Association of Chamber Executives (WACE), Chaffey College, and beyond. The Chino Valley Chamber was recognized at WACE for
- Outstanding Programming for Upskill Chino Valley
- Honorable Mention for Upskill Chino Valley Marketing
- Executive of the year: Zeb Welborn.
It is important to acknowledge that these achievements are not standalone victories but a testament to the collective resilience, tenacity, and spirit of our entire Chino Valley community. Thank you to everyone for contributing to another remarkable year.
Onward to an even brighter and more successful future!
Thanks for everything!
President & CEO, Chino Valley Chamber of Commerce