Don Garling assumed the responsibility of Chairman of the Board effective January 1, 2017. The Journey of a Lifetime is truly a reflection of different chapters in Don’s lifetime. We printed an article with Book One, consisting of seven chapters. Now we are happy to print Book Two with seven chapters and has been a work in process this year, as Don experienced his Journey of a Lifetime. Many of you were part of writing the history, his legacy, and your interaction with our top leader. Chapter ONE – Chairman of the Board for the Corona Chamber. For the last five years, Don has positioned himself to take the helm as the top volunteer for the CORONA Chamber. His involvement on the Board of Directors, insights and involvement have been a tremendous asset for all of the business community. Don’s vision, input and knowledge has provided strength and wisdom for this membership driven organization nearing 1,000 businesses. Chapter TWO - Don’s focus during 2017 included communicating and nurturing businesses. His personal commitment to our team started with weekly “Walk-Abouts” with the Chairman and President. Though early in his Chairmanship, health issues prevented Don from continuing this weekly activity, many of the Board, Volunteers and Staff did similar activities which resulted in higher percentage of retention figures than budgeted. Including a successful Membership Drive that provided growth and opportunity for those businesses who joined our organization. Chapter THREE - During Don’s Journey, the Corona Chamber engaged and produced a new program of action, eliminated duplicated efforts or programs that were outdated. In June, the Corona Chamber hosted the Southern CA Economic Summit where speakers touched in multiple areas of growth, optimism and expansion. It was during this ½ day session where Ontario International Airport CEO Mark Thorpe shared their vision of expansion; Riverside County CEO George Johnson embraced the audience with facts and figures on growth down the I-15; Hospital CEO Mark Uffer shared passionately about Healthcare and what to look for; Norco College President Dr. Bryan Reece enthusiastically engaged the audience what to expect in the near future – specific to veteran assistance, growth and programming. Corona City Manager, Darrell Talbert provided a recap and quick education process on Economic Development 1.0 to 3.0. Part of the Economic Summit showcased our 2nd class of 40 Under 40, the Best and the Brightest in our region. Chapter FOUR – The Riverside County Women’s Leadership Conference was brought back to Corona. Redesigned and reformatted to a ½ day event, this conference hosted near 900 attendees, doubling last year’s event. Four dynamic speakers shared passionately with consistent messaging of UPLIFTing tips and stories. Chapter FIVE – Our Legislative / Advocacy Outreach hit high marks, with annual trips to Sacramento and Washington DC – these ‘Summits’ are organized by Chamber management and engages business leaders who volunteer their Time, Talent and Treasures – each investing to travel at their own expense while helping the Corona Chamber with our efforts in Sustaining a Strong Local Economy, Promoting Business Friendly Legislation and Fighting against job killer bills. Chapter SIX – Partnering in our community to help other non-profit organizations thrive and excel is another successful mark that occurred during Don’s term. The Corona Chamber hosts monthly meetings for all non-profits, as well has been an integral part in many local success stories and programming for these agencies. Chapter SEVEN – Introduction of CORONA 2020 – a comprehensive display of accountability and private / public partnership has been launched. Focused on three main areas – Employment | Health Care | Infrastructure; the Corona Chamber’s 2020 strategy will analyze opportunities for Corona to improve. Bring leaders together to share their expertise and Create measurable progress towards goals. With this being launched now, there is a separate article in this publication that goes into details. September 2017 saw a community come together. With a huge fire in our foothills, homes and lives were spared by the grace of God. What our Chamber witnessed was business after business outreaching to help; neighbors helping each other; and we are so proud of the city personnel. The professionalism of our Police and Fire, they did an outstanding job. There is another group of professionals that the Chamber recognizes as well – this comprises the dedicated city employees in all departments. Realizing the first responders were busy in firefighting or evacuations, all departments in the city worked together to prevent mass chaos within our city. All city services continued and many of them were worked on by members of different departments. We have a great city and an excellent team of employees. In early October, the Board of Directors chose to honor all employees with a luncheon at the City…a small way to show our appreciation for all they do. As Don begins to turn over the reins to John Weyhgandt at the Chamber’s Annual Installation and Awards Gala, there are still numerous programs that could be in future Chapters include: Active Duty Personnel, Veterans Outreach and Honoring Police & Fire. To summarize, our grateful love and respect to Don and Sally Garling for providing us their talent, time and treasures during this Journey of a Lifetime…
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