Primary Funding was proud to join the Carlsbad Chamber last month. If you would like to learn more about the Carlsbad Chamber then keep reading!
Hi Bret, thank you for taking the time to visit with us today! Just so our readers can get to know you better, can you please tell us a little about yourself and how you became CEO of the Carlsbad Chamber?
I first got involved in my local chamber when I was a residential realtor here in North County. I joined a committee, volunteered for different things, and was then invited to be on the Board of Directors. While I was serving as Chairman of the Board of that chamber, the current Executive decided to move back to the Midwest as a pre-retirement move. That was 2008. Real Estate wasn’t much fun back then with the deep recession going on and everything being a short sale and foreclosure. So, I thought it might be time to try something new. My first year I worked part time as a Business Development staff member while still working my real estate business. I was named CEO my second year and I stayed another 9 years at that chamber. I was hired as the Carlsbad Chamber CEO in January, 2019 after Ted Owen retired. Ted had held this role for 15 years. It has been a great opportunity for me.
What would you like our readers to know about the Carlsbad Chamber?
Most people think that chambers are just a place for happy hours and networking. The Carlsbad Chamber is much more than that. We serve as a hub in the community. We interact with the business community, local and regional government, public safety, the education community and our nonprofits. They all come together in and through us, and then we seek to make an impact on all them through what we do. The Carlsbad Chamber is about making Carlsbad a great place to live, locate a business, shop, dine, vacation and more.
We’ve heard great things about you and your entire staff at the Carlsbad Chamber. Can you please tell us a little about your team?
I have an awesome team. Kathleen McNary is the VP of Membership, she has been with us for over six years. Darryl Reitmeyer is our Advertising Specialist. He has also been with us for over six years. Kathy Steffen is our Director of Fun, and is very good at what she does! She has been with the Carlsbad Chamber for about 8 years over two different stints. Carolina Alban-Stoughton is our Director of Communications. Her gift is telling our members’ stories, which she does exceptional well across all modes of communication. Edgar Rodriguez is our Creative Director and has been here the longest – close to 10 years over two stints. He makes everything shine, literally! Janine Burke is our Office Manager. She has been here 2.5 years, and she takes good care of all things financial at the chamber for our members, Board and team. And Gabby Soberon is our Administrative Assistant who helps with everything from billing to social media posts for our members. She makes all our staff member lives easier.
Do you have to be a business located in Carlsbad in order to be a member?
No, your business can be based anywhere and be a member. About 30% of our members are outside of Carlsbad. We have some that are even from out-of-state.
What is the cost associated with becoming a member?
The cost varies depending on the level of benefits in which a company is interested. Kathleen has a very consultative approach as she learns about your business, what your interests are and how we can assist you with those goals. She can then recommend the best value for your size company with your interests.
What is the time commitment for a member?
Time commitment is totally up to the individual member. There is a ton of value members get who don’t have any time to participate in anything at all. And we love to share what those benefits are. But we obviously do have committees, boards, and networking opportunities for those who are interested. We have 10 active committees, which all meet on various mornings of the month. Our networking opportunities are robust with morning, noon and happy hour options. They are all well attended and fun.
If one of our readers would like to join the Carlsbad Chamber, what should they do?
They best thing to do is contact Kathleen McNary directly to schedule a 20- 30 minute exploratory meeting. And I am always open to meeting with existing and prospective members. I love having coffee with our members so I can get to know them better, see how I can better serve them personally, and how we, as an organization can assist them with their goals.
Any parting thoughts you’d like to share?
In my opinion, the Chamber of Commerce is the most equal opportunity organization out there. If someone has a dream and has the drive to set that dream in motion and they join our chamber, we are going to do everything in our power to help them achieve it. It does not matter what age, gender, ethnicity, color, shape, or size they are. We love entrepreneurs of all stripes. Come join our family and let’s see what we can do together!
For more information on the Carlsbad Chamber please visit: