SANTA BARBARA COUNTY, Calif. - Santa Barbara County’s South Coast Chambers are merging three of the area’s largest business organizations.
The merger aims to create a better business environment out of the current economy amid the COVID-19 pandemic by providing vital support and resources for South Coast businesses.
The Chamber of the Santa Barbara Region, the Goleta Chamber of Commerce and the Carpinteria Valley Chamber of Commerce will be become the Santa Barbara South Coast Chamber of Commerce – serving Goleta to Carpinteria.
The new organization will continue to advocate for responsible public policy, offer networking and community-building opportunities, provide access to business development resources, and supporting visitor services across the region.
The move was met with unanimous support of the business and civic leaders from all three boards of directors. Each community’s culture, events, and neighborhoods will be honored while a new focus on countywide and regional issues can be addressed.
“As our current business climate continues to evolve, we tried to forecast our members’ future needs and give Carpinteria a stronger voice in the South County. Being a native Carpinterian, I did not take this merger lightly, but I and my fellow board members believe this is our future,” said Curtis Lopez, Chairman of the Carpinteria Board of Directors.
Kristen Miller, who has served as President & CEO of the Goleta Chamber of Commerce for the last 18 years, will lead the organization as the Chief Executive Officer.
“Creating a unified voice for business on the South Coast is both the culmination of a long process and at the same time a natural next step in a rapidly changing world. Business and community, work-life balance, and sustainable workforce practices are all coming together and making us a more unified community. While some areas of our lives are becoming more isolated, we are coming together,” said Miller.
Joyce Donaldson, IOM, President & CEO of the Carpinteria Valley Chamber of Commerce will serve as the organization’s Chief Operating Officer - Carpinteria Liaison, overseeing operations and Carpinteria-centric initiatives.
“This is an exciting step to unify the voice of the entire business community in the South Coast Region, combining our robust resources and talent to create an even stronger environment in which businesses can flourish,” said Donaldson.
Stephanie Armstrong, Interim Executive Director of The Chamber of the Santa Barbara Region, will serve as the organization's Chief Marketing Officer, overseeing communications, marketing and public policy. Armstrong is 4th generation Santa Barbara, deeply attached to the community where she grew up. She has been with the Chamber for nine years.
"The current economic and cultural climate we find ourselves in calls for change, innovation, and unity," says Armstrong. "By joining forces we will be a stronger, more unified voice with the combined leadership from our three organizations in achieving our common goal to help our businesses and represent the unique qualities of our communities. We are excited for this next chapter."
The organization is working to create new ways to serve members during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The merger will be effective July 1, 2020.